Saturday, June 21, 2014

NOT Common Core

You've seen this meme on facebook, probably 5-6 times already. Where did it come from? I don't know. All I know is that it's not accurate, and it drives me nuts every time it makes its rounds again.
The math problem is depicted to be a product of Common Core Standards. While I am certainly NOT a fan of Common Core, the labeling is incorrect in this situation. As a matter of fact, nothing can really be blamed on Common Core, because really all it does is pick and choose the teaching methods and concepts which have already been used in the schools. Supposedly, it raises standards for those schools who are "behind," but shouldn't change much for most schools, as far as what is actually being taught.

The math algorithm shown in this picture is called "Counting Up" Subtraction and is part of the Everyday Mathematics curriculum which has been in development since 1983. This is one of the "new math" problems parents have been complaining about for at least a decade. They have other math algorithms that will shock you as well, and you will scratch your head, wondering what was wrong with the "old way"? Which is really funny, because most responses on facebook are by people who can't figure out what's going on in this algorithm, which tells me it's possible that they never developed a good number sense the "old way" so maybe they should give the "new way" a pass and consider that kids might understand numbers better when they are adults.

But since everyone wants to be against Common Core, they see this problem which they think is associated with Common Core and immediately throw up their hands. It's funny how our brains work. I bet if someone said you could have a million dollars if you can explain the algorithm it would take less then two minutes to do so.

Unless Common Core requires ALL schools to use Everyday Mathematics, this algorithm will not even be seen by your students who do not use this curriculum. I have seen numerous math curricula and none of them have these algorithms which are specific to Everyday Math. My kids did attend a school which used this curriculum, so I saw it first hand and can say overall it is an adequate curriculum. It does not force students to pick any certain algorithm for computations, but it does teach numerous ways of solving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. Now, those of you demanding that everyone be taught the SAME OLD WAY, think about that when you argue against schools because they don't teach to individuals' learning styles.

Now, do I think Common Core has merits? No. I think it's overreaching of the federal government, which wants even more control over our children's minds. Just another reason to have a Stay At Home Child...

Here's a great video by Julie Borowski about Common Core

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