**Sidwell**** Friends**

1/22/2009

Please do not link to
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http://www.math.jhu.edu/~wsw/SID/dis.pdf

The
program:

http://www.math.jhu.edu/~wsw/SID/program.pdf

There
were about 50 people there, mostly math teachers from Sidwell
(and their administrators) and area schools. We were assigned our program topics, but with a little
manipulation of the introduction, I would have given the same speech. I had 5 minutes.

http://www.math.jhu.edu/~wsw/SID/mysidwell.pdf

I'm afraid there was a bit of a shocked silence after I read my bit. My subject matter partner was one of
the authors of PSSM 2000, and it came out, to the amusement of all, during the
Q & A, that he had talked his kid's school into using TERC
Investigations. His talk was interesting. He explained that the 1989
standards were misunderstood, "content" was just assumed to be there, they
were trying to introduce understanding. Now the 2000 standards are
misunderstood because some pick understanding and some pick content. In my
opinion, this is pretty silly, since these are precisely the problems with
so-called "traditional" math.

The
questions at the end were written and screened, but two made it through
directly to me. One was something
about me having supported rote learning or some such, but even other panel
members said they hadn't heard me say that. I just responded that it was a myth that mathematicians,
scientists, and engineers didn't want their students to understand their math.

The
second question was a statement about how I didn't understand Sidwell's lower school math program, that TERC
Investigations is supplemented. I
just suggested that if they want to supplement they should start with a good
program. It came out later that
they supplement with Everyday Math so they get a "balanced" math program.

It
came out that the math teachers at Sidwell are all
now sitting down to talk about coordinating the program. Their middle school starts in 5^{th}
grade and their lower school is trying to get the middle school to use TERC
Investigations for the 5^{th} grade.

I
got the general impression that the high school teachers were not unhappy with
my talk, but the lower school principal (not a math guy) was more than a little
defensive. He did ask me if TERC
Investigations had any redeeming value.
I used to answer that question with a yes, but I have all of the
materials, K-5, for the new version of TERC Investigations, and, perhaps it is
too strong to say it has no redeeming value, any possible redeeming value is
more than compensated for by the very strong negatives. I said it had no redeeming value.

I
suspect that my talk will have no impact whatsoever.