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Monday, May 14, 2018

The new math must focus on basics | Toronto Sun

"Make new math old school" notes Sue-Ann Levy, journalist on Toronto Sun. 
Photo: Toronto Sun files

PC Ontario leader Doug Ford says he’s talked to an “endless number of teachers” who are frustrated at being dictated to by Queen’s Park about how they must teach math.

He recently told me he intends to seek input from teachers on the best way to scrap discovery math and get “back to the basics” — which means teaching students how to properly add, subtract, multiply and divide (without a calculator) by the time they leave Grade 6.

“Our Grade 6 students are still failing (in standardized math tests) … Across Ontario, 50% still aren’t at the provincial standards,” he said. “We’re going to make sure we go back to the basics.”

He said many Ontario students (in the elementary grades) still can’t do simple multiplication or long division — and if they don’t have a calculator, they’re lost.

Retired Hamilton elementary school teacher Teresa Murray agreed that the way math is currently taught is a serious problem.

Murray, who taught for 32 years in the Catholic school system and has been tutoring students for the past six years, said “severe damage” has been done to kids for 20 years with the current discovery math curriculum.

“There are real people who have cried on my shoulder because they see what is happening to their children day after day,” she added. “Their education has been damaged with massive amounts of money being spent.”

She said a lot more time needs to be provided to learn the basics of math in school — and rigorously learn them — without having to seek outside tutors.

But Murray figures it will take “many many years” to bring the curriculum back to where it once was.

Source: Toronto Sun