PA Coalition for World Class Math

                               Everyday Math under fire in Berkeley, WV (2/18/2012)

‘Everyday Mathematics’ worries students’ parents

February 18, 2012
By Vanessa Stone, Falling Waters ,

As a mother of four with two students enrolled in the Berkeley County school system, I have a vested interest in Berkeley County's educational system. I attended the Everyday Mathematics event hosted by Potomack Elementary on Jan. 24, 2012. While I commend the Potomack teachers and administration for giving a great presentation and helping to bridge the disconnect that the parents have with the math materials, I am not ready to drink the Kool Aid.

The fact remains that the county has introduced a highly controversial math curriculum with vital flaws in its methodology. Parents, mathematicians, and scientists all over the country have been calling this program "weak" for over a decade. Leading mathematicians and scientists call this program "fuzzy" and "contructivist" math.

Mathematicians, like David Klein, a professor at California State University, have written various papers on the flaws of Everyday Math and its failures to teach children standard algorithms. In fact some of the so-called "algorithms" in the Everyday Math series fail to be true algorithms as they can only be applied in some situations. My husband and I have been wary of this program from its introduction in the 2010-2011 school year. The school system has reassured us that this is a "proven" method.

Fact: This method has never been proven. The use of the word "proven" is grossly misleading. There is only one legitimate study, which still has serious research flaws that shows that this program may be effective - I emphasis "may." There is no independent research suggesting that this program works.

Fact: Berkeley County schools fall behind the rest of the state on the WEST Test across all grades and subjects. Potomack Elementary had the worst test scores in the county. Parents and educators should be very concerned about the fact the Berkeley County School Board is lauding this method as proven when there is no evidence of its effectiveness. When questioned about their decision or the "fuzzy" math or the fact that the parents don't understand the overcomplicated "algorithms" they repeatedly say that it is "proven."

The lattice method of multiplication featured in the article in this newspaper on January 25, 2012 is scorned by mathematicians. Traditional methods work best and are necessary for more advanced math applications. Our elementary school students are suffering a grand experiment and will not be prepared for long division, which this program does not teach, upon entering middle school.

Unlike the Berkeley County School Board, I do not expect you to take my word for it, please google the efficacy of Everyday Mathematics .... I do not know how the Berkelely County schools decided that this method would be beneficial to our students, but in one afternoon of searching online I found a wealth of information. Someone failed to do his homework and now our children are going to pay the price.