A few posts ago, I talked about how the growth in tutors and learning centers in the U.S. might be evidence that the progressive approaches to math education might not be as effective as they are touted to be. A parallel situation exists in Canada, notably in the Alberta Province where parents have been fighting the infestation of discovery math for the past four or five years.
David Staples, a reporter, has written about the Alberta situation for years, and his latest in the Calgary Herald points up the increase in tutors and learning centers in that region:
Desperate Alberta parents are now seeing the need for private tutoring. For example, there’s been a stampede to private Kumon math and English tutoring.
There were 4,069 students enrolled in Kumon in Alberta in 2006. By 2012, there were 5,495. Then came news of Alberta’s disastrous results in math on 2013 international PISA testing, which saw a doubling of our rate of math illiterate students from 7.4 to 15.1 per cent in less than a decade. There are now 9,439 kids enrolled in Kumon. Students there attempt to learn the basic skills that many of our schools have downplayed.
This is an educational disaster, with our most vulnerable students hammered hardest, but not once have discovery math’s architects — an army of “21st-century learning” educational consultants, professors and gurus — been held to account.
The results, says Staples, is a two-tiered system of haves and have-nots. Parents who can afford it, send their kids to private schools, enroll their kids in learning centers, or hire tutors. Not stated, is that private schools, tutors and learning centers are likely not using the discovery methods, teacher as facilitator, or following the edicts of an army of “21st-century learning” educational consultants, professors and gurus.
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And yet we have ATA president Mark Ramsankar tweeting out that Staples has it all wrong, and that this is a problem being manufactured in the press.
Try telling that to parents, who either sit with their kid every night despairing over their math homework, or forking out their future investment by sending them to Kumon.
This is not an unusual scenario as it’s happening in about one in three homes across North America. What’s it going to take to make our educrats understand that this system is broken? What’s it going to take to make this right for our kids?
The future is bleak for these kids if they don’t know their times tables, or struggle with fractional arithmetic. Instead of prepping our kids to become minions for the factory floor, we should be focusing their energy on becoming artists, engineers, doctors and writers. But none of these careers will be possible if they don’t learn arithmetic properly. “Just Google it” is a fallacy, and it’s damaging our kids.
Shame on our education leaders, our politicians, and our School Administrators for letting this happen. The damage this will wreak on our kids and future generations is unfathomable.
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