“I teach high school math. I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it, but is forced by law to buy it.” (Dan Meyer)
This is exactly where textbooks, teachers, classes of math need to head…and governments and districts/divisions need to free teachers up to do so without worrying about a standards test.
John Wiens, former Dean of Education at the University of Manitoba wrote “reaching a definition of education is always a somewhat tentative, somewhat provisional activity which is always open to further adjustment contingent on the context of the world’s prevailing notions of the good and the continuous entry into that conversation of participants there for the first time” (The Grey Faces of Education and Democracy). Our changing definitions of what it means to educate and to be educated are tied to our changing expectations in education, for good or otherwise.
Dan Meyer needs to take this another larger step away from textbook questions and into student life to ask them what’s relevant to explore in their world, and let the math fall into that exploration. Tough to do with clocks and buzzers and class changes and … the list goes on. That list shouldn’t prevent us from starting the exploration, however.