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The National Mathematics Advisory Panel says our national math skills stink and we ought to go back to the basics. Well, duh. The panel issued recommendations that suggest that kids ought to actually learn math facts and skills. It’s a bold and edgy report. The Washington Post reports:

The panel identified benchmark skills that students need for a strong math foundation — for example, that students be able to add and subtract whole numbers by the end of third grade. By the time students leave fifth grade, the panel said, they should be able to add and subtract fractions and decimals.

Outrageous, isn’t it?

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The Post article on the report contained this intriguing statement:

It [the report] urged more training and support for teachers and called on researchers to find ways to combat “mathematics anxiety.”

I predict if schools teach math in such a way that thoroughly grounds students in basic facts and skills, there will be far less “math anxiety.” And you know what? It’s fun to solve puzzles and figure stuff out. Mastering a skill is a great feeling. Why on earth would we deny our kids that wonderful experience just because it requires work?

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