What's Your Stance on Common Core?

Updated on March 11, 2016
J.P. asks from North Anson, ME
33 answers

I am just wondering what people's opinions are about Common Core. I have had a lengthy debate on FB about it today, but still curious.
My daughter is in 1st grade and she has been getting excellent grades, the only subject she stumbled on was math, and only when they started common core lessons after they had learned the traditional way for simple addition and subtraction. I have never seen her so frustrated when doing homework, and she gets so upset... she even got to the point of fighting back tears because she "doesn't get it". I have a hard time helping her with homework, and I try my best but adding so many steps in (without ANY directions on her assignments with the steps you are supposed to take) is difficult. How can I explain this to her when I don't understand the method myself? I tried contacting her teacher asking her for any teaching material so I could hopefully learn the methods and word them correctly so my 6 year old could understand, but she has yet to write me back.
I understand what Common Core is trying to do as a nation wide educational movement, but why not set national standards of subjects and topics to be taught, and the curriculum and methods be handled at the local level.
I may be wrong, so I am open for information. Education is really important to me, I just want to make sure that I stand up for my daughter and what is best for her.

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So What Happened?

So apparently there are misconceptions on what Common Core really is, so I will be doing some research myself. I see pros and cons, but overall I feel that if my daughter is going to be taught this way, I want to know how to help her. I guess that's all it really comes down to for me. I am the type of parent that is involved with her studies, and why should I not be? If she needs help with homework I am the first person she immediately goes to, as she should.

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answers from Des Moines on

I think it's fine except for math. My kid does Kumon as a supplement to learn good old fashioned math.
I hate all this newfangled stuff where they have to learn all the whys and wherefores on basic math.... I learned math just fine by memorizing etc. As a matter of fact, I've always been good at it and have even taught it at the college level

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answers from Wichita Falls on

I understand what common core it trying to do. It is trying to force the mental short cuts that people gifted in math do without thinking about it. BUT, not everyone's brain works that way, and forcing it causes most (as you have witnessed) to become confused and frustrated. Frustrated brains do not learn.


I understand what common core it trying to do. It is trying to force the mental short cuts that people gifted in math do without thinking about it. BUT, not everyone's brain works that way, and forcing it causes most (as you have witnessed) to become confused and frustrated. Frustrated brains do not learn.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Let me put it this way, I like the IDEA of common core. I think diving deeper into problems and writing assignments is great. And teaching multiple methods for math can be positive. However, and especially in math, some of the questions are so poorly written, it's hard to know how to solve them. We had a story problem for my 4th grader the other night that 4 out of 5 adults got wrong when I posted the darn thing on Facebook, and the one who got it right just happened to assume correctly when they read the problem and went down the right path. The way they break things up into 10's and regroup is also very confusing to me, but my son seems to be getting that fairly well. When he learns the traditional way after the common core way (they do both), he breezes right through it. I hope they take a closer look at the problems and rework them so they make more sense. I did find his book worksheets online though, so keep that in mind if you get stuck.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Actually, Common Core is exactly what you ask for: it is a set of national standards of subjects and topics to be taught. The curriculum on how to teach to meet those standards is, in fact, entirely up to your local school board.

As for math, what most modern curriculums (not Common Core, but modern curriculums, based on newest educational research) are trying to do is get kids to understand math. Not just learn a formula to manipulate number, but to really understand. For example, in first grade, they might be trying to get her to understand that:

The number 13 is actually a collection of 13 objects.
It is13 individual things (the old ways of teaching taught this).
It is also a set of 10 plus three remainders.
It is also two sets of 5 plus three remainders.
It is also a set of 20, with 7 taken away.

Same for the number 28.

If she really understand that, then, in her head, she should be able to easily add 13+28. Can she? Because if she understands how numbers can be groups, it's easy. 1 ten frame in 13. 2 ten frame in 28. So 30 there. Then add 3+8 for 11 remainders. 41. Could she do it more simply by lining one number up on top of the other? Yes, but that's a formula, not an understanding.

I know it can be hard for parents to figure out the change in approach, but really, if we, as an adults, can't figure out a 1st grade math book, then that shows us how poor the previous way of teaching math was! I'm not trying to be snarky, but I think that many adults have no real understanding of how to manipulate numbers because the curriculum that we were taught was formulaic, but didn't promote much real understanding of math. Which is why we got it ok when we were little (and it was simple), and decided we "hated math" in high school (because we didn't have a strong foundation to build on). I think our kids deserve better than that.

Ok, off soap box.

ETA: On a totally separate topic (as if my post isn't long enough), it is also OK to write on a piece the top of homework "DD didn't understand how to do this." and leave it blank. This lets the teacher know that she needs to review it with the class again.

19 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

This is not Common Core!

Common Core is a set of standards, a list of objectives for 1st graders. It has nothing to do with how the material is explained!

I'm so tired of seeing posts and videos on Facebook about how stupid Common Core is and how ridiculous the lessons are. First, I don't know who is writing these articles or creating these videos, because they are completely fictional. At least the ones I've seen are. No one teaches the way those videos do. They really don't.

That doesn't mean that schools aren't using methods that are, in fact, very different from what most of us learned growing up. Good for them!!! Most students need to actually THINK about math and not just memorize one way of doing things. They need to UNDERSTAND what they are doing. By looking at the same problems in many different ways, students are learning how to problem solve. They are learning to look at any situation from multiple angles. They are learning critical thinking skills. This is huge. This is invaluable. There may, in fact, be an shorter way to get the "answer." But what students are gaining by learning these skills is how to solve problems, how to look at things from multiple angles to learn more, how to not compartmentalize so much and forget that information gained here can be helpful in solving a problem there. Learning is about so much more than just getting the right answer.

I was just helping a (college) student with a word problem. The question had to do with a jug and water in a jug and how much each of them weighed. Her answer: the water weighed - 15 pounds. Since the water and jug weighed 16 pounds, she concluded that the jug weighed 31 pounds. It is difficult to watch college students who can't stop when they get an answer that doesn't make sense. That's because they aren't thinking about it. They make mistakes and don't realize it. They just don't stop and say, "Wait a minute. The water can't weigh -15 pounds. Something's not right. I need to go back and check my work."

This is a huge problem. Math is not about memorizing. Memorize basic math facts (add/subtract/multiply/divide), but understand. If we understand why things work the way they work, memorization is not necessary.

What you are describing is a method to help her understand why math works the way it works. Don't worry about her having trouble one night. That's usually the result of a miscommunication. Either the teacher didn't explain it well, or your daughter missed something. That can be easily fixed. Let her know that the teacher will answer the question, and don't make a big deal about it. If she continues to struggle night after night, that's a different situation and should be addressed with the teacher. But one night is one night. Don't try to help her or make a big deal about it. If you stay calm, she will stay calm and know that it's going to be ok.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

You are complaining about curriculum not Common Core. Common Core is nothing more than a set of internationally recognized standards or benchmarks that students at a particular grade should meet.

Conservatives hate Common Core and have manipulated an ill informed public into thinking it has forcibly changed the way schools are currently teaching math. The new math is simply a vehicle adopted by some schools to help students meets those goals.

It's likely Everyday Math or Singapore Math you and so many others are complaining about. My advice is to keep your opinions away from your child. Learn a little about what these math programs are trying to accomplish and remember that American children need to step it up big time in Math and Science. Just because you didn't learn that way doesn't mean there isn't value in it.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Actually that is what common core is. It is a set of subjects and topics to be taught (down to very great detail). The methods and curriculum for students to master these standards are up to the local district or (in many cases) the state. Common core was NOT set up by the federal government, it was initially put together by the states with input from various players (teachers, social scientists, etc). You can read all the standards online.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE how my son is being taught math to 'align with the standards' (yes there is some ridiculous amount of jargon in the education field). His program (public school) has emphasized numeracy, seeing and working with numbers and understanding what they are and how they work from the very beginning. It is so much more intuitive than the 'traditional' way I learned basic arithmetic. Yes it seems way more cumbersome initially (why not just memorize 7+4=11 instead of seeing that 7+3=10 and then 1 more is 11). But when they get to more advanced calculations (or when they simply need to make change in their heads), they are so far ahead of where most adults are.

The ELA standards emphasize critical reading and thinking. These are skills that have been completely ignored in the past in favor of children doing things like summarizing what they have read. My son (10) can formulate an argument from what he has read and find supporting facts in the text. He can look for weaknesses in what an author has written. He is well on his way to being an educated participant in civil society.

I think the amount of testing states are doing to 'assess' is stupid (yes, stupid is a bad word) and completely unvalidated. If they dumped 100% of the standardized testing I would be thrilled.

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answers from Anchorage on

All common core does is break down the problems to show why the ways we memorized work, it has the kids learn to do it the way most of us do it in our heads anyways. It may not make much difference for those who are good in math, but for those who struggle it can make all the difference in the world seeing the problems broken down and the formulas actually explained out so they know not just that something works, but HOW and WHY it works. It is a good thing, I think most parents are just afraid of it because it is not how we were taught, but when something seems confusing to me I just google it and then I can better explain it to my son. I think those that get all up in arms about it or say it is some kind of "new math" simply don't understand how it works.

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answers from Wausau on

Most people don't understand what Common Core is and is not, which is why you see all the upset and snarky memes, videos, blog posts and whatnot.

Common Core not a method of teaching math (or anything else). It is not a curriculum. It is a set of standards for mastering concepts at certain grade levels. How those concepts are taught are up to the schools/teachers.

The kind of math methods that you may remember from your childhood ALSO complies with common core standards. Your daughter's issue is not because of Common Core, but because of the type of math system/curriculum her school/teacher is using. I hope the teacher gets back to you soon. A lot of modern (past 10 years) curriculums have parent guides.

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answers from New York on

Excuse the language but it SUCKS BIG TIME. that's my opinion and I am sticking to it.

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answers from Washington DC on

the way common core math is being taught in most places is unintelligible to most folks my age (50s).
but that's more about how your local area implements it. common core is actually just what you say you want- national standards, with implementation done at the local level.
i like what CC math (as it's usually done, which i'll quit repeating now) is aiming for, which is a deep bedrock comprehension of the mathematical concepts behind the drills and memorization which made up math for most of us. and that's cool.
the problem is that it tends to broaden and dilute the explanations so badly that instead of getting us to the underlying concepts, it drowns and chokes us in the gazillion different ways there are to get there. it's one thing to tell a kid that the number 133 can be expressed in a lot of different ways and give some examples. it's quite another to try and teach the kid dozens (or hundreds) of ways in which that number can be expressed and encourage them to 'try' them all with points for the 'right' effort when the poor kid would be way happier learning about hundreds, tens and ones columns and then going onto recess.
when i am queen we won't have math classes that are segregated by age, but by learning style. we'll let all the kinetics hang together, the manipulatives in another class, and the purely cerebral somewhere else. with lots of crossover for those who want to explore different methods.
some people love CC, some hate it, but whichever camp you're in we're in for a long time- probably a good decade or so- while public schools try to figure out how to teach it appropriately. sucks for all the kids caught in the experimental phase.

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answers from New York on

My kids were in early elementary when common core started and like you, I was confused on some approaches to math problems. Fortunately, they got straightened out in class. And now I love the varied approaches to math problems. Some of them can seem silly and annoying but I swear it has taught them to manipulate numbers in a way I never learned. And I have an advanced degree in a math related subject. So give it time. I'm not sure what is common core vs new ways but a math teacher I know at one of the best prep schools in the country said everyone who really knows math thinks these new approaches are excellent. And kids learn differently and now they have different ways to approach a problem to get to the same answer. I can see with my kids how one is more traditional and one likes these weird ways I still don't understand. But nice they each have the option I never did. It's possible your daughter's teacher isn't teaching well. But that's a different issue.

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answers from Miami on

I won't go into the advice you've been given on what Common Core is, since that's already been explained. I'll just talk about the way math is taught at the elementary level.

They aren't teaching just rote math anymore. They're trying to teach kids to use their critical thinking skills while learning math. They're trying to help them learn to manipulate numbers and concepts.

Kids learn in different ways. The math concepts circle around, with each circle taking children deeper into the concept. Some kids understand one way of learning better than another. The hope is that all children will understand at least one way to get to it.

I watch 3rd graders doing Sudoku. I don't even understand Sudoku.

I don't think that adults who don't understand the way that math is taught should be dissing something they don't understand. I really don't. (I'm not fussing at you, really, I'm not.) I watched a video that a woman put on youtube making fun of it, acting like the whole idea of teaching math this way is ridiculous. But what I saw was someone who was just showing everyone how ridiculous SHE was because she wasn't interested in taking the time to learn how, or more importantly, WHY.

A teacher who is good at teaching this is really valuable! When I sub, I make copies of the teacher's book pages and take them home and work out the math. I copy over my problems and write myself notes on how it's supposed to be taught. It's HARDER than the rote way. I don't teach it often enough to get a good hang of it. I admire those who do it and engage the kids and help them find that sweet spot of understanding.

So, I'm glad that your SWH says that you want to know how to help her. Just remember that it's great for her to learn different ways of thinking about math, to play with math numbers. Math games, supplemental stuff, will help her learn math the way they are teaching it. Think of it as a fun challenge with her - you two learning the process together!!

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answers from Toledo on

Love, love, love how mynewnickname explained it. Beautiful! Perfect! Fabulous!

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answers from Boston on

Unfortunately, many parents (and apparently some school districts) don't understand what Common Core is. You stated that "why not set national standards of subjects and topics to be taught, and the curriculum and methods be handled at the local level." That's exactly what Common Core is and does. It's a set of standards for each subject and grade level. It says that "in 2nd grade a student should be able to demonstrate proficiency in math by doing X, Y, and Z."

Common Core is NOT a curriculum. Your school district chooses the curriculum for each grade and subject. If they're telling you that their crappy curriculum is due to CC, they're not being 100% honest. It's that they chose a lousy curriculum, perhaps because some educational companies jumped on CC and sold school districts "Common Core" curricula that are already aligned with the standards - these are not required though.

OK onto math - strategies in math have been changing for the past 15 years. My guess is that what you're seeing has little to do with Common Core and more to do with changes that have been made to math curricula as a whole, long before CC was put in place. If the materials you're getting don't include any background information for you, your school is using a lousy curriculum. My school district changed to Everyday Math when my oldest son, a high school senior, was in Kindergarten. Each chapter in their workbook includes a "Family Letter" that explains the learning outcomes, methods, and gives answer keys to the homework. Is it different from what we learned? Sure. Did I always understand the learning goal? Not at first. Is it a bad program or method? Not at all - my kids demonstrate much greater fluidity of thinking and have a much more intuitive grasp of math than I ever did (and I work in finance). There are lots of great math curricula out there and the good ones come with plenty of material for the family at the elementary school level. Search online for the name of the program your child's school uses and see what's available for additional information. Maybe it's available and your child's teacher just doesn't send it home.

Something to keep in mind is that learning happens in the struggle. Schoolwork should be hard at times. Not so hard that a child is always discouraged or can't keep up with grade level requirements, but when she is frustrated and her brain hurts and it's not easy peasy, that's where the real leaps in learning are! Encourage her to keep trying, let her know that struggle is part of making her brain stronger and to have faith in herself that eventually it will make sense.

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answers from Washington DC on

My stance is that Common Core varies widely in implementation. It is one thing to say this is what a child needs to accomplish this year. It is another thing to determine how it is taught. Our state uses Common Core, but I see differences between school districts. People who are really angry seem to also have the districts and teachers who are inflexible or have poor Core implementation. Some of the things people complain about (like 10s frames) I had back in elementary school, so they are not news to me.

Personally, my daughter has had no issues and is advanced in math. My DD is taught different ways to do math, but she's been allowed to "carry the one" just like we did. Whatever works FOR HER learning style to get the answer. If your daughter is crying over homework, stop, meet with the teacher, and get help. If the teacher is not responsive, ask the school if there is a math resource person or other point of contact. There may be a part of the process your DD misunderstood in class. This, IMO, is a classroom/teacher/curriculum problem, not a Common Core problem. You may also be able to find resources for that kind of math problem online. Some teachers have put up YouTube videos. What I do like about how DD is learning is that she grasps that 15 is one "ten" and five "ones". It's not just a one and a five. They try to teach her a better overall understanding of number value vs just single digits.

However, I will also add that there are learning problems where students can be numerically dyslexic (for example) so if you get the guidance and it persists, you may also need to explore other possibilities. I struggled in math in part because I would routinely (still do) transpose numbers. I'd be right...but not for the original order of the problem.

You are right to work with her and be involved in her education. Don't stop. But IMO also don't be afraid to write, "Sally doesn't understand this concept. I sent you an email on 3/4 with further details. Please let me know when I can talk to you about this so we all understand how to do this." Teacher needs to know what Sally can do on her own, but also that you find it unclear and need to know more.

ETA: Even "smart kids" hit a wall. If to that point things have been easy, they don't know HOW to struggle, study or be challenged. My DD hit a wall in early 2nd grade where she was very frustrated with a concept that didn't come easily to her. We had to work at it, and she had to work at working at it. Follow? So that may also be something to discuss with the teacher especially if your DD is bright. Challenge for some kids is a daily thing so they meet it head on. Challenge for others is a surprise and they need to deal with not knowing everything all the time. Being wrong can be huge for a smart kid.

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answers from Rochester on

Oh vey! There is so much that is not understood about the Common Core. I'm not even going to read the other comments you have gotten because it just stresses me out when I see all the misconceptions and all the blame that is misdirected.

The Common Core is a set of standards. It is not a curriculum. As a teacher, with a first grader and a third grader, I can tell you that they are using the exact same curriculum that I taught 8 years ago before the Common Core was adopted. In fact, my 3rd grader is learning some of the math standards the exact same way that I taught them as a 3rd grade teacher 21 years ago!! It is not new.

This is the first math standard for 1st grade math, from the official website for the Common Core. (http://www.corestandards.org/). Note that e.g. means "for example." It does not mean it has to be this way.

Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.1
Solve word problems that call for addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.

No where does it say that the standard has to be taught a certain way. The Common Core standards are exactly what you said you wished they were. They are national standards and every district (or state if you live in a state that doesn't give individual districts the autonomy to choose its own curriculum) chooses how to teach those standards.

Visit the website I mentioned above. It is the official site and will give you the most accurate information about Common Core. Also look at the website for your state's education department. Some states have added additional standards (for example standards related to state history). That website will also let you know if the state requires a certain curriculum to be used. For questions about the curriculum, look at your district's website. Contact their office of curriculum and instruction for more detail. I've never used websites that show how to teach specific math methods so I can't tell you any to go to, but I know other parents who have. There are lots of videos on line that can walk you through the different methods.

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answers from Miami on

Well, I agree with the philosophy behind Common Core. It was not implemented by the federal government as some say - it was actually created by a group of states trying to come up with a common set of standards and had input from educators but also social scientists, hard scientists, universities and employers. We are such a mobile society that we do need to have some commonality when we move!

My son in 4th grade was the first grade to start kindergarten in common core here. A lot of the philosophy is that subjects are taught in a blend rather than a silo - meaning that math is used in science and grammar/writing is used in history, etc. I think that is a good way of learning - much more holistic. Students actually can understand why they need to learn something. I have had trouble with the math once or twice but was always able to figure out how they are teaching it either by looking at his textbooks or googling and finding it online. I think teaching the reason why you get the math answer is much better than just memorization - which is what I was taught.

The only thing I don't like is the amount of testing we are doing. In my county, they do "placement" testing for the first 3-4 weeks of school, in January they did county testing (to see whether the teachers will get merit raises), and then we are doing state-level testing for writing in March and for math and reading in April. I know we need some testing but we could eliminate the placement testing (use the end of year scores from the previous year) and the county testing easily. I think the end of year state-level testing should be done no earlier than May. The fact of the matter is that when you are testing, you are not learning!

Good luck! C.

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answers from Honolulu on

I view it in much the same way as I would if I, as a parent, do not speak English, and no English is spoken in our home (hypothetically). However, (hypothetically), we have moved from, say, Finland, to the US and have enrolled our children in public school. So, if our children come home with an assignment, I, being only able to speak Finnish, cannot give any assistance. I can make sure our home is one in which learning is appreciated, where there is time and space for homework, but that's not the same as helping with homework. It doesn't matter if it's math or history or anything else. The same would apply if I were illiterate, but had determined that my children would learn to read and write, so I make the valiant attempt to send them to school, even though I am unable to read a simple menu in a restaurant.

So, in those cases, it's up to the teacher to teach the child, arrange for extra instruction, and provide whatever the child needs. The Finnish-speaking parent or the illiterate parent would not be expected to provide homework assistance.

You're not the teacher. You're expected to instill in your child certain qualities (cooperation, politeness, obeying school rules) and hopefully you instill others (willingness to learn, helpfulness, kindness, eagerness, etc). But you're not expected to master the curriculum.

What you can do is to insist on a meeting with the teacher - but NOT to get the curriculum or teaching materials. You can tell the teacher that you encourage your child, that you provide a nice place to do homework, that learning is respected in your home, but you cannot and will not go back and take a math course. Ask the teacher direct questions. Don't just tell the teacher that you're frustrated. Ask the teacher "how can you help my little girl do her homework without tears?" "What resources are there for a child who is so frustrated?" "How can you help her master the math requirements so that she is capable in math, and so that she continues to learn?" I would not request learning material or teacher handbooks. That's not your responsibility. What you need to do is communicate with the teacher about how your child is struggling. Of course the teacher appreciates a helpful, involved parent, but being helpful and involved and supportive DOES NOT mean mastering the curriculum. That's the teacher's job. Your job is to communicate effectively, and help your child speak up, to advocate for herself, to ask for help, or to tell the teacher that she does not understand what has been presented.

If the teacher just explains it the same way over and over, or tries to teach you, or scolds or humiliates your child, take your complaints to a higher level. A good teacher doesn't need fancy equipment, or a huge budget (although a better budget and higher pay would certainly be helpful) to get through to a child. A good teacher uses the available resources and figures out how to create a learner who loves learning.

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answers from Sacramento on

Hate it with a passion! It's just someone's way to say they "reformed" education. We will be dealing with something else several years from now, no doubt.

I kid you not, when they taught our daughter several different ways of doing a simple math equation, the one she understood was called the Simple Method -- the regular math parents learned. Why they're teaching kids to do things in a slow way that will get them fired in the real world is beyond me (they clearly didn't consult the business world on any of this). Our son is in middle school and when I get my retired mechanical engineer dad to help him with math, even he has trouble deciphering what Common Core has made complicated.

Don't even get me started on the horrible impact on students with disabilities.

If they really want to reform education, pay teachers better and give them the materials they need to successfully teach. In some schools, even providing heating and/or air conditioning or repaired roofs would be a start.

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answers from Denver on

I'm sure I'm repeating others, but my research has also revealed that CC is just a set of standards, not the curriculum. Parents in my school district were very concerned when it was all coming into focus, and the district had a town hall about it. They said that they refer to Common Core as 'Common Floor.' It's a relatively low bar, so that for higher performing districts, they are making sure that they hit all the benchmarks, but they were already meeting those and so much more. That settled everyone down. There are still plenty of complaints about different curriculum tactics and strategies, but that is a whole different issue.
I can't help but mention also, that conservatives generally don't like CC because it is bigger government which is kind of against their whole thing, so not a surprise there. And in states with poor education performance CC can translate to lower funding which is so counterintuitive. So there's no manipulation there, it's really pretty basic and obvious. Just had to throw in my 2 cents. :-)
Good for you for taking such initiative on behalf of your daughter and being her best advocate!!

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answers from San Francisco on

I HATE common core because, like you, I could not figure out what they're doing and could not be of any help to my GD. You're right - the papers they bring home for homework have nothing by way of examples or written instructions. So, if we couldn't figure it out, we simply wrote on the paper "Don't Know What to Do". Here's how I see it. Students take that test towards the end of the year that measures how the teachers are doing instructing the students. If the teacher wants the children to pass, she needs to step up and either take the time necessary to be sure EVERY child understands or send home some instructions so parents can help their child. If he/she fails to do either one, then her students will do poorly on the math portion of the test and the powers that be will see that she's not effectively teaching. So, if the teacher does not send you anything, then teach your child to add and subtract the old-fashioned way. After all, that's the point - that the child know how to do it. If THEY want it done a special way, it's up to them to teach that way.

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answers from St. Louis on

I am lucky, my kids are old enough we don't have to deal with this. Why don't I like it, because it is illogical and anything illogical has no place in math.

Looking at mynewnickname's example it sounds cool until you apply math and remove English, then it is stupid. Sure 13 is 13 and 10 + 3 = 13 and 5 + 5 + 3 = 13 and 20 - 7 = 13 but that is math and it is nothing new. What is new is wording it in a stupid and confusing manner. If anyone wants to have a go at my math skills, good luck, I understand this nonsense and by actually understanding it I know it is nonsense.

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answers from New York on

I have a son in 3rd grade and this is my take:

1. I was very lucky that my son started Kindergarten after the school had begun implementing Common Core. I think if my kid had been in one of the later grades we would've been very unhappy because the whole implementation process was very flawed. Kids who had been taught one way were suddenly being taught another. Not good. It should have been grandfathered in.

2. I remember 1st grade math was the worst, because it seemed like they were teaching them very roundabout ways of doing simple problems. In our experience, 2nd and 3rd grade math have made much more sense. In some ways, I appreciate what they're trying to do because I had a lot of trouble with math when I was in grade school - they only taught one way to do things and I struggled with the methodology. Now they show various ways to solve problems and lots of shortcuts. I might have done better in math if I'd been shown such different methods. (The big joke is that now my job predominantly involves numbers - how did that happen? But I self-taught myself quite a few shortcuts that Common Core now advocates)

3. That said, my son gets a daily "Write out how you solved this problem" question in his math workbook that drives me utterly insane. A third grader simply doesn't have the vocabulary to write out long-form how he solved most math problems. I am very against feeding answers to my kid but sometimes I have to on this particular question. And sometimes even I can't come up with the words to describe how he arrived at the answer to a particular problem. Sometimes I don't understand what they're even talking about. I get that they want the kids to demonstrate that they really understand how to solve something, but I really think it's beyond their capabilities at 8 or 9 years old. My son reads at a 5th grade level and has a very strong vocabulary - above many of his classmates, but he struggles on this daily. I hate it.

There is definitely room for tweaks and improvements. However, I don't think they should toss the whole system out. So far I've been pretty happy with my son's progress.

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answers from Orlando on

I don't like Common Core and I don't/won't use it to teach my daughter math (we home-school). As long as she gets the correct answer that is all I am concerned about, and I wont reward her just for trying.

A lot of the common core I have seen is teaching them how to break down the problem and not about getting the correct answer.

I agree with Sarah and Robert E that each child will figure out how to break down the math problems in their own way. It shouldn't be forced or used with young children still learning to master basic math.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I don't have school-aged children yet (my older one is 3), but I've been trying to read up on Common Core because I know I will have to deal with it once my daughter enters school. I get that Common Core is trying to set a common standard nationwide, but there has to be another way, especially for math. I've read articles online about how a child was not given points because he answered "3x5=15" rather than "5x3=15." I don't know if the article took something out of context, but assuming that it didn't, getting marked wrong for putting 3x5=15 rather than 5x3=15 is preposterous.

This article explains well why Common Core math doesn't make sense: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker...

It basically says that our brain is not meant to explain and justify every step (especially when doing simple computation) and that it may actually impede our ability to perform more complex math problems.

But who knows, I'm no expert.

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answers from Chicago on

My youngest child is in first grade. He is struggling in math. He is the only one of my children to struggle with first grade math. I know that if it was taught the way my older two learned it, he would not be struggling. When I help him, I literally have to look through the chapter so that I teach him the way he's learning it in school. It's ridiculous! Every parent I've talked to about it, feels the same way. Total rubbish!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Funny...I think they have a good idea, but they should have slowly introduced it with solely 1st grade the first year, 1st and 2nd the second year and so on (or is that a non-common core explanation ?:) instead of having it hit all grade levels at the same time. The homework and wording have room for improvment and causes more confusion for both the teachers and kids. I remember 1st grade being really challenging when helping my child because we learned everything so differently, but hang in there- after 3 years of this stuff I'm just getting used to SOME of it.... ;)

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answers from Los Angeles on

As you said:
"I understand what Common Core is trying to do as a nation wide educational movement, but why not set national standards of subjects and topics to be taught, and the curriculum and methods be handled at the local level. "

Actually, that is exactly what common core is - a set of standards that children are expected to learn by the end of the school year. Each school can choose whatever curriculum they want to achieve those goals. We have friends at several schools within our district and they do not use the same math and/or language arts books that my son uses (3rd grade). The schools, and teachers, can choose what works best for them.

That said, many of the methods used for teaching Common Core math are utterly ridiculous. I understand that the purpose is to teach kids a variety of ways to get the answer, but so much of the curriculum is just a mess. It is confusing to parents because it isn't how we learned, and frustrating to our kids because we can't help them do their homework the "right" way.

Since 1st grade, my son has been taught a math lesson during the day and then had homework related to that lesson each day. He's usually able to complete it easily because he learned the methods just a few hours before.

What I have learned is that, by looking carefully at what he's being asked to do and having him explain it a little bit in his own way, I can help him get through the parts that stump him. A lot of it is simplifying the problems by using factors of 5 and 10. There are various methods to break down the numbers, but ultimately, in first and second grade, that's the gist of it. They say problems are easier to figure out if you break it into 10s.

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answers from Dallas on

i dont get it eather. i tried to figure it out from a few pictures of the problems worked, and i understood one of them, but was lost on the other two. As i have not seen nor heard of any common core math being used or taught at the schools around here, i left it as a possible problem for a later date. i think you should be talking to your school board, and maybe we all should. i cannot understand putting children through that. if it makes its way here i hope someone will have started some sort of tutorial site for parents.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I'm home schooling our girl this year and I can honestly say that K12 has pretty simple easy math for Jr. High. The first semester was working on fractions to decimals, whole numbers, mixed numbers, dividing fractions, and things that I think are appropriate for her age level and knowledge.

The second semester they've worked in Pi, circles such as how to find circumference and area, and they've started doing a bit of factoring, like Ivan had 54 marbles and added some. When he was done he had 85 marbles. How many marbles did Ivan add?

Instead of doing 85-54=31 they had an option of picking the answer that had math on both sides of an equal sign. Simple beginning algebra.

I've been able to help our girl all year, for the most part, with her math. My hubby has helped her some with Fibonacci Squares and the Pi stuff. I never had geometry or algebra.

Overall I've been exceptionally pleased with K12. The history material is astonishing. Yes, we went over the founding of Islam but we spent more time on Hinduism, Buddhism, and Abram/Abraham and his founding of Christianity. She has studied about so many things that make sense of today too. Like Caesar and how he was killed because he started taking on too much power and the poor people were starving and couldn't find work, people were living 3-4 families to a house. They went off to war for Rome and came back to destroyed land and no money to rebuild or buy tools. They lost everything then had no way of earning anything back. SO Caesar was killed. The following leaders in Rome pulled them back and got things going so the poor could learn new skills and find work so they could support their families. How they started taking care of their citizens and those who'd served their country and then this civilization lived in relative peace for hundreds of years.

Seems very pertinent to what's going on in the elections and what everyone is talking about. So I've been very very happy with what K12 is using for their curriculum in Junior High. Earth Science is normal stuff, what's inside the blue ball, how does wind work, why is it warmer at the equator and colder on the poles, etc...

Language Arts is normal too but they do more writing than I ever remember doing. She does learn how to use the internet for research rather than "How to use the card file at the library" stuff. How awful!!!!...lol.

Overall I'm happy with Oklahoma and how the K12 curriculum is working for my girl.

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answers from Springfield on

my son is in kindergarten, so far i have not been satisfied with the common core way of doing things. my hubbys aunt retired and also hated it was glad to retire before it was manditory in her school. "its a buncha bunk" her words not mine.
i am trying to keep an open mind about it since i am propbably glued to the school system for another several years

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answers from San Antonio on

I use YouTube a lot when helping my kids with this new math. There are tons of videos about how to do each type of "strategy" in math.

My fifth grader has kinda gotten the shaft because starting in middle school they want it done "the old fashioned" way and he is still using a lot of other ways to solve things that take much longer and I can't get him to quit.

I talked with my cousin who teaches AP-Physics and AP-Chemistry in high school.. He says it helps the top 10 - 20% of students who are going to be really good at math be even better at math...however it doesn't really help/hurt the other 80-90% who are never going to be scientists or engineers.

I just keep pushing old fashioned way at home now that I know once they get to middle school all that stuff fades away.

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