“It wasn’t the first time that Americans had dreamed up a better way to teach math and then failed to implement it. The same pattern played out in the 1960s, when schools gripped by a post-Sputnik inferiority complex unveiled an ambitious “new math,” only to find, a few years later, that nothing actually changed. In fact, efforts to introduce a better way of teaching math stretch back to the 1800s. The story is the same every time: a big, excited push, followed by mass confusion and then a return to conventional practices.” Profound statement in the article Why Do Americans Stink at Math? Elizabeth Green.
We have all the great ideas, even other countries look to us for inspiration. However, where they implement and succeed, we flounder. Our education system dictates reform, with little support on the actuals. We are hoping to move the math classroom toward concrete math, real world scenarios, and critical problem solving versus calculations and a “cultural script” of steps and repetition; sadly without offering any concrete support. Add to the realities the classroom teacher faces just in regard to their students and their personal struggles and the reform is unwelcome. The reform flounders in system bureaucracy.