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December 21, 2007

Everyday Mathematics

I read with interest Andy Isaacs’ response  (12/15, Letters, on behalf of the University of Chicago Mathematics authors) to Michelle Malkin’s “Everyday Math program doesn’t add up.”

Ms. Malkin’s comment that this program represents a “dumbing down” of mathematics could not be further from the truth.

The program is as rich as you will find. It incorporates solid teaching techniques, hands-on experiences and links to real life, and it fosters alternative methods of computation.

Practice through interesting game formats offers an alternative to drill and practice sheets and encourages parental participation.

Ever wonder why most children have so much trouble mastering subtraction? It is simple: In America we teach subraction using the old cross-out, borrow, carryover algorithm as the only method.

Try this: Give your child the problem (300-1). Does he resort to this standard algorithm and perhaps reach an incorrect answer, or does he (as a child taught with the EM program) first think about the problem and see that it is a simple mental calculation?

Before writing a disparaging article, you really should do your homework, Ms. Malkin.

Donna Townsend
Retired Shawnee Mission teacher



I dunno. If you have to think about 300 -1 as a mental calculation you may not be very good at arithmetic. And how does thinking of it as a mental calculation increase the probability of getting the right answer?

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