Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Truth about Fuzzy Math: A Failed Experiment

A new math fad has infiltrated our public and private education systems with a constructivist curriculum. It mostly targets students from grades 3 through 5 and in some cases it does not require individual text books. This new approach to teaching math is based on the notion that children understand and learn only those concepts that they "construct" or discover on their own. The teacher is discouraged from providing information or imparting knowledge, and is instead encouraged to act as a “facilitator” of learning.

It goes by many names and conventions:

  • Fuzzy Math
  • New-New Math
  • Whole Math
  • Social Math
  • Everyday Math
  • Reformed Math

Elementary students today are not expected to master basic math or know their multiplication tables. Instead of promoting individual problem-solving skills, fuzzy math claims to provide a "deep conceptual understanding" of math. However, it emphasizes "self-confidence" over proficiency and it fails to prepare students for college and higher education.

An example of Fuzzy Math would be if the group agrees that 2+2=5, then that's the right answer; in that case, 2+2 does not equal 4.

Other example “math” problems in a fifth-grade “Everyday Math” textbook:
A. If math were a color, it would be –, because –.
B. If it were a food, it would be –, because –.
C. If it were weather, it would be –, because –.

The Negative outcomes:

  • Inability to work alone
  • Lack of math fluency
  • Lack of basic math skills
  • Dependence on Calculators

The Mathematically Correct web site documents the history of today's "Math Wars".
NCTM Principles and Standards has become the "bible" for a progressive education theory known as "constructivism".

M.J. McDermott exposing the truth about "Fuzzy Math" video:

Fuzzy math: A nationwide epidemic - by Michelle Malkin

How Not to Teach Math (City Journal) - by Matthew Clavel (New York City teacher)

2+2=5: Fuzzy Math Invades Wisconsin Schools) - by Leah Vukmir

Parents concerned with latest math curriculum - by Laura Diamond (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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