Show and Tell for Parents
Search Site: 
Parents Teachers
By Susan Darst Williams
Parental Involvement
Ages & Stages
Coaching Your Child
Discipline & Safety
Health, Nutrition & Fitness
Homework Helpers
Curriculum & Instruction
Teachers & Teaching
Other School Staff
Special Learners
School Management
Finance & Taxation
Government & Politics
Private Schools
Choice & Charters
Learning on the Go
Community Involvement
Education Heroes
Bright Ideas for Change
Site Map

Parental Involvement Lite

Parents, Kids & Books

Great Books for Kids

Character Education

Writing Tips


Wacky Protests

School Humor
Home | Purpose | Ask A Question | Subscribe | Forward | Bio | Contact | Print

Math        < Previous        Next >


How Parents Are Fighting 'Fuzzy Math'


Q. What's an example of a "fuzzy math" curriculum and how are parents who oppose it conducting their battle with the local school boards to change back to traditional programs?


The Washington Post ran a story a few years ago about a dad, Greg Barlow, an Air Force officer, helping his 8-year-old son, Christian, with what should have been a straightforward homework math problem: What is 674 plus 249?


The third-grader did not stack the numbers and carry digits from one column to the next, the way his father and past generations were taught. Instead, following instructions from his school's new math textbook, "Investigations in Number, Data, and Space" (Pearson School series), he tried breaking the problem into easier-to-digest numbers.


But after several seconds, he got stumped. He drew lines connecting digits, and his computation amounted to an upside-down pyramid with numbers at the bottom. They call it a "math mountain." His father nudged him toward the old-fashioned method . . . and resolved to find out why the tried-and-true math methods weren't being taught in schools any more.


He found out that educators claim that inventions like the "math mountain" help children grasp place value and what the numbers really mean. The program used in his son's class de-emphasizes memorization and drills, and pushes students to use more creative ways to find answers, such as drawing pictures, playing games and using objects.


That did not set right with this Air Force officer.


The next thing you know, Barlow was helping put together a grassroots organization to stop "fuzzy math" curriculum in his home county, Prince William County, Va., and running a petition drive to that effect:


Be sure to read the page, "What's a Parent to Do?" on that website for good suggestions of parental involvement in helping shape quality math instruction.



Homework: See advice for understanding what is wrong with your district's math curriculum, and what to do about it, on and check out this impressive listing from NYC HOLD (Honest Open Logical Decisions on Mathematics Education Reform, of local grassroots organizations fighting fuzzy math:


Illinois Loop # Teach Math Right - Stop "Investigating" in Prince William County Schools (MD) # Parents for Evidence Based Education (IA) # Teach Us Math, Parents Concerned With Penfield (NY)'s Math Programs # Where's the Math (WA) # The MathUnderGround (WA) # Math Matters (WA) # Olympia Parent Advocates for Real Math (WA) # Yes2Math, Kitsap Cty (WA) # OPTIMA, Oregon Parents for Thorough Instruction in Mathematics # Georgia Parents for Math #, Plainview - Old Bethpage (NY) # Petition for the removal of TERC Investigations curriculum from math instruction (NY) # Cecil County (MD) Public School Math # Frederick (MD) Education Reform # Bridgewater-Raritan (NJ) Parents Math Forum # Mathematics - Village of Ridgewood (NJ) # Mindless Math Mutterings (CT) # Dublin (OH) Math Matters # Columbia (MO) Parents for Real Math # Clayton (MO) Math Matters # Plymouth-Canton (MI) Teach Our Kids # Connected Math Disconnected Parents (TX) # Andover (MA) Math Suggestion Box # Newton (MA) Parents for Education # Save Our Children from Mediocre Math (Conejo Valley, CA) # Teach Utah Kids # Norton News Investigations Math Summary (UT) # Kids Do Count (UT) # SAU 16 Info, Exeter (NH) # Informed Residents of Reading (MA) # EdDataFromInnes (KA) # P.A.C.E. (Chippewa Valley, MI) # Broward County (FL) Gifted Advisory Committee # Palo Alto HOLD # Mountain View (CA) Achievement # Plano (TX) Parental Rights Council



By Susan Darst Williams Math 15 2008


Math        < Previous        Next >
^ return to top ^
Individuals: read and share these features freely!

Publications: please contact to arrange for reprint rights to these copyrighted news stories and features.


 Links to Learn More 

 Enrichment Ideas 

 Nebraska Schooling 
 Humor Blog 
 Glimpses of God 
Copyright © 2022
Website created by Web Solutions Omaha