Sioux Falls Catholic Schools Unique Approach to Math in the Age of Common Core

In today’s Argus Leader is a story about how the Sioux Falls Catholic Schools are using a blended math approach.

A few excerpts and thoughts:

Due to parent push back and what they saw happening with the children under “Every Day Math”, the district moved back toward more traditional math. Meaning as one student says, “This year, they explain it better.”

The Sioux Falls Public School District’s K-5 curriculum series, Investigations, includes an explainer of “constructivism” on its website. TERC dives deep into the philosophical reasoning behind the new math. A sample: “No one true reality exists, only individual interpretations of the world.” This is the philosophy of the curriculum writers. No wonder parents are seeking alternatives to public education.

Math reforms aren’t new. In 1989, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics published curriculum recommendations that championed understanding the concepts of math over practicing skills. Another version of “new math” was unveiled about 20 years before that. Not one of these reforms has worked. Why are we always trying the experimental? Why not stick with the tried and true, reasearch based, teaching and learning?

Teachers still use the reform-math materials for enrichment, but they reintroduced older material from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“You can’t just stay with the old,” Mahoney said. “The Harcourt book we’re using, Harcourt no longer publishes that series.

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. This is the crux of the issue with the Common Core or any other set of national standards. Pearson Education has quietly bought up almost all the education publishers and allowed those companies to keep their name. Everything Pearson does is Common Core. And for the few education publishers who have managed to stay in business, they will also have to align everything to the Common Core to continue to stay in business. The state says that local schools choose their curriculum. How did Henry Ford say it? “People can have the Model T in any color – so long as it’s black” You can have any curriculum you want, as long as it’s Common Core.

Catholic schools blend approaches to math

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