Schools' "New Math" = Trouble For City Kids
Let's See: 2,001-1,957 Is ...

The New York Post
April 17, 2001

By Carl Campanile

Front Page Headline: Big Fat Minus Parents and Teachers: 'New Math' Doing A Number On Our Kids"

Inside Headline: Schools' 'New Math' = Trouble For City Kids

April 17, 2001 -- The term "New Math" has been around for ages.

Educators first introduced what was called "the New Math" in 1957 after the Soviet Union launched the first satellite to orbit the globe. America was embarrassed, and launched a movement to bolster math.

"A lot of textbooks with more mathematic rigor were written. There was more logic, more abstractions and more proofs," said Richard Raim [Ralph Raimi], a math professor at the University of Rochester.

"But it was a disaster. Nobody understood it. Some of the commercial textbooks were inferior - and wrong."

[Raimi] said only elite students - the top 10 percent - benefited from the New Math while the rest of America's kids were numb with numbers.

The federal government stopped funding the New Math in 1972, after it was widely considered a flop. The backlash led to a "back to basics" movement, with math being taught the way it had been in the 1950s.The next clamor for reform hit in 1989, when the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics proposed "constructivism" - the "New Math" under debate today - as a creative way to engage students.

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