“A group of families in Wake County, N.C., have pushed for months to get the district to stop using a controversial new curriculum. Now the company behind the curriculum is suing one of the most vocal parents for defamation.”
I’m not really surprised by this confrontation. The math wars have faded from the news in recent days, but they have not gone away. They only have taken on a new form. Any time a school district tries to adopt a new math program that is approved by research, the traditionalists come out to wave a red flag and cry out for the good old days when math was taught in a way they could understand. This “war” started in the late 50s when Sputnik spun off curricular changes in math (new math) that parents couldn’t understand. In 1983 the Nation at Risk report recommended that schools become more rigorous and that they adopt new standards. This upset parents again and a call to back to basics ruled the land. The progressives would have none of this and influenced by the NCTM 1989 Standards published the textbook series Mathland which did not support traditional multiplication & division skills. The progressives were interested in alternative ways of teaching these skills that focused on understanding. As you can imagine the wave of criticism was tremendous and Mathland disappeared within a year or two.
The scrimmages today are local as indicated in this article. The tug between progressives and traditionalists is a time honored tradition that will continue as long as the liberals push for changing the “grammar of schooling.”