## Published in The WSJ on November 6, 1997

To The Editor:

In Numbers Racket: New Type Of Math Is Creating Division (WSJ, Nov
5,1997),
June Kronholz passed on the latest damage-control propaganda of the
National
Council of Teachers of Mathematics when she reported "Council members
insist the standards are misunderstood; indeed, the standards don't
mention
constructivism or guess-and-check, and they don't abolish the
multiplication
table".

Rather than the exact term "constructivism", the NCTM standards
regularly remind us that children must "construct their own meaning".
In particular, they must "construct their own number meaning".
As for "guess and check", the exact phrase occurs 3 times, with
20 additional references to "guess and test" and other forms
of "guess". Finally, and most importantly, the NCTM standards
regularly downplay the importance of remembering basic math facts. Kids
are to "construct" multiplication facts when they need them.
Of course the NCTM recommends that every child be equipped with a
calculator,
beginning in kindergarten.

William G. Quirk, Ph.D. (Mathematics)

Guilford, CT