New math program has fans, detractors

Oct. 11, 2009 at 9:48 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Several Philadelphia area schools are loyal to a new elementary math program that critics says is weak on basic facts, educators say.

Everyday Mathematics was developed 20 years ago at the University of Chicago and is popular at public and private schools in Philadelphia, as well as in Montgomery and Chester counties, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

Proponents say the program uses competition and puzzles that help boys learn and use math in practical ways and open-ended questions, creativity and independent thinking that are helpful to girls.

Opponents point out that Everyday Mathematics doesn't stress the rote memorization of old methods. They say children don't learn addition and multiplication in an orderly fashion before moving on to the next concept.

Supporters say Everyday Mathematics has helped improve math scores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the newspaper said. Its creators say the program is used in more than 175,000 classrooms, reaching 2.8 million U.S. students.

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