Oct 03

# More Common Core math foolishness

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One of the most critical resources in educating our children is classroom instructional time when the student is focused. In math, it is being focused on how to properly execute solving the problem—what solution method to use that solves the problem with a minimal waste of time and how to check the answer to see if it is correct.

Here is an example of third grade common core math where being different, confusing, and frustrating appears to be the primary objective of this homework assignment.

The problem is one of subtraction: 325 – 38 = ??? We were taught to solve this by borrowing and carrying numbers. This process works quickly for all subtraction problems.

In the Common Core solution being taught in the example, it takes six steps, including one not shown in the example, to arrive at an answer. Can you imagine someone trying to actually work a problem this way? Of the five steps, note that the work associated with the necessary sum of numbers at the end is not shown. Even the text book didn’t get it right.

Examine the steps shown. How do you know to add 2 to 38 to get 40? You need to subtract 38 from 40 in your head first, right? How do you know to add 60 to 40 to get 100? Another mental subtraction? Same for going from 100 to 300? How do you know to add 25 to 300 to get the needed 325? Another mental addition or subtraction? Finally, how do you get the answer to the question of 325 – 38 = ??? You need to write down on another piece of paper the column of numbers of 2, 60, 200, 25 and then add these up. At any of these steps, a mistake could be made. How would you find the mistake? A lesson from real life is that the more steps, the more the likelihood of getting a wrong answer. We teach how to double-check your work, something that is easy with the borrow and carry method.

In this lesson plan, four methods of subtraction are apparently being taught, but not the classic borrowing and carrying numbers. Obviously, this is foolish. Yet, this an example of a so-called superior set of educational standards.

Why are we doing this to our children? In a Republican-controlled state, who is gaining politically from opposing the common sense repeal of Common Core and supporting the progressive teachers unions and educational industry selling the “new” Common Core-aligned teaching materials? Who is scared to say anything publicly?