Ben Cunningham recently embedded a YouTube video on his blog by a Seattle Fox News 13 meteorologist and weather newscaster, M.J. McDermott.
(I have not mastered the magic of embedding yet so I have a link below to YouTube).
The video highlights the ridiculous techniques taught by two particular math textbooks that are in use today; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI.
As a student, I enjoyed math very much but I feel these procedures would have caused me great frustration in 5th grade. I showed the video to my daughter, a good English / history type student, and she said she would have been in tears…literally.
It is certainly NOT the optimal way to learn multiplication and division.
I checked the list of selected books for use in Tennessee classrooms; these two books are on the list.
The list is compiled by the State Textbook Commission according to T.C.A. 49-6-2201---2209 and 49-3-310.
I cannot tell you if YOUR child's school is using these books because the list contains an assortment of textbooks from which to choose. Each school district selects their choice of curriculum from the list established by the Commission. If you are concerned, call and ask your child’s school.
Work done by committee is never perfect, and the textbook business is a huge, high pressure, competitive industry containing some wild and often ridiculous ideas about learning.
This illustrates very well why parents need to be vigilant and involved in their child’s education. It goes without saying, but when your child is issued his or her textbooks – review them. If one just doesn’t make sense, bring it to the attention of your child’s teacher, the principal and the school board.
Better yet, get a group of concerned parents together and ask to review the choices before they are actually purchased.
If you live in a school district that is performing well the chances are they are not using these books – but it is your right as a parent and a taxpayer to ask.