Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 11, 2006

Back to basics

Filed under: State-wide,Student Performance — Editor @ 8:38 pm

Two ProJo articles about math and science caught my attention.

The first, originally run in the NY Times, identified the “mile wide and inch deep” teaching model used for math as at fault for our lagging performance.  This model teaches a variety of ways to multiply and divide (supposedly nurturing creativity) rather than putting the focus on memorizing the multiplication table and using this quick recall skill in long division.  Apparently, schools are opting to revert back to the “old-school” model.

The second article describes an effort at URI to increase hands-on science instruction. 

A quote in the second article illustrates the problem shared in both math and science curricula – “Elementary teachers are not, and cannot be, expert in all the areas that are covered in the elementary science curriculum, because the content area is too broad.”

It only makes sense to focus on the basics.  Only after they are mastered should we move on to other areas.



  1. When did high school curriculae begin to mirror college? I am amazed by the amount of different programs offered to high school students. It seems to me that when students are offered guitar lessons 101 and assorted other classes, we are assuming that they have mastered the basic education skills and our ready to move onto more specialized learning. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing…I don’t know if they are ready, but it used to be that college and post-secondary techical schools were the time for specialized learning. Are we doing our children a favor by offering so many courses during their high school years?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 20, 2006 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

  2. Good question. Look at this article discussing “new math.”

    It makes an important statement that perhaps new math and the classes you mentioned are more about making teaching easier rather than learning easier. It used to be that math teachers were math majors, english teachers were english majors. But it is not that way anymore.

    As for the teaching profession, here is a clue –

    PS> Thanks for the comments. I hope more and more parents find this site and get involved. Change will only come when parents get involved.

    Comment by cspf — December 20, 2006 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

  3. Your website is very well constructed and probably a better forum for Chariho issues, but I’m afraid that too many competing websites waters down the effect. I wish there were a way of incorporating this site with the other site?

    I have family in education and I am all too aware of the current teaching programs that churn out political activists rather than well trained teachers. One national teacher’s union recently held their convention in Florida. The number one agenda item was advocating for gay marriage in schools. This shows me where the priorities lie for leadership…it disgusts me!

    I would expand your aspirations and encourage all citizens to get involved…with or without children. The nonsense that is going on in our school systems impact every one of us…and I don’t think it is for the positive.

    Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 20, 2006 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

  4. […] As discussed before, the “New Math” or “Investigations” math has not been a huge success.  Students and parents alike find it difficult.  The only ones who seem to like it are those who continually tweak curriculum.  Perhaps if we focused on the basics, we wouldn’t need to supplement this teaching model with afterschool programs. […]

    Pingback by Narragansett finds “New Math” in need of additional support « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — December 21, 2006 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

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