By: Ray Leary
A few months ago, the Beaufort County School Board adopted a new math curriculum named Bridges. This curriculum selection was approved by a 7-2 vote of the nine-member board. All five of the incumbent board members that were not up for election in 2022 voted in favor of adopting this course of study.
An example of a Bridges workbook page has been shared with the Beaufort County Conservative Club that was assigned to a fourth-grade student attending John Small School. The examples on this one page utilize the “Double, Double, Doubles” process to solve simple single digit multiplication problems. The photo of the workbook page is below. Please note that the student does not have the book, just this page.
The YouTube video link features a teacher (not a Beaufort County teacher) explaining how this theory works using two sample multiplication problems. In the video she proclaims that this method is simpler than memorizing multiplication tables. I will allow the readers to judge the veracity of this statement. Observations of the few adults that have seen this workbook page have never heard of the Double, Double, Doubles math solving process. And yes, it is a process that requires approximately five minutes to complete for each problem. The first problem is 6 X 8 = ____ in the video.
Parents that are concerned about the quality of the instruction your children are receiving in Beaufort County Schools, especially if they are struggling with math in elementary schools, I suggest you contact the principal of your child’s school and contact the school board member representing your school district to determine the obstacles your child is having trouble with understanding.
Parents and grandparents that received their elementary education in the 1960s and 1970s cannot help their children with this process. This is one example. What else is in this curriculum that is rooted in theory as opposed to just memorizing the multiplication tables?
The North Carolina General Statues requires students memorize the multiplication tables and that they have done so, or not, is reported to the JOINT LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE every year in March. The Beaufort County School administration reports that all students have memorized the multiplication tables. If this is true, the triple D method of solving 9 X 4 = 36 is not necessary, and teaching the triple D problem solving method is a waste of money and a huge waste of teacher talent and time. The link to this report is below.
As can be seen on Page 85, Beaufort County reports compliance with G.S.115C-81.80.
The standard course of study shall include the requirement that students enrolled in public schools memorize multiplication tables to demonstrate competency in efficiently multiplying numbers.
School Improvement plans are mandated for local school districts with school that score a D or lower. Beaufort County has eight (8) of the thirteen schools (13) with a D score for the 21-22 and the 22-23 school years. There has been some improvement in the D scored schools in 22-23, but not enough to earn a C score.
It would be disingenuous to say this one example of Bridges math is why a majority of math students in NC public schools cannot perform basic math skills, but it is one indicator of an educational system that abandoned successful teaching methods and adopted a somewhat rigorous theory-based method of instruction that is not paired with the needs of elementary school students.
Most of us have cellular phones, but I doubt any of us could build one in our garage. We just need to know how to use it, not how and why it functions.
The workbook page referred to above is shown below.
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