In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 14, 2006 / 21 Elul, 5766

Fuzzy memory on fuzzy math

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics released new guidelines that, for example, call on fourth graders to know multiplication tables and division.

Oddly, it's big news when math teachers call for students to learn math skills. So The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported that the guidelines signaled a return to emphasizing ''basics" in math education.

Stanford University math professor James Milgram, who advised the NCTM on the new guidelines, told Education Week that the new guidelines represent "an end to the math wars." Milgram was referring to the ideological battle between educators who believe that students should memorize multiplication tables and master long-division and educrats who believe teachers should encourage students to discover math for themselves and master estimating numbers.

In 1989, the NCTM was on the fuzzy side. The council argued that kids did not need to memorize math facts because, "The calculator renders obsolete much of the complex pencil-and-paper proficiency traditionally emphasized in mathematics courses."

State agencies compounded the folly. California educators argued that memorization of number facts was "a hindrance rather than a help in developing mathematical understanding."

In keeping with the NCTM's emphasis on children writing about math, developers of a California assessment test told graders to give more credit to students who got the wrong answer to a math question (but wrote a better essay) than students who gave the right answer without the right prose. California elementary schools scarfed up MathLand, a trendy program that pooh-poohed exercises with "predetermined numerical results."

The unofficial slogan for new-new math: There is no right answer. Trendy programs recommended that students work in groups so that they could discover the answers. Instead of memorizing 5+4=9, students would look for creative ways to solve the equation, such as that 5+5=10 but since 4 is 1 less 5, the answer is 9. In the name of creativity, new-new math was both time-consuming and boring.

No surprise, students suffered. Milgram found that the number of California State University students — that is, the top 30 percent of high school graduates — who needed remedial math more than doubled, from 23 percent in 1989 to 55 percent some 10 years later.

So I was thrilled to see the NCTM actually concentrating on math skills. Until I talked to NCTM executive director Jim Rubillo, who said the new guidelines were a "continuation" of the 1989 standards, and there is no "change in philosophy."

Don't blame the NCTM for bad trendy textbooks, Rubillo added: "In theater, I've seen Shakespeare done very well and very poorly."

Forsooth: Fuzzy math doth not equal Shakespeare. Before I called Rubillo, I told Cal State L.A. math professor Wayne Bishop that the NCTM was really coming around, but Bishop was skeptical. I chided him. After all, I noted, the guidelines may not call for third-graders to memorize multiplication tables, as California's substantive standards do, but at least they support "quick recall of multiplication facts" in the fourth grade. At least they deal with math now.

Bishop responded, "I would be surprised if behind the scenes they've moved at all." Now I wonder, too. It is not a good sign that, when I cited Milgram's quote about the end of the math wars, Rubillo responded, "The math wars are just an invention in the last few years of just a couple of people."

This mess started when true believers turned math into a faith-based folly. When angry parents and teachers rebelled, the faddists denied that they had moved away from the basics. After years of clashes within curriculum commissions and fierce textbook battles, they now deny there was a curriculum war. Then they wonder why no one believes them.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate