Author Archives: rmberkman


About rmberkman

This blog is the sole musings of one Robert M. Berkman, an educator who has taught math, science and technology for the past 30 years in New York. You can react to all his posts by emailing him at

Using “Key Words” to Solve Math Problems: Lame x Lame

I work with a student who attends a school for children with special needs. He’s a very nice kid who is very eager to do well in math, even though it presents many challenges to him. His parents decided to … Continue reading

Posted in educational malpractice, key words, Language | Leave a comment

No, you can’t “hate math” (even if you say you do)

I have an online “colleague” who makes no bones about the fact that she hates math. She’s expressed this opinion in numerous message threads on a community board to which we both post. She works in science education, and is … Continue reading

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Why Can’t Our Students Conduct Mathematical Research?

Every Thursday morning for the past 5 years I’ve been meeting with a 4th grade class to work on a variety of “puzzlas” to stretch their mathematical thinking. I pull these puzzles from a variety of sources, which is not … Continue reading

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Dear Amazon: 29 and 40 are not the same….

Everybody loves a story about children and their difficulty with numbers, but who knew it could filter all the way up to the higher echelons of commerce? I’m pointing my finger at you, Amazon! Sure, you can deliver anything the … Continue reading

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What’s So Elementary About Kindergarten Math?

It was back during the latter days of the Clinton Administration when I was hired for my first position as an elementary level math coordinator. This came after teaching middle school mathematics for the previous 15 years as well as earning an M.S. … Continue reading

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Have charter schools become a “meme”?

I had to wait a few weeks to post this, because the whole situation made my blood boil, but now that the dog days of August are upon us, and my ire has had a chance to mutate to annoyance, … Continue reading

Posted in charter schools, racial-urban-class warfare, urban-class warfare | Leave a comment

Do “Americans” really stink at math? Let’s check the numbers.

Last week, journalist and statistical illiterate Elizabeth Green published a highly visible article in the New York Times Magazine that proclaimed that we, the citizens of these United States, “stink” at math. I castigated Green for her misuse of actual … Continue reading

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Why the New York Times Stinks at Math

I love it when my hometown rag, The New York Times, attempts to publish something provocative about the state of mathematics and teaching. Yes, the Times has not aged well, and I often wonder if the editors of the various … Continue reading

Posted in Common Core State Standards, International Assessments, The New York Times | 7 Comments

What Bad Assessment Looks Like, Go Math! Style….

As many of my loyal (and not so loyal) readers know, among the things I’m attempting this year is to help a K – 3 public school in an impoverished area of the Bronx implement an alleged “CCSS aligned” curriculum. … Continue reading

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Just to be clear….

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments