Faulty logic in the new Math Wars skirmish


When I read the recent opinion piece in the New York Times (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/the-faulty-logic-of-the-math-wars/) I wanted to just dismiss it. The straw man was hard at work, with the authors claiming that teachers no longer taught algorithms, and since that would be bad, then reformers should lose the math wars and put math education back in the hands of (a few) mathematicians. Or something like that. I didn't comment much on the article (http://links.mathed.net/2013/06/the-faulty-logic-of-math-wars.html), but thankfully, Keith Devlin breaks it down paragraph-by-paragraph. I may not agree with every one of Devlin's assertions, but I stand behind his main point: To the extent we can generalize what happens in U.S. classrooms, teachers *do* teach algorithms, and the way they're taught now improves upon previous efforts and reflects technology's influence on how we do arithmetic.