Yesterday I read an op/ed by Jonathan Ellis, a political reporter for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, expressing concern about the Common Core State Standards because of the way his daughter was being taught math. Here are a couple of excerpts:
There will be a great battle in the Legislature this session that I’ll be paying careful attention to. It involves the fact that I no longer can perform fourth-grade math.
Earlier this year, my daughter needed help with her math homework. I read the problem. Reread the problem. And reread the problem.
The words were in English, sure enough. But they might as well have been in Swahili.
Welcome to the Common Core State Standards…
Later on he writes…
…Common Core emphasizes critical-thinking skills and problem solving over memorization and other traditional aspects of education. I memorized the multiplication table in grade school, and I’m uneasy that my daughter is not doing the same.
From what I could gather of her homework assignment, she was supposed to solve the problems grouping numbers and drawing pictures. In other words, working on different concepts to solve the problem.
When I suggested that she stack the two numbers and solve the problem that way, I got a blank look. That is not, apparently, how they teach students to solve math problems under Common Core. So much for the simple algorithm.
So, as a parent, it seems reasonable to me to be concerned. Is Common Core just another doomed fad in the education reform movement, or is it the long-promised panacea?