The debate about the efficacy of the common core curriculum is one that's received a lot of attention over the years, especially with regards to how math is taught to children all across the country. Many are arguing that "new math" problem-solving techniques are unnecessarily difficult as compared to "old math" ones.
And it's not just a matter of one particular demographic embracing the new methodologies over another: parents, students, and teachers alike seem to be split down the middle as to which techniques are more effective at teaching children math. What further complicates the issue is that the old vs new debate is embroiled in other political issues when it comes to public school funding and management across the country.
Many teachers have expressed frustration around their districts' inability to secure money essential to operations being intertwined with standardized testing success. I.e., if a certain percentage of students aren't averaging a target score then that means their schools will undergo an "audit" of sorts that will subject them to greater scrutiny and reallocation of funds.
Again, the implementation of new teaching methods are often conflated with discussions surrounding the funding of school districts, and many teachers have stated that they feel somewhat handcuffed as their teaching methods must adhere to methodologies that aren't the most conducive to student advancement.
Which is something that was expressed in a quick video clip by this teacher's TikTok that illustrates the stark difference between "old math" vs "new math" instructional techniques.
A viral TikTok uploaded by educator Gerry Brooksprin titled "Parental Frustration" speaks to the mortification many have with attempting to not only teach "new math" techniques to their children but also calls into question the actual ability to empower children with the skills to solve problems quickly.
At the end of the clip, he displays his own understanding of the frustration with new techniques after showing the juxtaposition of the two math instruction styles.
Many echoed Gerry's sentiments and there are several people on TikTok who've also uploaded videos that embody the same type of confusion and befuddlement with the "overly complicated" new math system.
However, there are also several people who have rallied against what they call an "over simplification" of the issue. Stand-up comedy bits have lampooned the reductionist attitude towards new math techniques, and many people have said that their children have benefited greatly from the new style of teaching.
The main argument is that old math basically just teaches students how to arrive at the correct answer instead of understanding the math in a way that directly pertains to their daily lives.
Proponents of new math further argue that it's this more in-depth approach that allows students to factor it into their other studies. Seeing visualizations of the sums they're adding, subtracting, and multiplying is at first more difficult, but ultimately builds a stronger foundation for becoming more adept at higher level mathematics theories.
Old math vs. New math:— Mikkel Muller (@MikkelMuller) January 26, 2011
Have you ever struggled to discuss math equations because you use a different vocabulary than others? I just did.
Where do you stand in the "new math" vs "old math" debate? Is it a matter of older generations thinking that their ways are better than whatever newfangled methods are being implemented? Or is this really a "regression" as many are saying?