To me, the TIME piece is mostly nonsense, non-reporting of a very
deep and serious issue.
The only decent part is the correctly bleak forecast if the back-to-
basics folks are allowed to control math the same way the phonics
phacists got control of reading.
Other than that, the piece takes the usual idiotic "neutral" stance,
as if each side here were equally wild and extreme, as if at least a
sizable proportion of the anti-reform rhetoric were true, and as if
this were a case where neither side has much idea of what it is
doing, despite the research evidence that suggests strongly that back
to basics is a sham and a failed disgrace, regardless of Jim Milgram.
Personally, the Jim Milgrams of this country have nothing important
to say about K12 mathematics teaching and learning. They don't
understand the first thing about education, about kids, about what
really goes on in elementary classrooms regarding math, nor do they
really care. They are incapable of or unwilling to attempt to step
outside their own lofty experience of mathematics in order to see
where the rubber meets the road at every grade level from K to 12.
Their goals are perverted by their own high level of mathematical
achievement to such an extent that it is impossible for them to see
what a child or young adolescent struggles to understand and why. Nor
do they have a clue about how to teach anyone mathematics who is not
cut from the same or very similar cloth as are they. Letting such
people bully teachers and students into a narrow vision of what's
possible and what's necessary in K-12 mathematics classrooms would be
an enormous error, one we cannot allow to continue. I hope that NCSM
and NCTM will speak out with courage against the bizarre twisting of
the truth, including the distortion of the purpose and content of the
Curricular Focal Points, and to force the media to start telling the
truth about the Math Wars. This lame piece of fluff doesn't even
begin to steer towards an exit strategy, though the catchy headline
will no doubt get it read far more widely than it deserves.