Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Math curriculum

Sabotaging students’ futures

Cliff Mass’s guest commentary piece [“Seattle’s shortsighted math curriculum,” Opinion, May 31] brings to mind an old experiment — that of expecting students in a classroom to peck away at math concepts and come up with a cogent understanding of math versus a room of chimpanzees trying to randomly duplicate Shakespeare’s plays.

Ultimately both will succeed, perhaps in 100 years or so, but the chimps will have lost nothing; the students, their future.

— David Kerchner, Kirkland

Polarizing the debate distracts from real issue

Cliff Mass paints a caricature of reform mathematics. He misrepresents the work in colleges of education.

I prepare elementary mathematics teachers. I do not promote a particular curriculum, nor do I think that children should discover mathematics on their own. The teacher’s job is to make sure students develop both procedural skill and understanding. You cannot excel in any field with just one or the other.

Mass and the organization to which he belongs continue to polarize public discussion about this topic, making people choose sides. This is a clever way to avoid tackling the real issues of underachievement.

— Elham Kazemi, associate professor, mathematics education, University of Washington

Time to replace failed leaders

I was certainly not surprised to see Cliff Mass’s piece in The Seattle Times on Sunday. Process cannot become a substitute for data-driven decision making and logic-based leadership.

Going back and watching the Seattle School Board meetings, Directors Sherry Carr, Peter Maier, Cheryl Chow and Steve Sundquist defended skewed, ineffective, data-free process as the litmus test for their approval of fuzzy-math perpetuation in Seattle Public Schools. This is enough reason to give them the boot before they do any more damage.

The superintendent led the “process.” Hmmm.

Let’s go to the polls this fall with a decided accent on axing the fuzzy-math directors.

— Kate Martin, Seattle

Comments | More in Math

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►