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. 🙂

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Deb

said:Your post reminds me of this video about Math by another Seattle meteorologist -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI

Fascinating stuff. I didn’t even know this nonsense existed.

Sheri

said:So, aside from college freshman being unable to write a proper 5 paragraph paper, although they can ‘journal’ quite well, now they can’t do long division.

It really is a sad state of affairs and I’m glad that professionals, like this weather guy, are starting to speak up.

Keep it up, Tressa. I like it when you’re on a soap box!

Donna

said:That, especially not knowing basic mathematics, is sad for those students because it is expensive to fail in college.

dutchican

said:Hmmm. I have no idea what this new math is… I think I was taught the traditional way. As a newbie public school parent, I’m just now realizing the amount of supplementing I am most likely going to be doing. And I’ve been amazed to realize that I am far, far in the minority as far as how much we work on at home. Right now I’ve just been using The Educated Child by William Bennett to judge what skills we need to work on. But now I have a request, sometime would you write about how you judge/what resources you use to determine what your kids should be learning when? (or maybe you have and I’ve missed it?)

tressays

said:I haven’t, but I can! To see what the new math looks like, copy and paste the link in Deb’s comment. I know that many school districts around the country use Terc Investigations and Everyday Math.

appliejuice

said:Wow.

I’m going to start pushing my girls harder.

Ana

said:Question: My oldest is going to start first grade this year. While I’ll be sending him to the school here, I am quite serious about homeschooling when we return to the States the year after depending on where we end up. I am really lost about where to go with the whole math thing. English was my major, and there was a reason for that! What did you do for the early grades for math? I’m not afraid of teaching it, but don’t really know how to approach it.

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