Ken DeRosa links to a Baltimore Sun story on Maryland’s attempt to focus the math curriculum on a few key ideas each year, taught to mastery, rather than skimming through dozens of math standards every year.
John Haven, whose children attended Montgomery County public schools, believes far too much time in classrooms is spent on nonessential math work. He made an unscientific study of math teaching in Montgomery and concluded that, by his standards, 20 to 40 percent of what is taught is a waste of time. “It is a huge impact on math instruction. It is like having popcorn parties every Tuesday and Friday,” he said.
Some school districts supplement traditional math instruction with reform math. They’re buying two different sets of super-sized textbooks and telling teachers to mix and match. It’s hard to see how they’ll get to less-is-more math instruction that way.