The common core initiative has been brewing for some time now, but is it really about educating children in math or is it about big money? That is the question. It started as an idea that needed funding, and the Bill and Melissa Gates foundation came to the rescue. Being able to solve math equations in multiple ways is the premise, however, with the attached incentive of money, it snowballed through the states without any education given to the teachers.
Having across the board standards for every school makes sense, but a lot of the common core math problems do not. Children and parents alike have hit a stress level previously never reached. Teachers are not equipped to teach it, children don’t understand it and parents are not educated enough to help with homework.
Money got thrown around to multiple entities like political supporters, teacher unions and federal and national education associations, and all of sudden, everyone was on board. Keeping up the momentum by funding of researchers and political influencers, those that used to clash and argue over educational standards were readily accepting money to adopt the common core initiatives. Math is not the only subject affected, as common core also includes English and language classes; however these changes were mostly to the curriculum and not the actual content of the courses.
The changes were so quickly adopted that opposition was mostly nonexistent up until last year, when parents and teachers became quickly frustrated with the massive push to change, before the schools themselves were equipped to effectively implement this complete overhaul of the current mathematics being taught. This is not the first time that someone has dreamed up a way to better improve how Americans were not only taught, but to effectively learn math. Each time it failed to be adopted and implemented. In the 1960’s it was the new math incentive that failed to gain support. The excitement for a new and better way to teach and learn comes with each new wave of optimistic new standards, and then dies a quick death after confusion over said standards.
Without educating the teachers, the new and improved ways of educating children becomes chaotic and ends up confusing the children more than helping them. This is true of common core and many are now questioning the validity of the actual practice, as it seems nonsensical and confusing, and there does not seem to be any help on the horizon.
Nothing sums it up better than Dr. Duke Pest who is a college professor who determined that he needed to reac. She addressed the issue backed by over 1,000 signatures from other parents and teachers in her area, to the Arkansas State Board. She presents the board with a common core math problem designed for fourth graders, and they reach the answer quite quickly, only to be told by Lamoreaux that the way in which they found their answer would be wrong by these new standards. She backs this up by showing this problem being solved the old way takes just two steps, and doing so it would be marked incorrect. Common core standards require a fourth grader to solve the problem with no less than 108 steps, as shown in the video below.
By Kristi Cereska