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DRoarkNC
DRoarkNC asks:
Q:

Why has the way math is being taught in schools changed so much?

Until 7th grade, my daughter has always been successful in school. This year she brought home her first F in math, due in part, to not completing homework assignments. When I questioned her about it, she said that her homework assignments don't count if she gets a lot of questions wrong. I looked at the assignments and quite frankly, could not help her with them. WHY HAS MATH CHANGED SO MUCH? I was gifted and considered genius in math and I can't help my 7th grader, because the WAY you do the problems has changed. Her math teacher was teaching backwards division - which I later found out was made up by one of the math teachers in our schools. And when I asked why the parents were not informed about this new Backwards division and given instructions on how to do it - they suggested I send her to school early for tutoring! I was an educator before she was born and all I ever heard from teachers was PARENT INVOLVEMENT, but the truth is these new methods and teaching to the tests(let's just admit it exists) is shutting parents out of their children's education. My 7th grader is so frustrated with school and with me that I don't know what to do to help her!! Can somebody help me understand what was wrong with the math formulas we were taught in the '60's, '70's and '80's.
In Topics: Helping my child with math
> 60 days ago

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Redwood_City_Mom
Redwood_Cit... writes:
Wow! My kids are still in preschool and 1st grade. Luckily, I've got single digit addition and subtraction down (lol) but I'm terrified of what will happen when they get older. I've heard many horror stories like yours of parents being unable to help with math because it's done in such a different way than when we were students. (Is it true that there's no more "carry the 1"?!?!) I'm sorry I can offer a good answer but I totally feel your pain. I'm going to subscribe to this question so I can follow it. I'm hoping someone will send us a "magic wand" resource that will help all of us learn "the new math"!
> 60 days ago

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Gboromom
Gboromom writes:
most of the "new math" comes from a scientific model for teaching mathematics called Everyday Math. The link I've included offers general information and parent information sheets which should also be availible through your kid's school.
> 60 days ago

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52renn13
52renn13 writes:
Nothing is wrong with what we learned in the 60's, 70's and so on...
Things to do:
Go to the teacher & get sample worksheets for yourself & child to work on
Go to the tutoring center in the school find out how it is done
Visit the classroom and sit in a learn from that teacher
Teacher say the want you to visit but a few days of visiting can give you a clear understanding of teaching style & the pretending because your their visiting
Ask that teacher to explain her methods of teaching math that way
& take notes, this way you will know exactly what, how to perform & figure out the math. It can't hurt but you will learn something.
> 60 days ago

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tink
tink writes:
I can't tell you why it has changed so much. I ended up pulling my fifth grader out of public school this year and found a great program to teach her math. www.time4learning.com  It teaches step by step and you may want to take a few minutes to check it out. Also, I would make an appointment with the superintendant and inform them that you expect more information on your childs education or speak about it during the public comments of the board meeting. You are your childs voice, use it and show her you are on her side and care. GOOD LUCK
> 60 days ago

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dchrmng1
dchrmng1 writes:
I so much feel your pain. My daughter is to in 7th grade this year and has always been a straight A student. She is also getting an F. My daughter gets physically sick when she takes a math test and it has gotten so bad that we are at each other necks yelling all the time. I feel like a horrible parent, but I am not sure what to do. I have had the teacher try to explain what they are doing, but I have to say I must have a handicap because it is still greek to me. I am worried that she is going to hate Math forever and it is sad because that was my best and favorite subject.

My now 4th grade daughter loves math and thinks it is exciting, but I worry she will to hate it when she gets into 7th grade. They need to have classes for free to teach the parents these new concepts so they can help their children succeed. Sorry I know I am no help but I needed to vent.
> 60 days ago

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korngold
korngold writes:
Hi DRoarkNC,

I wish I had a solution for you; I can only provide solace in knowing that you are not alone.  The confusing part of "Everyday Math" is actually what is called "Chicago Math."  There is a link in another post above to the uchicago (hence the name "Chicago Math"--where it was developed).  

I just stumbled upon this wonderful link from a disgruntled parent of 3 very different students in a good school district (his words).  His letter clearly gives scenarios on how Chicago Math is failing his children.  The irony is that he has undergrad and advanced mathematics degrees, and runs a math website!  There are also links at the bottom of his letter to other math professionals who are disturbed with the trend of using Chicago Math.

My advice (which I am actually about to follow with my own child, providing I can find a "traditional" textbook): teach your kids traditional math "on the side."  If they have to endure Chicago Math in school, okay...BUT, they need to understand the concepts that they are "shortcutting" by using the Chicago Math algorithms and methodology.  I can't guarantee that teaching traditional math will aid your student, but if they are already failing, it can't make things much worse.

It seems like when I was a kid, the "traditional" method allows kids to understand, truly *understand*, what they are doing and why they are getting the end result.  Chicago Math focuses on the "algorithm" used to solve the equation; but, those algorithms are not something that can be realized in one's head.  In other words: without a pencil & paper (or a calculator) to do the complicated processes, kids that learn only this way rarely internalize the ability to do multiplication & division (concepts my student is studying now).  At least this is my perspective.  Check your local stores--kids that work there who learned "Chicago Math" can barely add change.

It's the equivalent to when the schools decided to shelve "phonics" as the proper way to learn to read & write.  I worked as a music teacher at the time they were making a shift to the "new" way to teach reading/writing in the 90's, and I could actually tell which students were the last groups to have phonics and which students had the "whole learning method," or whatever they called it.  Needless to say, I could tell the difference in the students because the kids who had phonics could actually read.
> 60 days ago

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Vietnamvet
Vietnamvet writes:
Because most of the teachers can not do the traditional math themselves.  We continue to pay more and more money to educators and their supervisors without expecting and demanding performance equal to the pay they are receiving.  When I say pay I include in that benefits.  Chicago Math or Everday Math as the new math is being tagged is dumbing down our kids to the point that the smart kids are to smart to be dumbed down that far and are failing.  Take your kids our of the government run school system and support private schools that will teach them what they need to know.  They private schools are expensive but so is that new vehicle you drive or boat or vacation you take.  Invest in your child.
> 60 days ago

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Marylcooper
Marylcooper writes:
As the generations change. People's values change. They really don't want your child to learn. They only want to teach your child just enough to pass. Many schools don't even have an open door policy. They saw you interfere with the child learning. So untrue. If anything it would make the child focus more.
> 60 days ago

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student0113
student0113 writes:
why have math change and school alot to me it has not change
> 60 days ago

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KathleenHaney
KathleenHaney writes:
I was trying to help my grandaughter who is in the fourth grade with her math today. She is a GT student and works hard to keep her grades up but when we were going through 3 digit multiplication and division she informed me that they aren't supposed to show their work and that their teacher counts off if they carry the one over on multiplication! They allow them to use calculators in the classroom for daily work but they can't use it for tests because the tests are multiple choice! How can they learn the concepts of mathmatics if they use calculators and the tests are multiple choice?  I don't understand how this could possible be considered educating our children.
> 60 days ago

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evaleigh
evaleigh writes:
It sounds like schools are teaching a lot of new materials which parents did not learn when they were at school. I agree with you that parents should be informed about additions. Schools talk about parental involvement, but they have not done a good job involving parents in a way that help parents learn how to best help their children. I do not agree, however, that going to school early for tutoring is a bad thing. Why feel bad about having children taking extra time to learn something that they do not know? Does it hurt their self-esteem? It shouldn't. It will only make children feel better about themselves when they master the concept. In fact, I think that there should be extra tutoring for parents as well. This way, parents model for the children what life-long learning means.
With regard to the backwards division, quiet frankly, it is a very basic concept in mathematics. It is not made up by a few teachers. It is a standard procedure which children should be able to master it. Anyone who has a good understanding of multiplication and division would know that backward division is just doing multiplication backwards - figuring how which prime numbers multiplying together would gives us the product. Knowing backward division helps a lot with doing factorization of polynomials, which then leads into solving equations with two unknowns. Content wise, I do not think that there is a problem with teaching it. It is not bad to teach children more complicated math than their parents learned - our children are supposed to be smarter than us, and it is a good thing.
> 60 days ago

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ebrownbrandon
ebrownbrandon writes:
I am not against learning new math concepts. I am against teaching concepts and not giving parents the benefit of doing more than "baby sitting". I have a 2nd grader and while he should be able to complete homework on his own, I should be able to follow along and understand what he is doing in case he stumbles on a given problem. The textbooks are not allowed to be removed from the class. I have attempted to purchase materials and its extremely costly and difficult. (They are using Go Math in his school). I have observed his teacher in the classroom setting and for that particular day these concepts were not being taught thoroughly in class. I noticed poor class management and over dependency on technology (that malfunctioned) resulting in extensive loss of instruction time. I do not understand what is wrong with learning the basics. Yes, teach them these concepts but also allow them to know simple math without the added steps. 19-4 shouldn't have to be a three step process. 19-4, subtract the ones column (step 1) bring down the 1 (step 2). Simple. Instead he has to break down 19 into "addends" 10 and 9 (step 1). Subtract the 4 from 10 to get 6 (step 2), add 9 to 6 to get 15 (step 3) and so 19-4 is 15. I would never think to use this method and I am sure there is a reason as to why it is made more complicated, likely to help with more advanced math in the future. Bottom line,  I am unable to reinforce the concepts because I do not know them and have not been provided any materials- not even links to websites, so I can do more than "check" his homework. I have just started re-teaching myself with these new concepts because my goal is to do my job as a parent. Teaching him they way I learned will not help him on his test when he is expected to show his work using these other methods. I want to be involved but I feel like "parent involvement" is diminished to bringing cupcakes and reading a few books.
> 60 days ago

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LaurenSuzzane
LaurenSuzzane writes:
It's called Common Core. I had my daughter’s principal search her teachers room for previous classwork and she found that her teacher was making up her own worksheets. If this was back in the 80's, I'd say "great, no problem", but because our children’s education has been hijacked by greedy school systems that want grant funding from the Gates Foundation/COPE and USDOE and are willing to sacrifice our children’s education on it to align our curriculum to Common Core, an untested, un measurable methodology, I say "Hell NO" to teachers getting away with failing our kids! You must not let them take your power. These are our children and they will not be dumbed down just so they can work for Bill Gates @Microsoft. http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/09/24/did-bill-gates-admit-the-real-purpose-of-common-core/

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flowerlady
flowerlady writes:
A lot of the "straying away from the basics" should be blamed on the heavy progressive influence of the NCTM. (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) They are the ones who came up with the original math standards and they HATE the word "memorize" in math. The NCTM is all for the abolishment of the division algorithm and many other traditional basic math components. The National Math Advisory Panel of 2008 was full of common sense logical recommendations for math education. I don't know why policy makers and curriculum creators didn't pay more attention to the National Advisory Panel's call for a balanced math program of traditional and reform methods. Most programs are tipped to the conceptual, inquiry-based, discover-for-yourself, let's dissect numbers approach which the NCTM supports. I don't know why the NCTM has so much power. The Common Core standards are based on many of the NCTM's standards, but a baby step has been made to incorporate more traditional math. There are actually specific standards that explicitly state that the basic math facts should be memorized by a definite point in time. Now that's progress! Don't blame the Common Core- blame the CORE of the Common Core--the NCTM.
> 60 days ago

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TeacherandParent
TeacherandP... writes:
It's a good question. But also I don't understand why homework has to be perfectly done - homework is for learning, it's for practice - if she can't make a mistake on her homework, where can she make a mistake? How is a 7th grader supposed to do the operations perfectly from the start? There has to be some learning time and that's what homework is.

The other change you point out is that schools no longer want parents to help with homework. They want parents to make sure the homework gets done but not to help with it. I don't agree with that but I know most schools feel that way. The new ways they're teaching math have been around for a while - they say they're always looking for a better way to teach it but I don' t know that they've found a better way.

And some of it has to do with the textbook companies - unless they write new textbooks, they won't have anything to sell. So every few years, they write a new math textbook and say 'it's greatly improved' because they want school districts to buy it.

If you go online you can sometimes find a website for the math textbook your daughter is using. If you punch it into google, you can sometimes even find a website that will have the answers to the problems or some youtubes that teach the concepts in the math book. Teachers and parents out there make youtubes for teaching the concepts and parents and students sometimes make websites with the answers for other parents and students to use.
> 60 days ago

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Narendri
Narendri writes:
It is just the education system which has changed adversely now a days, focusing more on the percentile and grades, rather than enhancing the child's knowledge and logical activities.
Though, whats best is to train, teach and motivate them at home and by their surroundings to follow and do the things, you think are best.
> 60 days ago

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ronanitam
ronanitam writes:
There was nothing wrong with the way were we taught math formulas in school.  

God's intention for parents is to be able to assist their children with their education in any sphere.  Book publishers distinguish themselves by coming up with "new" math.  One plus one equals two (1+1=2), always has and always will.  For districts to spend exorbitant amounts of money on their products, publishers must come up with new math angles.  There is no such thing as new math.  

 Math should have divergence in problem solving.  To tell kids they can only solve a problem one way does not stimulate critical thought or help  expand their thinking.  Please teach your child the way you were taught and the way that makes sense to him or her.  Once the math concepts are clear, they may want to explore other methods of solving equations;  they with do so with greater confidence.  On the high stakes, standardized tests, it only matters that the answers are correct.  In life, this is critical.

Parents need to complain to the school board.
> 60 days ago

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