Parents, educators voice their disapproval of the city's new math system

After a year of hearing complaints about the Department of Education's new math system, the NYC Council Education Committee held a public hearing on the issue Wednesday.

The new math system, which was created to combat the high number of failing math scores citywide, is called constructivist math. This new way of teaching math focuses on problem solving, critical thinking and a real understanding of the concept of math through reading passages.

But since its introduction last year, some parents and educators have been critical of the system. They say the new method doesn't teach the basics and that the old way of memorization worked fine.

At the hearing, those for and against the system got a chance to speak out. Members of the City Council Education Committee grilled the Department of Education, demanding proof that the system works. But the Department of Education quickly fired back saying the new method better prepares students for jobs in the 21st century.

While some educators pointed out that they believe the new system is an improvement, others say it is the shortage of teachers that is the problem. Some educators say the shortage, the task of retraining teachers and the quality of their education are factors that prevent students from learning.

For now, until there is evidence that the constructivist math system is not working, the Department of Education plans to keep using it in New York City public schools.

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