In this
Education Week article, we find out that the State Board of Education in Texas turned down the 3rd grade level of Everyday Mathematics. There's a good debate here. We all know how Texas and California book-buying decisions affect the rest of the country. The boards are making decisions educators may wonder about. And the consequences can be far-reaching.
Apparently the 3rd grade edition doesn't rely heavily enough on having kids memorize the multiplication tables through 12X12. From the article, "Board member Terri Leo said the book called for students to spend too much time 'inventing algorithms'--procedures or steps for solving problems--'instead of actually doing them.'" Also questioned is whether too much emphasis is placed on the use of calculators.
So, what do you think? Third-grade teachers (and fourth, and on--math teachers for all ages), what do you think about this? Is memorization of the multiplication tables so essential that a conceptually-oriented math program should be rejected "because students are not sufficiently grounded" in memorized multiplication?
This debate runs parallel to one going on at our school. We're looking over a whole lot of texts lately, thinking about what will best serve our student population.
Anyone use Everyday Mathematics?
Anyone have a text series they love?
Anyone wonder why a state board of education can influence math teaching across the country, based on something like this?
BTW, I'm a 4th/5th grade teacher, and I'll put out front my opinion: it's more important for students to understand the meaning and application of multiplication--the concept of it, the "education for understanding" (a Project Zero term) of it. When the kids are ready, they'll learn the multiplication tables fairly quickly, if the right scaffolding of concepts, metacognitive study skills, and developmental levels are right--and these vary, kid by kid. It's like the debate over long division. You can teach it for three years, trying to jam it into the kids' heads, or ten minutes if you get everything else right.
But go ahead and disagree with me; I'm curious to see what CR2.0 people have to say on the topic.