The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is running an in-depth, well-reported series on math education this week. Tuesday's article focused on the importance of instruction.
While the series is excellent, some of its reporting on the quality of American math teachers is grim but important for us all to hear. One National Science Foundation-funded research study analyzed 300 math and science classes in 31 school districts across the country and found that nearly two third of the lessons taught were of low quality. Some other analyses of what American teachers did and did not know compared to teachers in other countries were disturbing. Researcher Liping Ma asked teachers from China and the U.S. to divide 1 ? by ? and explain how they would teach the process for getting the answer to their students. Fewer than half of the American teachers got the problem right, while all of the Chinese teachers did.