Interesting discussion at Andrew Gelman’s blog, touched off by Mark Palko’s (justified, in my view) condemnation of synthetic division. I don’t have enough experience of the high school curriculum to have an informed opinion, myself, but this seems a good place to say that I’ve been delighted with the math materials that CJ brings home from kindergarten. They do a lot of histograms; going around surveying other kids (sample topics: how many letters in your name? what is your favorite color of leaf?) and then making a bar graph of the result, sometimes constructing the bar itself as a stack of kids’ names. It’s very concrete; it weaves the math in with other parts of the curriculum; it makes it very apparent how to answer questions like “what color of leaf is most popular?” by inspection of the graph. I’m into it. Use the comment box to tell me what parts of K-12 math should be expunged, what math activities you like for kindergartners, etc.