A math teacher is defending the Alberta math curriculum against charges that it is too confusing for students.

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition started by Nhung Tran-Davies of Calmar, Alta., which calls for a return to teaching basic math skills in schools around the province.

Dave Martin, who teaches high school math in Red Deer, believes the new methods of teaching math are more conducive to understanding mathematics.

"It unshackles the students and lets them choose the way they go in solving math problems," said Martin. "The focus now is not mastery of memorization, it's mastery of understanding."

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Tran-Davies started her petition because her daughter in Grade 3 is struggling with math and she believes the curriculum needs to be simplified..

She was also prompted by a recent study from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that showed Canadian students slipping behind their peers in other countries when it comes to both math and science.