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I stumbled across this video the other day, and I really want to get your feedback on it.

Everyday Math is the math curriculum that Denver Public Schools uses for the elementary grades.  It’s a “constructivist” curriculum, or (from what I can gather) a way for kids to arrive at an answer using their own mental constructs.  I know, I know, very psychobabble-y.

Diane Ravitch is pretty skeptical of this constructivist-only approach, saying, “Many districts that mandate constructivist programs realize that they must also teach basic mathematical computation.”  In fact, the Minneapolis legislature removed it from their curriculum, saying that kids needed basic computational skills, w hich constructivist programs don’t provide.

I’m starting to get some feedback on this, like:

A good math program needs balance and would involve a good teacher with a diverse tool box -that the teacher could pick and choose to meet her class needs. On top of mastery of quick facts, the kids need to understand the concepts and real-life application (story problems) not just rote memory.


The more I teach it, the more I hate it. The thing about it that gets me after this years class is the level of the reading involved. Its not written at the grade level its intended for. Try being a severly afflicted SPED kiddo or an ELL….no way this works for you. And nothing on CSAP correlates…

and, when I express that I think such a math method repels parent participation,

I believe in parent engagement and have spent quality time with parents presenting algorithms from Everyday Math with much success. EM is an excellent program that differentiates for all kinds of learners including our ELLs. Teaching parents how EM works should be our focus over defending our traditional algorithms which haven’t served many students mathematically. Partial quotients is a great example- I had great success with struggling ELLs and students with IEPs who had conceptual understanding of the division due to the use of partial quotients method.

and even

What I think this “scientist” is missing is that both EDM and Investigations are teaching number sense and how our students can be critical thinkers in Mathematics. I don’t believe this is an ELL issue at all, but more of an opportunity for us to include our parents in our instructional strategies.

as well as

AGGHH! Everyday Math (and Connected Math) is an abomination.  My fifth grader has a pretty good handle on algebra, and loves math, and her report card says she is at 12.9 grade level (12th grade, 9th month) in math. But she still lacks comfort with some basic computations and stuff like order of operations and dividing negative integers– Everyday Math at work.  I’m afraid that these issues will emerge in AP Calculus, etc.

When I asked a teacher about whether this program really does correlate with the CSAP, she said, “No, it is much more applied than that; take a look at the third grade math standards. It covers algebraic thinking and all the way over to Geometry along with computation.”

So now I’m starting to think that we’re doubly setting our kids up for mathematical failure.  Worse, again we’re in a situation that we’re firing teachers and closing schools based on test results that have no relationship with what’s actually being taught in our classrooms.  Am I wrong?

What do YOU think?