Unlocking the “Secrets” of Common Core Math?

Photo credit: Cubmundo (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Common Core math makes students and parents beat their head against the wall.
Photo credit: Cubmundo (CC-By-SA 2.0)

I stumbled across this AP article on the CBS News website and have seen a couple of other places.

The headline “Schools unlock secrets of Common Core math for parents.”  Then you have Common Core advocates encouraging parents to “go back to school” to help their students learn.

Let me translate that for you. “The process we are introducing your students to is so inane that we have to have a special workshop to help you, the parent, shepherd your frustrated children through this process that they will never do in real life.”

Parents are not mystified about Common Core math, they are mortified that something so colossally stupid is being foisted on their children.

Parents are confused as to why the standards algorithm for addition and subtraction (stacking) isn’t introduced in the Common Core until 4th grade.

Great math standards, like what Massachusetts had pre-Common Core, introduced this in first and second grade. Singapore which routinely kicks our butt in math introduces it in first grade.

What does Common Core have first graders do?

CCSS.Math.Content.1.NBT.C.4 Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number, and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of 10, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used. Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten.

CCSS.Math.Content.1.OA.C.6 Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13)

This leads to problems like what you see below.


But by all means spend who knows how much money training parents to be able to help their student do math in a way leading nations reject. That makes a lot of sense.

HT: Erin Tuttle for bringing up some great points about the math standards at last weekend’s Caffeinated Thoughts Briefing.

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