I just finished teaching a course (as an emergency substitute) on math education methods for a group of 30 very enthusiastic students in the Special Ed. credentialling program.
One of the requirements was to keep an observation log of math activities at their sites.
On the last night of class, while they did their final exam, I looked over the logs. I read entry after entry of brief descriptions. Lots of games, manipulatives, and reflection on what students can or cannot do easily and naturally.
What I did not see was a lot of lamentation of lack of skills or an over emphasis on skill worksheets and book oriented lessons.
I feel this is a good sign that despite all the pressures, teachers are working extra hard to make sense and have fun.
It was a great way to end the semester.