John Benson, the teacher who blogged for us yesterday, makes a compelling case for why deep understanding of math is so important for high school math teachers. But is this as big an issue for elementary teachers?
It doesn't have to be this way. Teacher preparation programs can and should work with math departments to put together a coherent course sequence that addresses at a sophisticated level the most important topics in elementary math, the same ones covered in the Common Core State Standards. For our Common Core Elementary Math Standard, we have reviewers with expertise in math and math instruction carefully scrutinize the coverage of these topics in lectures, assignments and textbooks in required math courses for elementary teachers.
When we publish the Review in a couple of weeks, we'll show that more than a few elementary programs are making sure that their candidates get the math knowledge they need. We hope they can lead the way in strengthening the field so that eventually all elementary teachers feel well prepared to teach all the topics their students need to master.