February 11, 2014 10:59 am
Updated: February 11, 2014 1:28 pm

Alberta math petition gaining momentum

An example of a Grade 3 addition and subtraction lesson showing four different strategies to solve a simple equation.

Supplied, Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies
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CALGARY – A petition urging provincial officials to go back to the basics when teaching math is gaining momentum, and now has over 4,500 signatures.

Alberta mother Nhung Tran-Davies feels schools are teaching math in a convoluted way, and wants the province to speed up plans to reform the curriculum.

She has created an online petition asking Education Minister Jeff Johnson for curriculum changes by the next school term.

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Under the new model of math, which started being implemented in Alberta in 2008, children are discouraged from memorizing times tables and are instead required to learn multiple strategies for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Petitioners want the curriculum to be changed to teach students fundamentals like times tables and vertical addition and subtractions, as well as long division.

The petition currently has over 4,800 signatures.

“The number of signatures from around the province is growing daily,” says Tran-Davies. “It is a deeply troubling reflection of the poor state of the ‘new math’ curriculum.”

Tran-Davies met with Deputy Minister of Education Greg Bass and the Alberta Education math team to discuss her concerns at the end of January.

She says she received a letter from Bass after the meeting, which said Alberta Education would be sending a clarification to parents, teachers and administrators for the 2014/15 school year, but offered no immediate change to the curriculum.

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