Re: “To make education equitable, policy won’t cut it. Educators need ‘courage to act,’ ” [July 20, Education]:
I’m a retired mathematics teacher. I’m alarmed by proposals to address racial bias in schools by using “inquiry-based learning.”
“Inquiry-based” math, unfortunately, has been standard in this country for 25 years. Students work in groups on projects aiming to discover abstract principles, write in journals describing how they would solve problems and use calculators excessively.
We have evidence locally in high-minority schools that real math teaching, where the teacher actually teaches, works much better. Mercer, Denny and Aki Kurose Middle Schools fared very well on state math tests after being taught this way, confirmed by a 2017 Seattle School District study.
I had great success teaching AP Calculus and Algebra at Ballard High. Why? I broke the rules, teaching real math. I presented the material, asked questions frequently to keep students’ attention and gave difficult tests.
Results won’t improve if we keep doing things that don’t work.
Ted Nutting, Seattle