Them’s Fightin’ Words

IMG_7957Tonight I had the opportunity to attend a ‘conversation’ at the Museum of Mathematics between Andrew Hacker (author of The Math Myth and Other STEM Delusions) and James Tanton.  The event, which was entitled “Course Corrections” wasn’t quite a debate, but they each spoke for 15 minutes, and then for another (sort of rebuttal) 15 minutes, followed by a brief Q&A.  I’m going to write about this tomorrow, because it’s getting a bit late for me, and I want to review all my notes, but I will say these two things:

(a) I wasn’t enamored of Andrew Hacker from what I read of his writing prior to the event, and this evening served to confirm and deepen my feelings.

(b) James Tanton is awesome (I sort of knew that already, but now have live confirmation).

And a couple of big ideas that were tossed around:

  • Andrew Hacker thinks we should chuck the Common Core standards.  Nothing wrong with every teacher teaching something different.  No one size fits all solutions. Why should UPS drivers know about Pythagorean triples and Pascal’s Triangle (despite the
    fact that the patterns included therein are part of what makes mathematicschitri1 beautiful)?
  • James Tanton believes that mathematics is relevant and accessible.  He understands that the CCLS are not curriculum, but rather a way of telling the story of math (he says it much better than I am saying it here, and with an Aussie accent.) (#mathfangirl)

I feel myself getting drawn into the long post I don’t want to write at this moment, so I will stop here.  Tomorrow is another day in MaBloWriMo (Math Blog Writing Month).

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