With our backgrounds, we can help parents and teachers make sense of these changes. On this website, we will translate the research, logic and motivations of the current math education reforms into non-technical language and practical examples. While we generally support the direction of current changes, we realize they aren’t perfect, so we also intend to provide a forum for civil and reasonable debate on the best type of math education, whether traditional or reformed.
We believe that modern math, and especially modern math education, is a victim of its own success. It has become separated from its roots—a way of solving word problems. Practically all practical uses of math are nothing but solving word problems, and the real-life word problems just keep getting harder. The rewards of getting these word problems correct are also increasing. A large push in modern math education is to prepare children for this new world in which correctly solving and explaining real-life word problems is the only thing that matters.
Big changes like this are hard and easy to get wrong. They work best when everyone understands the need and does their best to help. As a fifth-grade math teacher and a trained physicist, we represent both ends of the applied math pipeline. We hope we can help all of us (ourselves included) understand what changes need making and make any needed changes easier.
Jason Hart is an elementary school teacher in Riverton, Utah. He earned his degree in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University. He is currently working on attaining a math endorsement and has participated in and taught several school wide and district professional development seminars on math education. At the school he also runs the Student Lighthouse Team and the STEM Club. He enjoys working with his students and seeing them grow and become wonderful people.
James Hart is a physicist cum programmer who lives in Midvale, Utah. He has a Physics B.S. from Brigham Young University and a Physics Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, where he worked on some egg-head complicated project that actually turned out to be useful occasionally. He also worked for a time at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and now works at Lucid Software in South Jordan.