CRF Blog

Can American students get smart?

by Bill Hayes

In Can American students get smart? for the Los Angeles Times, math professor Solomon Friedberg looks at how to improve American math education.

Singapore faced the same issue 20 years ago, when the vast majority of its elementary school teachers had not even had four years of university instruction. They addressed the situation by creating math textbooks that had two critical features. First, they were bombproof. Even if a teacher didn’t understand the material well, he or she could follow the textbooks and students would learn. Second, the textbooks were so clear that they taught the teachers. Even if teachers didn’t understand the concepts when they began teaching, they would learn them from the book. After a few years, they became self-trained and reached higher levels. We need to help our teachers with these kind of books, borrowing from successful models abroad, and then support teachers with professional development focusing on content so that they are prepared to teach Common Core well. [more]