Thursday, June 16, 2011

DC tests Singapore math

An education blog reports:
Bill Turque at The Washington Post writes about one D.C. public school's decision to adopt the Singapore Math program—and the many challenges that have come with it.

Singapore Math, Turque explains, focuses on mastery of basic computation skills and essential ideas, such as place value. "And unlike 'Everyday Mathematics,' which 'spirals' through subjects — covering them and then returning later — Singapore goes slow and deep, requiring mastery before moving on," he writes.

But in a district with a highly transient student population, Turque writes, it's tough to use a program that relies heavily on skill-building from year to year. And Singapore Math requires extensive (and costly) professional development, and "a depth of understanding most U.S. elementary teachers don't acquire in their math training," according to Turque.
That is ridiculous. The Singapore textbooks are self-contained, and an 8th-grade knowledge of math is all the teachers need.

The bigger problem is that the elementary schools only hire female teachers with no interest in math.

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