Education Letter to the Editor

Agreement on the Sad Results of ‘Parrot Math’

March 13, 2007 1 min read

To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing T.C. O’Brien’s Commentary decrying the teaching of “Parrot Math,” or the rote recall of numerical facts, in the name of high standards (“Mathematics and the Pure in Heart,” Feb. 28, 2007).

As one who has worked for 30 years with college students training to become elementary school teachers, I have seen the sad results of such teaching. Many of my students at the university level still could not think of real-life problems that fit multiplication facts such as six times three equals 18. Our testing mania needs to be redirected from Parrot Math to the true basic concepts Mr. O’Brien recommends.

Diane Resek

Professor Emerita of Mathematics

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in the March 14, 2007 edition of Education Week as Agreement on the Sad Results of ‘Parrot Math’