I follow the blog of a local meteorologist. I found his blog after my daughter discovered that she really enjoys studying the weather. He is probably the most accurate predictor of my local weather. He puts up all kinds of cool charts and graphs. We love them. You can find his blog here.
The thing is that this gentleman also happens to be a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. He sees first hand the what the “new” math has done to the students of Washington State. He finds that the incoming freshmen to the UW are lacking in basic math skills. (I am going to say right now that if you live in WA and have kids in the public schools, you need to supplement their math. The math stinks.) I was digging around a little on his blog and found a post that he wrote about the state of Washington math. He also posted a test that he gives to all of his 101 students. The results are appalling. I could tell you what the results are, but it is much easier to send you to his site.
I should mention that UW is the premier university in our state. It is difficult to get in, especially if you home school. These students should be the cream of the crop. (And tuition will probably be raised 20% next year!)
On his blog, he has a blank copy of the test that he hands out to his students. He says that we can give it to our own kids or our friends’ kids. Yay! I love that. I gave it to my oldest. He got them all right. I didn’t give the whole test to my daughter, but I just rattled off a couple that I remembered while we were driving to track practice. She got them right. I am not saying this to brag on my kids. I am saying this to brag on Saxon Math. This reinforces my decision to keep my high school kids at home. I can teach (or they can teach themselves) good math, not the “discovery” garbage they learn in the public school. I just saw in my local newspaper that one district near me wants to buy another math curriculum that uses online tools and discussions to help the kids learn math. It seems that parents have a hard time helping their kids with their homework because of this feel-good math. I just don’t know why they don’t stick with the algorithms that work. How much does math in the early grades change over time? Oh, yeah. It doesn’t.
I will get off my soap box now. 🙂