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**"Example of Common Core"**

**Many parents think the NEW MATH is too complicated...and too many steps.**

**Here is WHY IT MATTERS!!!**

Here is my resume… Bachelor’s degree in special education.
Taught 5 years 9-12 grade remedial mathematics and geometry. Master’s degree in
special education/autism. 2 years teaching math to 6-12 grade students in
alternative/jail school. 1 year teaching online 8

^{th}grade pre-algebra. Certified in Mathematics grades 5-9 and 6-12.
You do notice, there is no formal mathematics education
curriculum here.

I didn’t plan on teaching math. It landed in my lap, my first
day on the job.

“Can you teach math?” asked the assistant principal. I had
been hired to teach reading, but I am pretty confident. I replied, “I can teach
anything you want me to.”

I found my niche. I love teaching math to struggling
students. I, TOO, STRUGGLED! I understand why they “don’t get it.” I try to
learn new ways to teach it. I teach it in every manner that I have available to
me.

I do very well at it. My students succeed. My students LIKE
math. (Yeah, I couldn’t believe this was happening in my classroom.)

I haven’t been teaching this year, due to our EPIC WORLD
TOUR, but I have been watching, and sometimes participating, in the discussions
online.

When I read about the resistance to Common Core, I am on the
fence.

When I read about the resistance to Common Core, I realize
that my friends and I are…old.

When I read the resistance to Common Core, I realize, most
people have forgotten their own parent’s laments about “new math.”

I guess conspiracy theorist would have us believe that our government
is purposely trying to dumb our children down. Parents who are struggling with
the new concepts, will automatically discount its efficacy. Students, who never
have had the voice they have now, will make broad, sweeping commentaries via
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Here is what I think:

1.
The common core is our country’s reaction to
other countries surpassing our students in education.

a.
What a wonderful thing! Countries that were “2

^{nd}and 3^{rd}–world” a few decades ago are educating their children!!!! This is amazing!
b.
Exactly which children are other countries
educating? The normative tests that are being compared to America include ALL
American children in the education system. We have compulsory education for ALL
students. That means, regardless of learning ability, behavioral ability, and
physical ability, all children in America will be educated AND TESTED. This is
NOT the case in other countries. Many of the countries we are discussing, that
are beating our pants off, are NOT testing all of their children. Children with
“problems” are not in the regular classroom, and children who are not showing
college-preparedness by 14, are often separated to a vocational track.

c.
Our culture emphasized competition in the
workplace and in technology, but should that be the focus of our children’s
education? The country’s economics? I guess for some it is, but I was taught
that the purpose of education was to create citizens who could participate in
the democratic process…?

2.
We HATE anything new

a.
The principle of the common core it to make sure
that every child, in every classroom, is receiving the same level of education,
regardless of the school they attend.

b.
The change to conceptual understandings of
mathematics is abhorred by parents everywhere! Why? Because we don’t understand
the point. Why make an easy question multiple steps? Why learn this, when we
learned the easier way to do things???

c.
Times change, and so does education. Do you want
your children to receive the education you received? That your parents
received? No! Times change, and the needs of the student change. This is a new
millennium, and the kids have to adapt to this to stay current in this setting.

3.
Abstract thinking and mathematics

a.
We were NEVER taught to learn mathematics
conceptually. We were taught how to do math by rote. Procedurally. We were
never taught what this MEANS. How does it apply to higher maths? Do you think,
perhaps, this is why sooooo many people HATE math? We get to a certain level
where it doesn’t make sense anymore… To alleviate this situation, in which
student’s don’t GET math anymore, the school systems have developed this
conceptual mathematics program.

b.
I was taught, as a young education major, all
about developmental psychology. One of the concepts taught was the development
of abstract thinking. Abstract thinking is something that is developed around
the age of 11-12 (http://www.simplypsychology.org/formal-operational.html).
Some people NEVER get to abstract thinking! So why are we starting this type of
thinking in 1

^{st}grade? Kids are going to fail, and we have NOTHING set up for them when they do. We have no vocational tracks. Nothing alternative for the non-college bound kids. Nothing to help them other than an F.
In conclusion, do I think that Common Core is “the devil?”
No. I don’t think it is horrible. Do I think that Common Core is appropriate
for all students? No. Do I want my 9-year-old daughter to participate in Common
Core? Yes!!!

Luckily, my daughter hasn’t had a problem with the new mathematics
program. When I don’t understand what is being demonstrated on her homework, I
ask her to explain it to me… I go from there… I have the world-wide-web in my
pocket!

I clearly remember my father, the civil engineer with three
degrees, struggling to help his four children with Algebra. We all protested,
“That isn’t the way the teacher did it!!!”

I would like to remind my peers of these same experiences
that they had with their own parents. It is happening to you NOW! We are old.
The old ways are not going to work now. We need to spend the time understanding
WHAT is being taught to our students and WHY. If your child is struggling, stay on top of
the school and what they are doing to HELP you!

The schools are not out to ruin your child. They are trying
to prepare them for their future. Please try to understand what is going on,
and contribute to the process.

Change is hard!

I have to say I like the fact that you included the link to the other article, which explains exactly what the process is here. I agree that exploring multiple solutions to the same end result is a good thing- I was initially confused as to how the numbers in the steps were being arrived at, but once explained, it doesn't strike me as an invalid procedure. But I like the fact that you've gone beyond the "See this? COMMON CORE! GRR!" and elaborated on your point.

ReplyDeleteThanks for you comment Chuck! I really appreciate you reading my blog! I, also, think there is a gut reaction to this process that is negative. I hope others spend a little more time analyzing this to see if it as bad as they think.

ReplyDeleteThanks for writing this! I admit that the idea of Georgie learning commin core when he starts school scares me. I just keep thinking that I don't get it so how am I going to help him when he needs it. Thanks for reminding me that our parents didn't get our math and that we do have access to the web! :-)

ReplyDeleteI am sure you will be able to help him Heather! You can do it!!!

ReplyDelete