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Traverse City, MI - Math Wars Flare

Traverse City, MI - population 14,000+ is fighting a battle in the math wars. The group calls themselves "We All Count" - and they want traditional math courses back. In the early 1990s, TCAPS started phasing out traditional math courses in favor of a reformed math curriculum.

The move drew a slew of complaints from parents who argued that reformed math shortchanged basic skills and left many students needing remedial math classes at the college level:

Well the same is happening in Oregon. Starting in Beaverton, there is a growing group of parents and professionals who are asking for a traditional math option.

Traverse City's solution is the blending of traditional and reformist math. My question is – how do you blend traditional and reform math at the early grades? They are the polar opposites. For instance, in the traditional curriculum I use (Connecting Math Concepts), everything is broken down and story problems are introduced in the first grade curriculum. But it is simply not a discovery based system. How do you append a discovery based system to one that is traditional?

I like the 2 tracks solution where parents get to chose: Traditional or Reformed. Can that happen in Oregon? When I say offer two tracks, I mean that each track is done correctly and competently. When you water down curriculum, you are not following the curriculum and essentially making up your own curriculum which is time consuming and has no science behind it. If you offer a traditional track - it should be followed. If you offer a reformist track - do it well and follow it. Then at least we could do some research and see which has better results.