Math Wars: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

Math Wars: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

Math Wars: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

Math Wars: A Guide for Parents and Teachers


"This book is written for parents and other interested parties so that they can understand the great debate taking place in many states in this country about how to teach basic math. The debate centers on the standards written by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), which call for a radically different approach to mathematics education. Because the issues are so heated between the NCTM-oriented curricula and traditional curricula (the curricula that NCTM-oriented replaced), the term "Math Wars" was coined to describe them." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Important issues are up for debate every day. If a reporter stopped you on the street and asked, what is the most important issue facing the United States today, what would you say? If you are a parent, you have many concerns for your children. You are worried about their safety, no doubt. Do you also worry about their education? Most parents do.

It is certainly true that among the important issues facing citizens of the United States is education. How best to educate our children seems to be up for continual debate. How much money should we spend on education? How are our children doing compared to those in the rest of the world? What is important to us? What do we want college graduates to know? Are enough of our citizens getting graduate degrees? Do we have enough scientists and are they smart enough? The issues and concerns go on and on.

Within all these concerns about education lie the concerns about mathematics education. When K-12 schools are asked to name their number one concern, they commonly name mathematics education. The United States continues to be very poor performing in worldwide competitions in K-12 students' mathematics test scores. Many K-12 students do not understand mathematics and do not like mathematics. Most students (and many adults) view mathematicians, and even students who are good in mathematics, as probably smart, but socially inept. Being good in mathematics is not something many students strive to be.

The solutions offered by mathematics education researchers are themselves up for debate. Are our students becoming too calculator . . .

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