By Dr. Peg Luksik April 15, 2015
Editors Note: Never ever forget that Common Core is Child Abuse!
Can you add the numbers 17 and 15?
If you are like most adults, you write the number 17, put the number 15 below it, add the ones column to get 12, write the 2 in the ones column, carry the 10, add the tens column to get 30, and write the 3 in the tens column. The answer is 32.
You learned that process in about the second grade.
But according to the PARCC Model Curriculum, our children do not have to be able to do this until Grade 4. At the same time, we are told that Common Core is “more rigorous” than the math that preceded it.
The obvious question is, how can the math be more rigorous if the concepts must be learned up to two years later? What are our kids doing in those extra two years?
Common Core math is not more rigorous, it is just more complicated.
The children are not taught the simplest and most direct way to solve a problem, called the standard algorithm, and then provided with adequate practice opportunities to master that process completely. Instead they are simultaneously presented with a variety of options to solve the problem, many of which require levels of understanding that do not yet exist in their minds, such as the “add from the left” method.
The first result is confusion.
At first, the students don’t know how to do any of the methods being presented to them, so they have no yardstick…
to use to evaluate each method to discover which is the most effective. They don’t receive adequate practice in any one method so they don’t actually reach mastery of it. They are forced to attempt methods which make no sense to minds operating at a concrete operational level. And they can’t turn to their parents for help since their parents were never subjected to this type of math instruction.
The second result is frustration.
Because the standard algorithms in math were designed to provide the most simple and direct method for solving problems, students who learned them succeeded. They were given a task that they could accomplish and adequate practice to master the steps. As a result, they actually did solve the problems, experiencing the positive feedback that comes from success.
But in Common Core classrooms, and in homes struggling to complete Common Core math homework assignments, success is not the norm. Instead, children struggle through the confusing assignments, not really understanding what they are doing, and not ever truly succeeding. When children are consistently placed in this situation, frustration is the inevitable outcome.
In the end, the children call themselves failures. They can’t do the task that has been presented to them, and they can’t conceive of a world in which the grown-ups could be wrong. So if things aren’t going well, the only possible explanation is that they themselves are stupid.
If the goal of Common Core is to destroy, not only the mathematical achievement of our children, but their self-esteem as well, then it is succeeding beyond any expectations. If such destruction was not the goal, then a reasonable person might wonder why anyone would continue to defend a program that is shredding the self-image of America’s little ones.
Dr. Peg Luksik is a teacher with over 35 years of experience in both special and elementary education, and a former advisor to the U.S. Department of Education. She has extensive experience in assessments in a classroom setting and has written and evaluated curriculum, as well as authoring several books on education issues.