The math curriculum is designed by math teachers and academics.  They seem to focus on the need to improve the understanding of some basic math concepts.  There have been a series of revisions of the math curriculum through the years.

In the 60s, following the shock of Russia beating the US to put the first man in space, our math program was reviewed and revised. The New Math was introduced.  Generally, it seems to have included set theory and logic in the math curriculum and to shifted math teaching away from methods of doing arithmetic and more towards building fundamental math understanding.

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This trend towards in math curriculum towards emphasizing fundamental understanding over short-cuts to problem solving has continued. Sometime, when I wasn’t looking in the 80s and 90s, the standard math curriculum revised the way that we teach kids to do long subtraction. Specifically, they changed the technique of how, when working the columns from right to left, you solve the problem of trying to subtract a larger number from a smaller. For example, in subtracting 38 from 54, the problem is of how you subtract 8 ones from 4 ones. In the old days, you were taught to borrow a one so you were subtracting 8 ones from 14 ones.  While this is still the technique, the language has shifted to regrouping a ten to ones (which emphasizes the concept of place value) and instead of paying back by adding a one to the bottom, you now have shifted the original 54 (five tens and four ones) to 4 and 14 (four tens and fourteen ones).

This long intro is a just a way of saying that I’d like to see more fundamental revision of the math curriculum. I’d like to see:

– More meaningful teaching of statistics throughout the curriculum. My rationale is that as consumers of medical and other information, we are constantly trying to shift through statements to see if they are meaningful or misleading.  The basis of this is a facility with statistics which our schools are not today equipping our students with.

Here are some lists to work on your math vocabulary: