Selected excerpts from Peg Tyre's post, The Math Revolution
"Parents have enrolled their children in ... programs to supplement or replace what they see as the shallow and often confused math instruction offered by public schools, especially during the late-elementary and middle-school years ... The roots of [weak math skills] can usually be traced back to second or third grade ... In those grades, many education experts lament, instruction—even at the best schools—is provided by poorly trained teachers who are themselves uncomfortable with math. [ed. Is the problem the teachers or the texts?] Children were being taught to solve problems by memorizing rules and then following them like steps in a recipe, without understanding the bigger picture. Learning math earlier is better than later: The subject is relentlessly sequential and hierarchical. Latecomers find themselves missing too much foundational thinking and struggle.
Students are being produced by a new pedagogical ecosystem—almost entirely extracurricular—that has developed online and in the country’s rich coastal cities and tech meccas ... lately, dozens of new math-enrichment camps with names like MathPath, AwesomeMath, MathILy, Idea Math, sparc, Math Zoom, and Epsilon Camp have popped up, opening the gates more widely to kids who have aptitude and enthusiasm for math ... Math Kangaroo, an international contest for first- through 12th-graders came to American shores in 1998 ... advanced-math learners’ Web site the Art of Problem Solving [is popular] ... Freewheeling collaboration across age, gender, and geography is a baseline value. [ed. baseline value?]
Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics provides a three-week residential math camp the summer before eighth grade, enhanced instruction after school, help with applying to math circles, and coaching for math competitions, as well as basic advice on high-school selection and college applications."