The case of mistaken identity with math isn’t between arithmetic and mathematics, it’s between math educators and professionals who actually use mathematics in the world outside of the K-12 classroom.
In a previously published Local Voice, Dr. Campbell asks, “Do we really want to spend time anymore on learning times-tables and other purely arithmetic procedures? When was the last time those were used in the workplace, especially where time is money?”
Apparently, Dr. Campbell hasn’t observed the inability of young cashiers who can’t calculate change in real time when the computerized cash register becomes useless during a power outage. Or perhaps he’s never waited for a job candidate who showed up because the candidate’s phone calculator couldn’t identify the correct time for setting the alarm.
But inconvenience in the workplace isn’t the worst of what 21st-century thinking has brought America’s developing children. Serious problems include:
Lost opportunity for optimal brain development and logical problem solving. Humans are not born with the ability to solve problems. Brain imaging research on young children indicates that learning arithmetic changes the human brain in a way has a positive effect on solving problems by looking for logical solutions. The human brain needs to be conditioned by the raw sensation of basic computation so that later, children can derive understanding and solve more complex problems.
Poor foundation for higher order mathematics. A lack of fluency in basic math fact recall significantly hinders a child’s subsequent progress with algebra and higher-order math concepts. It’s very difficult to get to graduate-level mathematics if you can’t hack calculus because you couldn’t hack algebra because you couldn’t hack middle-school math because you couldn’t hack arithmetic.
Increased math anxiety and confusion. Just as letters…