How to End the Math Wars

We have a new formula for teaching kids. Don't let ideology ruin it this time

American education is every bit as polarized, red and blue, as American politics. On the crimson, conservative end of the spectrum are those who adhere to the back-to-basics credo: Kids, practice those spelling words and times tables, sit still and listen to the teacher; school isn't meant to be fun--hard work builds character. On the opposite, indigo extreme are the currently unfashionable "progressives," who believe that learning should be like breathing--natural and relaxed, that school should take its cues from a child's interests. As in politics, good sense lies toward the center, but the pendulum keeps sweeping sharply from right to left and...

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