In the early sixties it was going to revolutionize American education. By the early seventies it had confounded a generation of schoolchildren. Today it is virtually forgotten. But as we head toward another round of educational reforms, we should recall why it went wrong.
Its founding fathers are dead, its disciples scattered, its millions long spent. Yet countless Americans still carry the revolutionary message of new math in their memories, if not always close to their hearts. Now in their mid-thirties or forties, these “new math kids,” myself among them, were part of a learning crusade that in the 1950s and 1960s marched through schools across the nation. For many of us, new math was a disaster; for others, a godsend. Read more »