Friday, July 25, 2014

Elizabeth Green’s “Why Do Americans Stink at Math?”

Some blog followers might be interested in a discussion-list post “Elizabeth Green’s ‘Why Do Americans Stink at Math?’ ” [Hake (2014)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Elizabeth Green, in a NYT Magazine article titled “Why Do Americans Stink at Math?” at wrote: “With the Common Core . . . . . .[[, compatible with the reform math education methods]]. . . . teachers are once more being asked to unlearn an old approach and learn an entirely new one, essentially on their own. Training is still weak and infrequent, and principals - who are no more skilled at math than their teachers - remain unprepared to offer support. Textbooks, once again, have received only surface adjustments, despite the shiny Common Core labels that decorate their covers. . . . . Left to their own devices, teachers are once again trying to incorporate new ideas into old scripts, often botching them in the process. . . . . . . No wonder parents and some mathematicians denigrate the reforms as ‘fuzzy math.’ In the warped way untrained teachers interpret them, they are fuzzy.”

Green's article has prompted at least two threads on discussion lists. One initiated by Wayne Bishop on the OPEN! Math-Teach archives at Bishop at wrote: “Other than ‘Americans Stink at Math’, almost everything [Green] says is wrong. Decades-old (century?) math ed mythology.”

Another initiated by John Clement on the CLOSED! July PhysLrnR archives Clement at wrote: (paraphrasing): “Green's very good article is about how the Japanese reformed their math teaching and are now beating us. Their method resembles ‘Interactive Engagement’ methods in Physics Education Research.”

To access the complete 57 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University. LINKS TO: Academia; Articles; Blog; Facebook; GooglePlus; Google Scholar; Linked In; Research Gate; Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs; Twitter

REFERENCES [URL shortened by and accessed on 25 July 2014.]
Hake, R.R. “Elizabeth Green’s ‘Why Do Americans Stink at Math?’ ” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

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