Gary Rubinstein, teacher of mathematics at Stuyvesant High School, author and blogger, reviews Eureka Math in this post and finds it wanting. He points out that Eureka Math is the program that is considered most closely aligned to the Common Core math standards.

Rubinstein picked several examples of math problems from the Eureka curriculum and found them poorly written or wrong.

Eureka Math will soon be the national curriculum or very close to being one. This is an important post. If you are a math novice, you may find it hard to follow. If you are a math teacher, please speak up and say what you think.

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Not surprised. At best, these could merely be differences of opinion but it does signal the biggest problem with standardized testing as a measure for all things. There is no single best way to teach any concept to ALL people.

This fits with the Gatesian model. Gates wants there to be some foolproof way to teach. Or at least a few limited options. Remember the MET study years ago? Remember how long it took the Gates Foundation to come to any findings? I think they were disappointed to find that good teaching comes in many different approaches instead of a single flawless way.

Tim is obviously the teacher’s pet since he is allowed to get away with not using parentheses around a negative number raised to an even power. Now, some may not like that, but hey life isn’t always fair and if Tim is nice to the teacher, he deserves some special treatment in return now and then.

But Arnie, on the other hand, is being treated exactly the way he deserves after all he has put students and teachers through with RTTT, tests and everything else. No special favors with regard to parentheses for Arnie.

I’m not sure about Josie. If it was a first time paren offense, I’d say cut him/her some slack.

But most definitely don’t cut Arnie any slack!

The curricula is so bad…

How bad is it?

That one would think it was slapped together by a bunch of college interns with little expertise in the area, and never proof read.

Good critique. The negative numbers and parentheses is a glaring error. Especially since it has to do with the fundamental concept of order of operations. And even worse, most calculators handle this expression correctly: -5^2, and if Eureka isn’t, that is a confusing inconsistency.

The other points are valid as well.

Proofs require a high degree of abstract thinking. That really does not start till late middle school at best. We should be laying the ground work for logic and proofs at an early age but concrete terms. Starting off a lesson with a proof of Pythagorean would work for some, but not most. I always like the proof of irrationality of sqrt(2) better when age appropriate as it doesn’t require spatial thinking and focuses on logic. Plus it is more like the proofs some will see in college.

I tried one summer experimenting on my own kids by Peano’s axioms and building a system. We also demonstrated paradox, infinity, zero – kids really love those concepts. Sure, not core curriculum topics, but fun stuff to keep kids interested. In a middle school class, once they firmly grasped fractions, we discussed divide by zero. I was amazed how many perked up and more so by how many caught on to the idea of limits at a young age. That was fun. But that would not be allowed today.

I particularly like Eureka’s proof of irrationality (inconsistent use of parens)

Thanks for the chuckle! Famous mathematicians seem to meet tragic ends. Maybe it all started with square root of 2. Or maybe they were pushed over the edge by their students constantly saying “are we going to do anything FUN, today?”.

What amazes me about irrationality of Eureka Math is that Eureka curriculum designer believes Pythagorean theory, Proof demonstration, and algebras jargons are developmentally appropriate to the First graders. Wrong. That is NOT even appropriate to Asian students at all. They can’t master these stuff without spending enough time to get familiar with numbers and geometry at least for 6 years at elementary school. I didn’t encounter these jargons until the 8th or 9th grade back in my home country. Speaking of lunacy and recklessness. I’m pretty sure math educators in Asian countries will scoff at Eureka experiment.

In my math pursuits, my favorite and finest professor was a very outgoing gentleman from China. He would lament the weakness of students around the world lacking a foundation in proofs and logic, and he was right. So he would spend hours with a dedicated group of us, me the old guy and some impressive twenty-somethings, in a hot, stuffy room with chalkboards and furniture from the 1920’s (money never seems to make it to the university classroom). He would not leave until every one of us understood the assigned proofs. We had all nationalities in that room which made it kinda cool. I think it is a human thing. Younger students need the foundations of proofs and logic, but not the abstraction until developmentally ready.

Only to be inflicted on the vast majority of teaching staff, students, parents, and their associated communities.

But when it comes to the rheephormsters and their own “most precious assets” [Michelle Rhee]…

This blog, 5-23-2014, “Common Core for Commoners, Not My School!—

[entire posting start]

This is an unintentionally hilarious story about Common Core in Tennessee. Dr. Candace McQueen has been dean of Lipscomb College’s school of education and also the state’s’s chief cheerleader for Common Core. However, she was named headmistress of private Lipscomb Academy, and guess what? She will not have the school adopt the Common Core! Go figure.

[entire posting end]

But surely, surely, surely, this couldn’t be what the CCSS is all about? C’mon, high standards and critical thinking and 21st century cage busting achievement and the like?

Uh, no, as Audrey Amrein-Beardsley puts it—measure-and-punish.

From the blog of the redoubtable Dr. Mercedes Schneider. She cites an unimpeachable witness to the true “content” of the CCSS, Dr. Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, a charter member of the self-styled “education reform” establishment:

[start]

In truth, the idea that the Common Core might be a “game-changer” has little to do with the Common Core standards themselves, and everything to do with stuff attached to them, especially the adoption of common tests that make it possible to readily compare schools, programs, districts, and states (of course, the announcement that one state after another is opting out of the two testing consortia is hollowing out this promise).

But the Common Core will only make a dramatic difference if those test results are used to evaluate schools or hire, pay, or fire teachers; or if the effort serves to alter teacher preparation, revamp instructional materials, or compel teachers to change what students read and do. And, of course, advocates have made clear that this is exactly what they have in mind. When they refer to the “Common Core,” they don’t just mean the words on paper–what they really have in mind is this whole complex of changes.

[end]

Link: https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/the-american-enterprise-institute-common-core-and-good-cop/

Read the two postings in conjunction. Then ponder how, despite their firm and narrowly defined actions, the rheephormsters will perform superhuman acts of flexibility (rhetorically speaking) taking at any given moment whatever public position best advances their Marxist agenda:

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

Today, tomorrow, forever, clinging to their Groucho.

Because when it comes to $tudent $ucce$$, it makes perfect ₵ent¢.

😎

Over the last two years, we reviewed K-5 math materials and Eureka didn’t even make our math department’s cut for a presentation, let alone a pilot. I am hoping we are not the exception and that the further you get from NYS the less the Miami 2017 (aka EngageNY) materials are adopted.

Same with my district. Consensus was that the material is not ready. they went with two other programs with lots of supplementation from other sources.

Yes, we’ll just slip in a proof of the Pythagorean theory, or law of sines or cosines, hidden in problems 1 thru 10, and students will go home, ask their parent or sibling, and work on it all night until they come up with the proof. I’m sure that happens about as often as a comet.

In the past I served on textbook adoption committees, something that may no longer be necessary. I was always astounded when a cursory reading of a chapter, or a set of ‘historical facts’, or a series of questions left me with a…head smacking exclamation. I always wondered why publishers hired a few names to appear on the book but hired writers without a background in the content area to write the book. Nothing has changed, but now the stakes are too high. Makes me think that school districts could save a ton of money, grief, aggravation, and time “unscrambling confusion” if they hired a bunch of teachers to publish an open-source book. That would also help those temp teachers who may be too busy writing chants and college plans for 6 year-olds, actually teach the content without error. What a novel idea and solution. H/B

Open set of standards too, as MathVale has suggested.

Imagine a set of standards that all the teachers and other educators could suggest changes for. It would very quickly surpass anything that can be produced by a small committee and critically, could be adapted and updated for individual use.

In the internet age, it’s actually crazy that the standard is written on stone tablets and locked away in some vault somewhere only available to a few self-selected Oracles with chisels for modification.

Folks like David Coleman and Bill gates are using the internet like they would use a flat bed truck — simply for moving their stone tablets around.

It’s all about control.

Yes, wiki standards, even.

What I’d like to see is, if we must approach this as a nation, a “one page” high level standard for a subject, say mathematics, written at the Federal Level. One page (or some limit similar). This forces focus on strategy and is self disciplining, avoiding too much detail. Pass that down to the state and they add more detail, but limited on scope also. Pass down to district, school, department, teacher, student. Each level contributes. All students get basically an IEP. Revisions may iterate up and down one or two levels, but rarely is it necessary to make massive changes. Changes are made where they belong – closest to the student, not in a far off conference room in D.C. All of this is described by a well defined meta standard for the process and revisions. We easily have the technology to support this. It becomes an open, collaborative, living system creating a baseline which educators can build upon and innovate.

Contrast with Common Core. A rigid, closed set of standards written by appointed experts with little input from stakeholders and implementers. There is no meta standard I am aware of that is a standard for the standard, how it is to evolve, and what happens if it proves deficient. Common Core perpetuates the worst approach to organization and leadership – micromanagement. There is far too much detail dictated at a high level and little room for strategy or innovation. Because the standards are not organic and dynamic, they become obsolete as soon as they were written.

Just a thought. What does the blog think?

Wiki-Math

Great idea! What is stopping this from happening?

Novel idea – In business they call it proof of concept. I often feel that they are thinking with an adult mind and not a kid mind – sometimes I feel like, hey, have you ever thrown this stuff in front of a kid and then actually see if the student understands it and can internalize it . It is like, well let’s cover this and this and that and maybe some of this will stick…. If your home life is on level and someone cares about you and helps you- then you are fine. …not every kid has that.

Thanks for this post. I observed two schools in Arizona using this program.

I was stunned. As an lifelong educator, who taught and observed practice across the social class spectrum, I found this program to be boring and developmentally inappropriate.

The terminology that first graders were required to master, were constructs that they couldn’t even say, let alone comprehend. The scripted teacher’s guide was bland and never offered any time to: PAUSE and have children ponder real life applications of geometric shapes in the classroom or environment.

My teacher candidate was so concerned that she wouldn’t complete all that was required in the allotted time, so that the children could complete their ‘EXIT TICKET” that included pre-determined categories. Do you want to meet or exceed?

Are you kidding me? These are six year olds?

While there is some merit to students explaining their answers when forming geometric designs with manipulatives, the program’s expectations and assessments appear to produce outcomes that are forced, rather than authentic.

First graders would have been better served by focusing on geometric patters as abstractions, and then go outside (weather and conditions permitting) to locate a triangle, square, circle, quadrilateral, and yes, a rhombus, in their natural evironment and in man-made architectural and consumer product design.

Imagime how innovation could be spurred from that kind of teaching!

I am not a fan of Eurkea Math in it’s present format. And wonder how many children in private day schools across the country have this curriculum imposed upon them.

I always find it disheartening to read the comments sections on these blogs because they are so full of vitriol. The other common theme I see is that there is a great deal of collegiate disrespect and hand wringing at the imposition of standardized assessments. What is rarely accompanying these critiques is a viable solution. If you’ve got a document you think is the basis for a set of grade level standards for mathematics, let’s see it. If you’ve got a curriculum that is exemplary let’s see it (unless you fear the same kinds of scathing critique you would levy yourself), if you’ve got a way to asses if Student A and Student Z know mathematics let’s see it.

PatMcH,

The last dozen chapters of my book “Reign of Error” are chock full of solutions. You can’t do the right things until you stop doing the wrong things.