The math wars in Canada continue

Anna Stokke tells it like it is in Canada in a no holds barred piece in the Globe and Mail.

“After six years of advocating for better math education in Canada, I have noticed a frustrating cycle that ministries have done little to break. Expensive consultants are hired to provide teacher professional development on unproven fads. Resources are then purchased to support these ineffective methods in the classroom, which produces more struggling students who need extra support. After a round of testing shows that students are doing more poorly in math, the same people who created the problem decide that teachers need more support using the ineffective methods. More PD and resources are then purchased, and the cycle continues. Parents are often left with no other option but to hire tutors to cover the gaps and those who can’t afford tutors watch helplessly as their children get further behind.”

Canada’s approach to math education differs from the US in that some of the provincial Ministries of Education (MoE’s) are mandating via the standards the inquiry-based approaches and bad practices. In the US such practices are not mandated, but strongly hinted at through the “dog whistles” of reform math embedded in the Common Core standards. Previous to Common Core, the NCTM’s standards paved the way.

Canada’s MoE’s are hanging tight, but at least there is a press that represents the parents much more strongly than one sees in the US as evidenced by Anna’s piece.

Tell it, Anna!


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