Saturday, December 21, 2013

Favorite comment of '13, continued: momof4

on More educational malpractice: the sad legacy of Everyday Math


momof4 said...

I was in a local bakery when the power went out and, even with a calculator, none of the four counter employees (20s-30s)could calculate sales tax. They clearly had no conceptual understanding whatsoever. It took me 10 minutes to show them how to total purchases and multiply the total by 1.06 to get the amount due. They had no idea how to set up and enter data or that 6% could be represented as .06. Their reaction? "Wow, you must be a math teacher!" (no, just someone who learned 6th-grade arithmetic)So much for "higher order skills" and "critical thinking"; a large, repeated dose of "drill and kill" would have been useful for them. Yes, the district uses Everyday Math.

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They also had no number sense. I stayed a bit to help them with other customers, and they made repeated data-entry mistakes, then failed to realize the resulting number could not possibly be correct; complicated stuff like the (supposed) amount due was double or triple what it should have been, because they had entered a decimal point wrong. $10 purchase with 6% sales tax adding up to $16. Beyond pathetic. I'm temped to take that anecdote, and a few others, to the School Board meeting. ...

I am a regular customer and the staff has always seemed to be of normal IQ and are always very pleasant and helpful. However, if kids learn that they will be passed along regardless of what they learn, many (if not most), won't put in too much effort. As a summer hire, I worked a cash register in the 60s and had to do all the calculations by hand. Mistakes meant my pay was docked. None of the people working retail in my childhood small town had more than a HS education and probably some of the older generation had less. The were all, however, literate and numerate. I never saw situations like the one I described and I never saw signs like Happy Holiday's", "Celebrate and Festive With Us" and "Sign-up Now For Classes" (at a local CC, no less). Maybe kids aren't putting in much effort at school, but schools aren't demanding much and aren't requiring mastery before advancement. Also, their curriculum and instructional methods are weak or seriously flawed.

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