One thing that is for sure in the area of Missouri I live in. Kids are heading off to college on a scholarship named A+ program. They are entering college and taking remedial courses. Now I went to college in 2010 and so I was way out of touch with quadratic formulas and had to take 1 remedial algebra course for no credit. I didn’t understand how so many kids had these A+ scholarships and were in this class with me. I didn’t know what A+ was. Sounds like a smart kid’s scholarship right? Well as it turns out your final high school GPA and grades have little to do getting these scholarships. It is more focused on citizenship it appears then whether or not you have at least a 2.75 GPA.
Now I have seen some of the math they propose teaching our children. Our school is to begin next year. Being a Psych major has helped me understand a little better what is actually going on when kids are learning math. The truth is they are not learning anything. They think that everything has to be memorized and all you need to know is the answer. (This of course is not meant to be blanket statement) Well they give homework that looks identical to the one they just did and the test themselves are identical in form to the home work. Now this does for some I imagine reduce test anxiety but it does not allow them to build their own ways to get things done.
My son is in 7th grade now. I also have 2 daughters, one in 1st the other in 4th. My son is beginning algebra now and I have been working with all of my kids for a long time in solving problems. My first grader can do some multiplication and my son is probably a year and half ahead of his class in math abilities. I give credit to making sure they know how to solve the problems not just remembering the answers. This becomes more evident of the problem in my 4th grader who can memorize like crazy but if I give her something out of order I might as well have given her a Chinese manual to start with. Once the battle is over and I have showed her she already knows the answers she gets all excited and runs right through them.
Now there is not much of a “process” involved in basic arithmetic. When you get into linear equations and have to use quadratic formulas and factoring to solve for x on the other hand, the “process” is far more important than the actual answer itself. The curriculum for at minimum high scholars should be put together by college teachers. Now you would think this is already the case but it turns out that college professors say the majority of kids coming out of high school are not prepared for college level courses. Well what does that mean, not prepared? They cannot formulate how to solve for 3x squared +2x = 1. They cannot put together that math now has a component to it that requires a person to have critical thinking skills and memorization alone will no longer suffice.
So is it crap or good? Unfortunately the jury is out on this matter because it has not been in effect long enough to determine if it will work or not. In my opinion there will probably be a better system of teaching in few more years and then a better one after that. With math I have found that if you can build on what they already know in math (like 10 times a number is that number with a zero added to it) I would bet you would find vast improvements in our nations mathematical abilities
Each state has its own rules and regulations concerning government and education. The truth is Americans are not getting the required normal exposure we once did and this is leading to inevitable despair and callousness as we allow our children to be wholly raised by those that think they know best and parents DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING when it comes to teaching kids. The solution is right in front us. You are going to be the most influential person our children ever meet. How do wish your influence to be received?