Friday, July 22, 2005

Why urban public schools fail, part ... oh, you number it.

Struggling public-school students [in NYC] are facing a new threat to their education - math teachers are using a summer-school manual riddled with laughable errors...

Take this sample test problem: Students are shown drawings of two clocks. The first is set at 3 o'clock. In the second diagram, the clock reads 3:30. "How much time has elapsed?"

Possible answers are, F: 15 minutes; G: 20 minutes; H: 30 minutes; and J: 25 minutes ... According to the book, the answer is J: 25 minutes.

Before you start probing the intricacies of time-telling on distant planets, get a load of another question: "Which fraction is less than 1/2?"

Possible answers are: F: 7/10; G: 4/10; H: 4/5; and J: 1/4.

The book gives the answer as G: 4/10, which is correct — 4/10 is less than 1/2. But what about J: 1/4? ...

The book, called "Exploring Math: An Intervention & Reinforcement Resource," is a "teacher resource guide," featuring lesson plans and sample tests that are designed to be photocopied and distributed...

The book was published by Teacher Created Materials of Huntington Beach, Calif...

Sharon Coan, editor-in-chief of Teacher Created Materials, told me that math "is a fairly new program" for the 25-year-old company, which specializes in English and social-studies books. While normally the texts go through "proofreading and proofreading," Coan said the error-riddled volume "was kind of rushed."

"Sometimes a wrong version gets sent to the printer — this has happened on occasion."
[NY Post]
Yes, on occasion, like every four months.