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American Public Schools Reform in Math Instruction

Updated on January 28, 2017

The state of the public school

We have gone from one size must fit all for mastery to there are different ways to reach all learners. As I do the research about math instruction then and know, I realized that during my teaching time so far there has been reform of one form or another, for teaching math and other subjects; partly because so many kids are not ready for the college level. When the NCTM and other American math leaders looked globally at how we fall behind other nations in STEM; they realized that changes had to be made to hold teachers and school systems not only accountable but to close the achievement gap. For that reason, the standards are being increased in difficulty at the primary levels in an effort to increase student preparedness for Algebra, Trigonometry etc. The schools' systems in other nations are structured much differently in many cases. For example, in Singapore children are understanding math using bar models to visualize the problems to help them solve. The levels build upon each other, allowing kids to connect patterns and to continue to use a concept. In many ways, the mentality of many Americans is either you are a math person or you or not. Many kids have grown up feeling like they could not do math because they did not understand the fundamentals and the scaffolding from one level to the next are often inconsistent and cause a breakdown in the children's academic growth, especially in urban communities. The American education system in many cases is failing students and to make it worse many parents and religious affiliations are not the pillars of children anymore like in the past, so the students lack stability and discipline. I think that the work ethic and the no-nonsense ways of traditional education is needed, however, I do see the benefit of using research-based methods that may help students at risk more effectively. It is helpful to take into account the learners weaknesses and differentiated level and ways to help them learn despite their challenges.
I have seen the type of teachers who have taught for years, who run countless copies for kids to sit and do all day while they play on their computers. Telling parents that their kids are failing but not using their skill set to reach the kid, I have also seen many teachers commit to the job because they lost the job in their previous field and they see teaching as the go to job, and I have seen the type who teach at the lowest level of rigor, making kids fall more and more behind.Private schools are doing better than public schools on average with their resources. Their teachers do not have to over compensate for kids lack of family involvement.
The public system has allowed some educators to just babysit and cripple many. Being that learning is an organic process, it in imperative that the role and actions of the educator be held in high esteem. In some countries teachers of children are regarded with respect like doctors. I think it is in Finland where teachers have to go through a strenuous process to even be considered to teach. And then they are compensated well for their expertise. It is a fundamental principle that the future of a nation rests upon the development of the youth. On another note, when segregation ended the breakdown of Black communities education became prevalent.
Also, the disregard for exemplary education for all has caused a need for reform, and instead of addressing issues of broken homes, lack of resources, poverty, and bias, the system is keenly stepping up common core standards while turning a blind eye to the stressors that kids come to school with every day.

Parents realize your influence and use it!

Public schools are a public service paid for by tax dollars. Parents should not feel intimidated but empowered to support teachers who take their job seriously and to be adamant about quality teaching, resources, and service. Many parents seem to be shy about asking questions. Then there are the parents who come angry and aggressive when they have no idea about the inner workings of the school system. Parents should not only be inquisitive but aware of how their children's schools work. From the standardized test to the curriculum. They have a right to know the methods used to teach their children. Teachers should be more open to transparency and partnership with parents to ensure better student outcomes.


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