The New York Times writes in an editorial:
One of the most infamous fads took root in the late 1980s, when many schools moved away from traditional mathematics instruction, which required drills and problem solving. The new system, sometimes derided as fuzzy math, allowed children to wander through problems in a random way without ever learning basic multiplication or division. As a result, mastery of high-level math and science was unlikely. The new math curriculum was a mile wide and an inch deep, as the saying goes, touching on dozens of topics each year.
Under the new (old) plan, students will once again move through the basics addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and so on building the skills that are meant to prepare them for algebra by seventh grade. This new approach is being seen as an attempt to emulate countries like Singapore, which ranks at the top internationally in math.