July 23, 2014: This New York Times article answers that question by pointing out that America’s schools stink at teaching math. The article mainly focuses on the differences in math education (and education in general) between the US and Japan. One of the arguments put forth in this article is that US teachers are given very little time to absorb and internalize the ever-changing methods they are meant to teach their students.
Students and parents rightfully dismiss the mish-mash that passes for math education in their classrooms, but this does not mean that reverting to the old-school teaching by rote is our only alternative. There is substance at the heart of some of the fads sweeping through math education. The problem is that most teachers in this country aren’t given the time, resources, or outlets to properly learn how to integrate these methods into a working classroom.