NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Back To Math Basics In California

December 4, 1997

In December 1997, California's Board of Education adopted standards that require students to know their "times tables" and mathematical formulas. This is good news to parents and educators who have been opposing "fuzzy math" -- which values the learning process over right answers.

  • The standards would require a third-grader to know the multiplication tables for the numbers one through 10.
  • Fifth-graders are expected to do problems involving decimals and negative numbers.
  • California's actions signal a shift back to basic math skills and away from teaching methods that rely on role-playing, essays and group work.

Education specialists say California's actions will have a major impact on schools throughout the country, since that state buys 7 percent of all textbooks -- and publishers often prepare all the nation's texts to accommodate California's standards.

Source: Editorial, "Math Standards That Add Up," Investor's Business Daily, December 4, 1997.


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