But don't give up and don't give in. While New York City remains wedded to "Everyday Math" (which became the mandated standard in 2003), the state of Texas just voted before Thanksgiving to drop the University of Chicago textbooks for third-graders. School board members lambasted the math program for failing to prepare students for college. It's an important salvo in the math wars because Texas is one of the biggest markets for school textbooks. As Texas goes, so goes the nation.
Meanwhile, grass-roots groups such as Mathematically Correct (mathematicallycorrect.com) and Where's The Math? (wheresthemath.com) are alerting parents to how their children are being used as educational guinea pigs. And teachers and math professionals who haven't drunk the p.c. Kool-Aid are exposing the ruse. Nick Diaz, a Maryland educator, wrote a letter to his local paper:
"As a former math teacher in Frederick County Public Schools, I have a strong interest in the recent discussion of the problems with the math curriculum in our state and county. . . . The proponents of fuzzy math claim that the new approach provides a 'deep conceptual understanding.' Those words, however, hide the truth. Students today are not expected to master basic addition, subtraction and multiplication. These fundamental skills are necessary for a truly deep understanding of math, but fuzzy math advocates are masters at using vocabulary that sounds good to parents, but means something different to educators."
Members of the West Puget Sound Chapter of the Washington Society of Professional Engineers also stepped forward in their community:
"For 35 years, we have been subjected to a failed experiment, 'new math.' Mathematics depends on individual problem-solving ability to arrive at the correct answer. Math does not lend itself to 'fuzzy' answers. The solution is to recognize the failure of the Constructivist Curriculum as it relates to mathematics and science, eliminate it and return to the hard core basics using texts like the Singapore Math."
If Fuzzy Math were a color, it would be neon green like those Mr. Yuk labels warning children not to ingest poisonous substances. Do not swallow!