Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is Long Division Gone?

Parents are coming to me from different middle schools in Plano to tell me that their children have not been taught long division in elementary school. Their children cannot do long division and the middle schools will not teach it because it is an elementary school skill. Parents now must teach their children long division or hire tutors to teach their children.

If you are not sure what long division is, here is a link that shows the algorithm for long division. If you find it hard to believe that any school system would skip teaching long division, then you should watch this video. Here, M. J. McDermott shows what some school text books teach in place of the standard algorithms for long multiplication and long division.

Does it sound crazy that Plano ISD does not teach long division? Well, yes and no. John Dewey in his book, "How We Think," disparaged the teaching of skills and facts. When I read Dewey's book I thought that John Dewey hated the education he received as a child and wanted to overthrow the education establishment. John Dewey has followers in the education establishment today and they are busy destroying the academic skills of our children.

So it is understandable that some administrators or teachers in Plano ISD have abandoned teaching long division, but it is wrong, it is a mistake.

It is time for us to take back our schools and fix our children's education the right way: by fixing the curriculum instead of by hiring tutors. The PISD election is coming. Tell the candidates you want long division back in the classrooms. Tell the candidates you want all the children to have a good education, not just the ones with tutors. Then go vote and make sure your friends vote as well.

Robert Canright

PS: I have been hearing from parents. I am hearing parents affirm that some kids are not being taught long division, but some kids are being taught. It seems to vary among the elementary schools. It sounds like PISD has a quality control problem.