With some exceptions, elementary education programs spend too little time on elementary math topics, the report concluded. Teacher candidates don’t really understand why arithmetic and multiplication work.
In addition, ed schools take candidates with very weak reading, writing and math skills.
“Almost anyone can get in. Compared to the admissions standards found in other countries, American education schools set exceedingly low expectations for the mathematics knowledge that aspiring teachers must demonstrate,” said the report.
State certification tests typically produce an average score: A prospective teacher who flunks math but does well in other areas can earn a passing score.
Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ stated, â€œAs a nation, our dislike and discomfort with math is so endemic that we do not even find it troubling when elementary teachers admit to their own weaknesses in basic mathematics. Not only are our education schools not tackling these weaknesses, they accommodate them with low expectations and insufficient content.
I’ve met many elementary teachers who say quite cheerfully that they don’t like math. They believe that a second-grade teacher who knows second-grade math can teach the subject well enough. A few elementary schools hire math-science specialists to avoid this.