Math

When conservatives and liberals fight about school curriculum, the disagreements aren’t just about science and history. Even math has been a battleground in the culture wars. 

Jean Snedegar

Our newsroom recently teamed up with the producers of Inspiring West Virginians for a special episode of Inside Appalachia. The show features Mountain State natives who are leaders in business or a STEM field. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. 

At a time when West Virginia’s GOP legislators are maneuvering to resend the state’s obligation to use Common Core Curricular Standards for reading and math,  Beth Vorhees speaks with Trey Kay, host of WVPB’s Us & Them podcast about his latest program about New Math.  

New Math was a method for teaching math introduced into public schools in the late 1950s and 1960s – a curricular answer to the Cold War fears of American intellectual inadequacy. In the age of Sputnik and increasingly sophisticated technological systems and machines, math class came to be viewed as a crucial component of the education of intelligent, virtuous citizens who would be able to compete on a global scale. New Math ultimately became a political football used in culture war battles over education.

Us & Them: New Math

Sep 8, 2015
Us & Them

Kind of like the controversial Common Core Curriculum Standards for Mathematics today, “New Math” was the raspberry seed in many people’s dentures back in the '60s and '70s. 

On Saturday, a STEM camp for middle school girls will be held at Shepherd University.

Peg + Cat Releases First Album

May 1, 2014
Courtesy of © 2013, Feline Features LLC.

Available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, the album features songs from the math and problem-solving preschool series.

Watch Peg + Cat on WV PBS weekdays at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and weekends at 8 a.m.

Beth Vorhees / W.Va. Public Broadcasting

Students at South Charleston High School are working on their own satellite.  It will be launched into space by NASA on a Soyez rocket sometime next year.  The satellite will gather all kinds of data and beam it back to the school for five years.  This is what it means to talk about STEM – science, technology, engineering and math and the students are pretty excited about it.

Cecelia Mason

The 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress report shows 35 percent of West Virginia's fourth graders scored at or above the proficient level in math.

While that's up from a score of 31 percent in 2011, it's still below the national average. Nationwide, 42 percent of fourth graders are meeting or exceeding proficiency.

At the same time West Virginia’s eight graders show similar improvements and have similar disparities in scores.

John Nash
Jean Snedegar

Editor's note: Nobel-prize winning mathematician John Nash and his wife were killed in a traffic accident May 23, 2015. This profile from 2013 is part of our series, "Inspiring West Virginians."