not a fan of TERC math. I believe it’s
an insult to the intelligence of the average child. ’ll begin with an
outline of the problem, and then I’ll discuss solution strategies. There are many ideas to cover, so I’ll
reading from prepared notes to limit this to 15 minutes.
claims to offer a “standards-based” approach for elementary math
The standards referenced are those of the NCTM, the National Council of
Teachers of Mathematics. The term standards is a bit misleading, since
NCTM standards are primarily about the NCTM’s philosophy of math
Designers of good, content-based math programs understand the necessity of carefully sequencing material relative to the vertically-structured nature of the math knowledge domain. Coupled with strategies for remembering what’s already been learned (memorization and practice), students in such content-based programs learn more and more quickly, as they migrate up the math learning curve. Singapore Math is an excellent example. You can’t learn algebra if you haven’t first mastered standard arithmetic, and algebra is the gateway to higher math.
By standard arithmetic we mean the standard
adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing whole numbers, fractions,
decimals. Long division is the most difficult example. But there is not
instance where TERC recommends that students master a standard
computational method. TERC is openly
hostile to such methods. The
problem here goes far beyond the failure to prepare for algebra.
Math is the
first man-made knowledge domain where American children build a
knowledge base of domain-specific content, with each child gradually
understand hundreds of specific ideas that have been developed and
countless contributors over thousands of years. With teachers who know
sound methods of knowledge transmission, the child is led,
remember more and more math, continually moving deeper and deeper into
structured knowledge domain that comprises traditional K-12
first disciplined knowledge-building experience is a key enabler,
the memorizing and organizing skills of the mind, and thereby helping
prepare the individual to eventually build remembered knowledge bases
to other knowledge domains in the professions, business, or personal
:TERC claims that TERC students outperform
traditional elementary math programs.
But this is only possible if the tests are limited to the
content, or parents have supplemented by engaging tutors or teaching
children. You will be told that TERC
math is necessary to prepare students for the Connecticut Mastery Tests. This isn’t true. The most difficult
(released) 8th grade question for fractions, asks the student to
compute 1/4 + 3/8. Another question asks the student to
choose the number that's between 1/4 and 3/4. The candidates are
3/8, 5/8, 7/8, and 13/16. What's the correct answer?
They say 5/8. Guess they meant the largest right answer.
they done this? Standard-based math is
also about social goals.
The equity principle is the first principle in Principles and Standards
School mathematics, the latest version of the NCTM standards. The
principle is about equality of results, not equality of opportunity.
Lienwand, former lead math consultant for the State of Connecticut says
traditional math is only for the elite 20% of students. TERC’s
educators believe they are serving the needs of the other 80%. They’ve
content to what they think is needed for everyday life, not to prepare
The content found in Singapore math is also an excellent guide. Show them the kind of problems you want your children to solve. The California Framework and Singapore math are both good sources for examples. Also, see David Klein’s lists at http://www.csun.edu/~vcmth00m/5th.pdf You might construct sample tests. You want your children to be able to pass such a test by the end of the 5th grade. The major, summary learning expectation is mastery of the standard methods for the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division for whole numbers, decimals, and fractions
Point out that the content you consider essential
not covered, or covered in too shallow a fashion in TERC math. Point
you believe that TERC is very wrong in their open hostility to anything
standard. Non-standard methods have no
lasting value. The time spent is a
diversion from important learning objectives.
It’s a zero sum game.
According to the State of Connecticut, parents are
responsible for the education of their children. So
you and the greater community of Region 4 should decide what should
be taught. The teachers have been hired
because of supposed expertise in how to teach what the public
taught. If teachers are allowed to
decide what to teach, what prevents them from selecting material that
little effort on their part.
that TERC math puts the responsibility on students to teach themselves,
primarily on input from their peers, not teachers. There are many
Region 4 who know more math than the typical elementary math teacher in
Essex. Such people should have a role in
determining what should be taught. No, you don’t want rote memorization
standard procedures. You want your
children to master such procedures and learn how to correctly use them