Education Bottoms Out in Beaufort with “New Math”

Sweatin’ to the Oldies: Teachers waste time and money with counterproductive “everyday math” dance training in Beaufort.

The next time you start to feel sorry for a public school district complaining that they need more money, watch this video.

Perhaps seeing self-respecting adults jive around and chant nonsense words in the name of “participatory education” will clear your head. If this is how South Carolina trains teachers, it should be no wonder that fifty percent of public school students drop out before graduating.

This embarrassing display of self indulgent educrat failure is part of Beaufort County School District’s push to introduce corporately developed “Everyday Mathematics” to students in the district. According to “Everyday Math” proponents, students can learn math through fun patterns, “active” learning, and a process called “spiraling,” in which students study a concept for a few days and then come back to it later.

Skeptical? You should be.

In fact, numerous criticisms of the “Everyday Mathematics” training method led Everyday Math to be rejected as an approved curriculum by both the state of Texas and the California State Department
of Education under the 2001 Mathematics Adoption. Regarding “Everyday Math,” Dr. Wayne Bishop, Professor of Mathematics at California State University says “In normal classrooms with normal teachers, I would characterize these materials as dangerous.”

Another informed critic, Dr. Tswewei Wang of the University of Tennessee, declares:

“In spite of some attractive approaches undertaken by Everyday Mathematics, the topics and skills it leaves out will be seriously detrimental to the students in rendering them not fully prepared to handle the learning of higher mathematical topics in middle, high, and finally the college years.”

It’s great to see that SC educrats aren’t letting empirical evidence and lessons learned in other states get in the way of some good old fashioned fun in the classroom. We only hope that the meager hundred dollar a day training bonus for teachers involved in this revolutionary new training program is generously supplemented with a liberal walk around stipend and per diem.

The most disgusting aspect of this money-wasting disproven technique, is that career politicans and partisan educrats are actually pointing to it as a substantive reform mechanism for the nation’s worst public school system.

For more information on the wonders of Everyday Math, see the links below.

Everyday ( Fuzzy) Math is Dumbing Down Our Children

Review of Everyday Mathematics Curriculum and Its Missing Topics and Skills

An Open Letter to US Secretary of Education, Richard Riley

Reviews of UCSMP Everyday Math


23 responses to “Education Bottoms Out in Beaufort with “New Math”

  1. What an embarassment. I know there are alot of teachers who work very hard in our schools, but this is a joke. This is not education, it is exactly why South Carolina is an educational laughingstock.

  2. wow. worst part is how the papers wrote an article praising this crap. meanwhile the state supreme court is dragging on the trial about how the poor districts (poor is the population, not their funding) are still wallowing in failure and need more money. gee, i bet changing the state constitution will fix EVERYTHING! ha ha

  3. MidlandsMomof4

    This is a joke, right?

  4. OutragedInSC

    OMFG! Excuse me while I go call the private school and enroll my children.

  5. A Grandmother's Point

    You have GOT to be kidding! I guess if it fails in California that makes it okay for our kids in South Carolina. And to brag about this. This is just pathetic!!!

  6. Archimedes, give me a place to stand...

    The progressives that have completely taken over our educational systems are denying our children an ACTUAL education. Realize that that this early education preparing them for the political mantras (YES WE CAN) that they will be infecting them with in later grades. After learning SOCIAL STUDIES instead of HISTORY our children are easy targets for total indoctrination when they reach college. As an adult student returning to UIUC to finally attain my degree I find that if my pares do not reflect the (LEFT) politics of myProf.’s it has a detrimental effect upon my grades. In this manner they SOCIALLY promote students, who there-by get better jobs and reach higher levels of power later, that share their philosophies. While keeping a disproportionate share of those with more conservative views from graduating. Thusly I now find myself having to write pro-left nonsense (GAG) to excel in class.

    This is reflected in the voting patterns we see today.

    This has been going on for two generations. Notice in particular that Ayers, Obama and Klonsky all were heavily involved directing education policy in Chicago via the Annenberg Challenge handing 100’s of millions to educators who agree with their politics and denying those that do not. Chicago by the way has the lowest rated public education in the country and the lowest high-school graduation percentage.


  7. When asked to identify an animal in a photo,
    Little Johnny said, its a freakin elephant.
    The embarassed teacher tried to steer little Johnny to the right with out using that type of language. Little Johnny then pointed to the caption under the picture. It read: A-frican Elephant. So much for Phonetics!

  8. I learned to read well in the first grade in 1943 with Dick and Jane and Winkie. I learned to spell correctly with a list of words assigned to me daily to memorize. I learned math well enough in the fourth grade by memorizing the mulitiplication tables. After learning to print in the first and second grades I learned cursive writing by practicing at home.
    What’s wrong with the system when people in the 11th and 12th grade cannot make change at the places of business without a computer?
    Somewhere down through the years someone has failed either to learn or be taught these fundamentals What happened?

  9. Pingback: Nothing could be more symbolic of SC education problem | The Palmetto Scoop

  10. James Ridgell

    This is what they call “Professional Development” in Government schools. It gets worse. I had to go through some activities where we were in a circle and had to grab the person next to the one beside you. Then we had to unravel ourselves into a circle. To this day, I have not been able to figure out how that is suppose to help me teach mathematics. But educrats don’t care. All they care to do is bully teachers into doing what they, the educrats, deem necessary. As you can see they treat teachers like little kids. This is the kind of crap with which teachers have to put up. Teachers have to have so many hours of professional development to renew their licenses. This is why our government education system is in the condition it is in.

    Given who the Beaufort superintendent is, it does not surprise me that this is going on. Valerie Truesdale worked for Barbara Nielsen and then in Lexington-Richland 5, where kids are treated like experimental animals.

    Barbara Nielsen did not believe in basic skills nor multiple choice tests. She developed the expensive and useless PACT, which was later inherited and implemented by Inez Tenembaum, after Nielsen knew she would not win another term.

    Both Truesdale and Nielsen believe in misleading the public with education data. Those of you in Beaufort County need to check on everything the school district publishes.

  11. Informed Educator

    Name one math curricula that isn’t “corporate developed.” Guess what – they use them in private schools too. This is not an isolated incident based upon the adoption of a single educational program – it is reminiscent of school administrative behavior everywhere.

  12. In my opinion, this clip misrepresents what occurs in many Beaufort County classrooms as well as what occured during the professional development teachers were offered. I suggest all of the facts be presented so readers can form their own opinions.

  13. SC Teacher,

    The facts are already common knowledge around the nation. SC public schools are a laughingstock that can’t manage to graduate more than half of their students. You may work very hard, and do a great job in your classroom, but that doesn’t change the facts about our schools as a whole. If we need to help more kids graduate from school with a solid education , then why is Beaufort introducing some cheesy, pseudo-math curriculum that is considered by many to be a joke? Give those kids some real knowledge, not some feel-good materials that will hurt them when they are going to high school and college. As a teacher, you should know this better than anyone. This clip didn’t form my opinion of public ed in SC, it just reinforced the one I already had.

  14. SC Math Teacher

    Everyday Math WORKS!!! Look at test scores in districts with Everyday Math – they’re up. Also, if you look deeper into research, no other math program currently on the market has as positive an impact as this program. If you have been in an elementary classroom in a while, you will see plenty of teachers singing and dancing with their students – it’s called active and engaged learning – not they way we used to learn – but yes, people are scared of change, even if it works and is successful. BTW – it was not banned in California, that was one “educated” person’s opinion.

  15. Sc math teacher, you should google Everday Math and get back to reality. If this were really a decent program then why are so many mathematics professors and parents saying it sucks? Let me guess, you know better and your teaching is the exception?

  16. SC Math Teacher

    Sadland – I think some of you should do your research. The song in the video is not even from Everyday Math. It is a song that numerous teachers use across the country to teach patterns. Yes Everyday Math is different, but change is always scarey – especially for those who can’t. The drop out rate the so called prof’s are discussing are in HS and not Elementary. If you really want to look at research – SC Math scores are up on the national average, but the problems comes from the large part of SC adults only having a HS diploma or less – hard facts to take into account. What about Private schools – those are the best of the best correct…surprise, private schools also use Everyday Math and they too are successfull. This program is tough, it raises the bar – but if you want sub par students, then use sub par products. If you use an easier program to teach math will that help our students??? Let’s don’t challenge them to think outside the box.

  17. Wow. This is really sad. What the Everyday Math program is, is basically “watered-down” prealgebra. My oldest has literally agonized his way through it for 5 years now. Last summer, I taught him the dreaded “traditional” algorithms, and now he’s actually passing math. Sylvan Learning Center is “standing room only” in my area (New England). EM is heavily language-based, and lacking in both mastery and basic practice. I always love how people keep discussing “test scores” like they are the absolute measure of success. The fact of the matter is that the tests now being used are completely aligned to this curriculum. Of course the scores will go up – they’ve been “taught to test.” It pretty much means that “Johnny” can’t add without a calculator, but by gum, he can pass that test! He can look at you like you have 2 heads when you ask him how he arrived at the answer, or he can draw lattice boxes so out of alignment that he couldn’t hope to get the correct answer. Why can’t this program be taught with “traditional” methods instead of ancient ones AND implement some of the conceptual aspects? Partial products is an instant headache-producer for many kids, and traditional algorithms are easier for young children to do. There’s confidence to be built on arriving at the correct answer more often than not. Oh, I know, we’re teaching them to ESTIMATE and use MENTAL MATH. That’s all fine and good when you are good at doing math in your head. If you’re not, and never will be no matter what program you grew up on, then “oh well” everyone else’s kid is “getting it.” Pathetic. Be advised: Many of your kids “test scores” are also going up because many, many, parents are clandestinely teaching them traditional math or having them privately tutored. No one seems to be studying that aspect of “pedagogy.”

  18. I would really like to know how in the world this song/dance is supposed to teach patterns. I sure do not get it!! Looks like a way to kill some time during a school day to me.

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  21. I am a teacher as well and I’ve been watching this go on across the country since the advent of No Child Left Behind (2004/2005) and I am pleased to see that someone taped it so the public can see what goes on in public schools. Ever wonder why NCLB isn’t working; kids are getting dumber, and graduation rates are slipping? This is supposed to be training teachers to teach math? What a joke and a taxpayer rip-off.

    Yeah, they pulled the teachers away from the students and took their planning time to do this kind of nonsense everyday when the bell rings, especially in the Title l schools. At one time teachers could stay in their classrooms and be available for students to get help after school and/or prepare real lessons. No more. Professional development is at the core of NCLB. (Ever wonder who these outside training agencies are, or to whom they are related? Big money is being made by someone!)

    Is this a better way for teachers to spend their time? Believe me, the teachers hate doing this stuff, but their evaluations and job security would suffer if they didn’t play along. I know; been there, done that.

    Don’t care? It’s your money. Taxpayers need to go to their districts and see how much money is set aside for what they like to call, professional development. The teachers are getting paid for this training, and the trainer is getting paid big bucks, too. It’s another political scam.

  22. My school system finally dumped Everyday Mathematics after nine years. We (the teacher) closed our doors and secretly taught fact mastery. Finally the parents banded together and went to the school board and demanded that they do something about the horrible math curriculum. Our new text isn’t the end all be all, but thank goodness it’s not Everyday Mathematics. I hated that program from the day I piloted it. The “spiral math curriculum” created an entire generation of barely functional mathematical illiterates.

  23. Privateschoolteacher, NH

    My co-teacher uses “TootieTat” as a fun, crazy reward for our Pre-K and K students after the real work is done for the day. I can’t get a job in a public school (with a Masters!) b/c I don’t have actual teaching experience using EM and here in New England, it’s all the rage. My own children struggled with it all through school. My K’ers leave us with a great foundation for mathematics… perhaps I should stay private where I get to teach exactly how I want!

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