Teach math, not esteem

This article says what I've been saying for years. An "A" in math does NOT mean your child is good in math or even understands the material. Our schools hand out good grades way too easily and it will be quite a shock and surprise to many when they get to college and have to compete with the students who really ARE good and DO understand the concepts. (Please don't place the blame for this on the teachers! They are being forced to teach in such a way so that the students do well on state tests even though the students don't really understand what they are doing.)

Following are the first four paragraphs of Mr Zimmerman's commentary.
The rest of it was mostly about why focusing on self-esteem is not nearly as important and necessary as many people think.

The bolding and italics are mine.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

By Jonathan Zimmerman who teaches history at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education.

So it turns out that American high school students do much worse in math than their peers in Hong Kong and South Korea. But the American kids think they’re doing very well, thank you, while the Hong Kong and Korean students say they still have a long way to go.

What’s up with that? The discrepancy has many causes, to be sure, but at least part of the blame lies with our schools. We tell our kids that they’re wonderful, over and over again, until they actually believe it.

In other words, we lie.

According to a 40-nation study of high-school math skills by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Hong Kong and Korea rank first and third in the world, respectively, while the United States is 28th. But in Hong Kong, 57 percent of kids agree with the statement, “I am just not good at mathematics”; in South Korea, the figure rises to 62 percent; and in the United States, only 36 percent agree. Nearly three-quarters of American kids said they got “good grades” in math, more than any other country. In Hong Kong, by contrast, just a quarter of the students said they received good marks.