Last week I wrote about part of a presentation given to guests in a Parent Led Reform Oregon hosted Common Core informational meeting.
These meetings tell you the real story of Common Core and how it works. Most parents are relieved to finally see the things they’ve been experiencing with their children’s homework actually talked about openly and explained to them like the adults that they are.
Many district informational meetings talk about college and career readiness, equity between knowledge and resources (aka: money), and a lot of really flowery language that give you no idea of how the Common Core looks on the ground, in the classroom.
Our two PhD’s, Don Crawford and Chana Cox were joined by Joseph Cox and they presented a well thought out, easily understood PowerPoint that showed the differences between “traditional learning” and the new “rainbow and unicorn saving the world from all of its educational ills” Common Core.
I’m sure everyone has heard the stories of children working together in groups of four, collaborating on how to solve problems and then coming to a consensus as to the correct answer. The teacher basically facilitates these math classes and kids teach themselves for the most part.
There are also crazy worksheets sent home that make no sense to some parents:
When it comes down to the bottom line, kids will be assessed on these things they are “learning” in math. Regardless of how nonsensical the actual math they may be working on in class is there’s an entire new assessment coming out called the Smarter Balanced Assessment. You can go and take a sample test here. Here is a screen shot of one such math question:
Dr. Crawford now has us suppose the child is unable to answer this question correctly. Here are some common sense reasons as to why the child may come up with the wrong answer.
Is it because:
- He or she doesn’t know how to read?
- He or she doesn’t know basic math (e.g. calculating the area of a rectangle)?
- He or she doesn’t know how to use the computer (to draw the lines)?
- He or she is confused by the poor wording of the question?
- He or she doesn’t know how to reason?
And now we have the same problem as we did with the reading assessment. The teacher will not know why the child got it wrong, just that they did.
Back at square one with standards that lack content. Vague guidelines in the Common Core like this:
“Developing understanding of addition, subtraction, and strategies for addition and subtraction within 20.”
Rather than actually setting a bar or a specific point at which to aim, they’re all over the place with crazy curriculum.
Instead of learning something as basic as times tables or stacking, they’re coming up with four different ways to draw what 3 x 3 looks like…without words or numbers. Or writing their own story problems.
I would much rather have my child spend 20 minutes in math working on stacking and multiplying then 20 minutes writing out a convoluted story problem to figure out 5 + 1.