What happens when parents can't help their first-graders with their math homework? They get upset, as parents in Virginia have over the latest "new" math, which emphasizes problem-solving and visualization over memorization and drills. Many are pressing the school district to dump its new math textbook series, the Washington Post reports, and 1,000 have signed a petition to “teach math right.”
Critics say its methods are convoluted. “There’s very little substance,” said one engineer. “It’s wishy-washy." The publisher of the disputed series says the system has led to better test scores in 20 states, but that hasn’t pacified worried parents. "Have the parents visited the classrooms?" counters a publisher's exec. “We have a lot of happy customers out there."