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You Are.

It’s not the curriculum that is being taught and it’s not the teachers who have to teach it that are the problem, it is the parents who were never taught it who are.

Do not misjudge my point. Or do, I’m not the police. But fighting over common core math is a pointless endeavor maybe.

What is Common Core Math? And why do it be?

Yes, I know I don’t use proper English. Have you even read my posts?

Common Core is a set of standards adopted by states, which governs the way that subject matter is taught in public schools. Common Core Math is just one subset of Common Core, which I will abbreviate to CC for the remainder of this post. CC includes language arts and mathematics subjects taught to K-12 students. It is a set of standards that are the same throughout the United States, throoughout the states who have adopted it, which is important considering education is dictated and governed by individual states.

Honestly, I’m researching as I write this, most of my prior knowledge about education and its practice comes from education I received over a decade ago and never used. So, I mean, don’t quote me. The state of Kentucky, the state I was born and raised in, got my education degree in, and currently live in adopted Common Core Standards in 2010, two years after I graduated from college. Actually, according to my research, Kentucky was the first state to adopt CC, out of all those who did so.

States have always used their own set of standards in education, but CC was created in 2009 and states began to adopt it as their education standards in 2010.

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and I co-chaired the initiative to create the standards because we shared the concerns of lawmakers, teachers, school leaders, businesspeople, and parents that expectations for our students were not high enough to prepare them for life after high school. Although the effort was entirely voluntarily, 45 states ultimately adopted this set of fewer, clearer, and more rigorous standards in English language arts and mathematics. With the input of educators, policymakers and experts, we laid out the knowledge and skills students need to be prepared for college and career opportunities and set practical bars for them to achieve.

Link

Basically, CC was created to improve the learning of and prepare students for growth and life after high school. There was an idea that the standards were not high enough for students to gain the knowledge they needed to succeed in life as adults. So, someone saw a need for it and created a solution. Each state voluntarily chose to adopt CC, as each state was given control over their education systems. These standards were also created to establish a set of standards that could be used across all 50 United States to equalize education throughout the country.

What’s the Problem Though?

The main issue I see with the adoption of CC by states is that the parents of today have not learned the way that their children are currently learning. The kids who started learning with CC are, at the oldest thirteen years old, and babies shouldn’t have babies that need to learn based on CC standards. Meaning that there shouldn’t be a soul who learned that way who has a kid that needs help.

Like I said earlier, I went to college to be a teacher, an elementary school teacher, and I graduated two years before my state adopted CC. I do not recall being taught HOW to teach kids with CC standards.

Why is doing so as hard as it seems? Well, because CC Math isn’t just teaching kids that 2+2=4. It’s teaching kids that to get the answer to that problem, you need to figure out how to add it step by step.

For example:

This is a math problem my child will have to do tomorrow evening, at home, with me. The second image is me trying to figure out where the 30 came from.

The whole idea for this post came from me having to deal with frequent messages to a message group created by the teachers of my child’s grade. One parent was, let’s just say, not thrilled with the complication of the problem. Where, in fact, did the 30 come from? The problem does not explain the existence of the number 30. I assume it’s existence in the problem came from rounding up 27. That would explain one of the threes. Maybe? Yes. I don’t know.

My theory as to why these problems are so complicated is that it can cater to children’s different learning abilities and also contribute to critical thinking skills. How is there another way to figure out how many kids joined the first 27 kids to make a total of 63, besides subtracting 27 from 63 (which is, in fact, 36).

Actually, the problem is already done, they literally just trace out the answers. At least The Kids likes to do that.

In fact, this sheet is part of a four page, back and front, packet that she brought home that has to be done by Friday. I don’t like to rush her or over work her, but she wanted to do ALL FOUR PAGES tonight. The kid likes math, and I’m not mad.

Now, had there been more of an explanation to the problem, perhaps access to an article or video or something that the parent could have observed and understood the problem better, maybe there would have been less issue. But these kids aren’t given textbooks to read to take home, they have their own workbooks that sheets are removed from when they have work to bring home.

There is some controversy with CC. More than one or two states who have adopted the standards have repealed them Wikipedia says that Kentucky adopted them in 2010 but repealed them in 2017. A quick google search reveals that to be false. Republicans wanted to repeal the standards and also make charter schools a thing, which, no. Republican’s said that because the state’s students were not improving on their test scores (do not get me started) that CC needed to go. But based on that article they only started making noise once Obama gave his thumbs up.

The Thing Is

If parents understood CC better, math being the biggest issue from what I can tell, then I think they would have less issue with it. In a way, CC complicates education, and doing so makes it difficult for teachers to teach it and parents to assist their children in learning it. And having nothing to go by but a worksheet with mystery numbers can increase a parent’s frustration. And not being able to help your kid when you need it can lead to that kid struggling, and every suit’s favorite thing–numbers–get affected.

And by numbers I don’t mean math problems. I mean the test scores by which students’, and there for the schools’ progress is measured. And teachers have had to teach to a test and not to a student for years, long before CC, and having funding for those schools depend on the numbers complicates matters further.

I’m going to put all of this simply, using the same explanation I’ve used for a number of things in the past, and will use again in the future. Someone is always going to find a reason to hate something, or stir up a ruckus, no matter what you do. Repeal Common Core, then the things that change will be what everyone else has a problem with,

My Opinion

Common Core is a subject in and of itself and it is complicated. On the one hand, I can see the benefit of having one set of standards throughout all of the United States. I can see the benefit of having math problems that teach multiple ways of finding an answer, and lessons that trigger a child’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills. On the other hand, having something so compilated and hoping the parents, who don’t all have college degrees in education (perhaps the old system failed them?) and no way for them to know how to find the answer the way the problem is asking, puts a burden on the parents, who feel like they are failing their children.

Me? I’m just going to do my best to help my math loving child. She got that from her dad, by the way. I hate math.