Update: wanted to add a link to a Pennsylvania teacher's PD day on Common Core. Eye-opening reading and you will now know the CC theme " Kids these days" and that an official sponsor of the standards is Office Depot. Long but detailed and from a teacher's POV (which I think is important to the discussion.)
End of update.
From reader Kristen King's blog, My Daughter, the Guinea Pig:
We’re a very mathy family. We all learned math the way human beings
learn things — that is, by making it a fun part of our everyday
activities. But this year, my daughter is a guinea pig for the new
national experiment that is called the Common Core standards. Her class
is using a new curriculum designed specifically for the Common Core, “My
Math,” and she hates it. I’m hearing her say, “I don’t like math,” and
I’m concerned. She still likes math, really, but only when we mess
around with it as a family. Her homework is procrastination and
resentment and sometimes tears.
The Common Core standards came to us by a fairly strange route. Sixty people wrote them without public input, and only one of them was a teacher. And there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the Common Core, particularly the assessments designed for them.
I’m trying to keep an open mind. As one of my kids’ teachers told me,
they’re simply one more set of standards. I do like one thing about
these new standards: they tell us what our kids are supposed to be
But what exactly are they supposed to be learning? Mathematical
reasoning, the boring way. What makes it boring is the frequent testing
to make sure kids have learned each individual concept, which appears to
mean that each individual concept takes priority over a holistic
understanding. Even worse: there is national pressure to base teachers’
job evaluations on kids’ mastery of these standards.
Also, it looks a lot like math fact fluency is being pushed aside.
I’ve looked at the standards many times, and they do say what kind of
fluency kids are supposed to have, but as one standard among many. And
I’m not seeing it in the curriculum. My kids, and other kids whose
parents I’ve talked to, are not getting the five minutes of math fact
practice per day that they need to learn the facts.
Here are the standards, if you want to know more.
And here are some examples of math lessons that teach to these standards.
The National Education Association (NEA) teamed up with some company or
other to bring together lots of teachers to share the curriculum that
they use in classrooms. So this curriculum is free online for browsing,
which makes it a godsend for parents who want to understand what their
kids are learning in class. I keep looking and looking for math fact
fluency exercises, but I’m not seeing them.
I do realize that there are lots of things I don’t understand about
the standards, the way they’re being implemented in curriculum, and the
way my kids’ teachers are handling them in class.
But I sure am sorry my daughter has to be the guinea pig.