Focus Point - Clearing Up Fuzzy MathCommentary by Pete du Pont
April 28, 2000
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. A decade ago, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics backed something called "fuzzy math." Its purpose was for kids to understand what they were doing, rather than to get the right answer. Now, though, they've changed their mind: they're for accuracy. They've even recommended -- gasp -- memorizing math tables.
Now, for anybody of a certain age, knowing five times seven equaled 35 sort of went with the elementary ed territory. But we strayed from that, because educators lost sight of the fact that their job was to educate. With any luck, this decision could have national implications, and just in time too, because parents around the country have been in open revolt at a math ed system that was robbing their kids of skills they need to succeed. I say hooray. I'm just sorry there are ten years worth of kids who are going to spend their lives playing catch-up.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.