Category Archives: Mathematics

The Problem Isn’t Algebra

So the algebra wars are flaring again, thanks to the California chancellor of community colleges (boldface mine): Algebra is one of the biggest hurdles to getting a high school or college degree — particularly for students of color and first-generation … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics | 10 Comments

How Math Illiteracy Hurts Kids: The Colorado Referendum

At the risk of channeling my inner Dean Baker, I can’t help but think the belief that the failed Colorado referendum to increase taxes slightly to provide school funding to underfunded schools is due to numerical illiteracy. Consider this (boldface … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics, Taxes | 3 Comments

Somehow I Don’t Think This Was Banksy

Only in Boston, with all its colleges, would you see graffiti like this: (Observed on Louisberg Square, Beacon Hill, Boston)

Posted in Boston, Mathematics | 2 Comments

Instead of Racing to Tops or Not Leaving Children Behind, Why Don’t We Just Clone What Massachusetts Has Done?

The 2011 TIMMS international scholastic test results are out (I’ve written about TIMMS results before). I’ll have more to say about the results later–the Alabama–Massachusetts comparisons, my favorite*, are devastating. But, as a first pass, it’s worth noting that, once … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Massachusetts, Mathematics | 6 Comments

Solidarity and Teaching

No, this isn’t about unions (at least directly), but teachers supporting each other’s teaching. Carrie Leana describes the role of “social capital” plays in student outcomes, in particular third grade math* (boldface mine): So we asked the teachers whom they … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics, Unions | 4 Comments

Value-Added Testing and “Weapons of Math Destruction”

I’ve written about the technical problems with using value-added testing to assess teacher performance before. Note that technical is not a synonym for trivial–these problems are fundamental. The recently settled Chicago teachers strike has made this issue important once again. … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics, Statistics | 1 Comment

Curriculum and Pedagogy Matter and ‘Reformers’ Suck at Those Things: The Math Edition

When the latest ‘algebra-is-too-hard-so-let’s-dumb-it-down’ pustule broke, I argued that the problem isn’t learning algebra, it’s that the students in trouble usually haven’t learned basic arithmetic: …one thing I’ve noticed anecdotally is that when students say they have difficultly with algebra, … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Mathematics | 2 Comments