How to End the Math and Reading Wars

Letter to the Editor, The Christian Science Monitor
By Jonathan Goodman
February 10, 2003

To the Editor,

Jonathan Zimmerman (One way to end the math and reading wars, Op, Ed, Sept 10) says we should just hire good teachers, like in the good old days, let them invent their own curricula, and our kids will be well taught.

Forget about standards and accountability, the master teachers of tomorrow won't need that. In the mean time, today's New York City Department of Education is imposing a uniform math curriculum on everyone. The K-5 component, Everyday Mathematics, teaches ten convoluted ways to subtract numbers but not the simple "standard" way. It is remarkable that the authors of these fuzzy curricula feel qualified to reinvent mathematics without consulting actual mathematicians to find out what math is. The way to end the math and reading wars it to rely on experts and data in choosing curricula, not the pipe dreams of bureaucrats and Ed School fanatics.

Jonathan Goodman
Professor of Mathematics
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
New York University

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