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# Using Common Core Principles, Teacher Computes 32 Minus 12 … in Five Steps

In theory, Common Core is a reasonable and non-controversial policy: Sponsored by the National Governors’ Association, it is a set of consistent educations standards intended to be adopted by the states.

However, its implementation somehow involves more than that reasonable goal. It includes new techniques for teaching math, which, at times, are ridiculous and are becoming the butt of jokes.

*The Daily Caller* has posted a video, which may appear to be a spoof but is not. A teacher, using Common Core techniques, uses five steps to compute 32 minus 12.

The video reminds me of the faux dare devil, Super Dave Osborne, who in an instructional safety video advises viewers, “Whenever you stop in traffic, make sure you’re at least a Super Dave safety length behind [the car in front of you]. … It’s basically a car length, but a ‘Super Dave safety length’ is easier to remember.”

[*Editor’s Note: Follow the link to watch the video at the Daily Caller. We didn’t embed here because we thought we’d spare you the nightmare that is an autoplay video in a post)*

If she wanted to get to base numbers why didn’t she just drop the twos? 30-10=20

Right off the bat, I disagree with this premise. I do not, for a second, accept the idea that a country of over 300 million people (the third-most populous country

on the planet) spread out across over 3.5 million square miles (the fourth-largest country by land areaon the planet) can possibly haveoneset of education standards.Even Canada, with a population that is a mere

one-tenththe size of the USA, has no federal ministry of education attempting to set education standards for the entire population.I agree with Misthiocracy—I would oppose the attempt at nationwide standards, even if they were done well. Even without Federal interference in the process, I really dislike that states would overrule the will of the local school boards (which should be responsive to the demands of the parents in their districts) and subject the schools to more centralized control. The more centralized it is, the farther it is from the control of the people. Or for that matter, that

methodsof teaching are being imposed on the teachers, regardless of the level of government doing the imposing.That being said, I agree with you, Tim, about how ridiculous some of the teaching methods are that they mandate. Our younger daughter is in first grade and is seeing a little bit of this already. My wife and I both are physics professors and are aware of the problems even college students have with mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills. I worry that kids now will be pushed into overcomplicated reasoning that will make them terrified of math and obscure the simpler ways of working out an answer.

There is one (and only one) justification for rigid national standards: worker mobility. The theory being that if everywhere in the nation employers can be assured that credentials and scores make candidates distinguishable in a reliable way, then the nation’s workforce is fully fungible and employable everywhere in tasks appropriate to their credentialed capabilities. Worker mobility mandated from above is essential to a command economy.

In contrast the free market provides incentives for personal achievement and knowledge acquisition without mandates.

In earlier days, say four years ago, when the earth was young and the dew still fresh on the Common Core Standards (which some forgetful educrat had left out on the lawn overnight). The theory had seemed like a reasonable proposition only to the extent that they hadn’t been subjected to the withering examination by the public which they have since received.

Here’s a little tip for parents of school age children: The public schools are irredeemably broken. No amount of good will or effort on the part of parents can fix them. Somewhere around the time the child is maybe 4 you’re going to have to choose who is going to control your child’s education: you or the state. Choose carefully because by the time the child has been in the government school system for two or three years you will have sailed so far down the river of denial that you will tolerate almost any fresh assault on your parental rights and sensibilities.

Don’t see a video at that link. Just a story on “friendly” numbers.

Ah! It is there… scroll to the bottom.

All the nonsense Common Core math methods I’ve seen so far have to do with the four basic operations.

Does anyone know what “methods” are being taught in Geometry, Algebra, Calculus, Trig, etc.? Are they watering down the deductive reasoning that is intrinsic to those subjects as well? QED, and all that.

Worker mobility is not the only serious rationale behind the movement. There’s a case for student mobility as well: it’s hard to change schools and curriculum mid-year and for families who move often it can be a serious problem. Yes, that’s a small minority and schools can find other ways to help them, but I’m playing devil’s advocate.

Also, the argument behind Common Core is not that this is the complete curriculum but that it is, as named, the “core” — the foundational knowledge everyone should have, not

allthat they should have. Theoretically, it’s supposed to be customizable, with states adding their own standards as desired.A Common Core advocate would not admit the argument that curriculum in Virginia and Wisconsin should be the same. Rather, they would argue that students in Virginia and Wisconsin should all learn at a minimum this basic “core knowledge.”

My first thought too. The whole process she went through was insanely unnecessary. After this demonstration I’m afraid to see how this curriculum complicates division and multiplication. If there is any subject perfectly suited to rote learning, it is basic arithmetic.

“Common Core is a reasonable and non-controversial policy.” What?! (Excuse me while I get up off the floor.) Common Core is the Obamacare of education. CC doesn’t “include” new ways of teaching. It demands them. CC is touted as “just standards,” so maybe some school districts thought that if they liked their curriculum they could keep their curriculum. Wrong. If the National Governors Assoc likes CC then it must be great—just like how the insurance companies liked Obamacare. The problem is not the “implementation” of CC (you know, just a glitchy website), the problem is

thatit is being implemented, and now parents, students, and teachers are experiencing what it is for the first time. The Obama Administration might have had the “reasonable goal” of providing health care for the uninsured, but Obamacare was the monstrosity they created. Same thing with CC. This little anecdote about “friendly numbers” is the tip of the iceberg. CC may the butt of jokes, but it’s no joke at all.I don’t have the sources where I heard this (sorry) but I understand that proofs have been taken out of Geometry, and a student is considered “college ready” if they’ve completed Algebra II.

As a Conservative:

32-12=20

1. 12-2=10

2. 10+20=30

3. 30+2=32

Cutting 25% off the bureaucracy.

<facepalm> Yikes! Recycled “New Math”, anyone?

Far be it from me to say nice things about Common Core, but:

1.) Throughout high school I had a good enough memory that I could brute force most math problems. When I started calculus my senior year, seeing associative property without prompting was really hard because -despite knowing the theory -I’d never done it before. I was a sophomore or junior in college before I developed this skill -and still have to repeat rules like “you can always multiply by 1 and add 0” to remember to look for those opportunities.

2.) If you want students to practice the skill, you have to grade for the skill. If the purpose of the exercise is using the associative property to group numbers into easier to work with integers -a skill valuable to higher math -you must grade for grouping the numbers, not just getting the right answer to 530-270. Would you consider the question to have been answered if the student had used a calculator rather than borrowed a 10 from the 5?

3.) Which answers Jimmy Carter’s objection: the purpose of the exercise was teach counting backwards -which subtracting 2 doesn’t achieve.

The lady in the video said that her method somehow explained

whyyou get to the answer, but her method made no sense at all with regard to solving the problem and did nothing for thatwhy. Can somebody explain wtf she is talking about?Her words,”..multiples of ten, easier to deal with.”

My words,”then get to a multiple of ten already.”

32-12=20

1. 12+8=20

2. 20+10=30

3. 30+2=32

1.) She said multiples of 5 or 10.

2.) Break this into multiples of 5, that’s exactly what she did. 8=3+5, that was her steps 1 and 2. You’ve just combined them. Everything else is identical.

Wow. My brain so does not work like that. It’s more like this:

1. 30-10=20

2. 2-2=0

3. 20+0=20

Consider -if I just tell you that 32-12=20, you can memorize that, but you’ve hardly understood the concept. If we stack the numbers -put 32 over 20 -and then subtract in parts, you can likewise see that the result is 20, but it is not obvious why 2-2=0 and 3-1=2 somehow combines to be 20. And maybe you’re like me and “the tens place” sounds like “oogabooga” but you can do the algorithm, so no one ever notices.

Classic sketch on the point is Abbot and Costello 7*13.

Doing it this way makes it obvious that we are moving along a number line -from 12 to 15, then from 15 to 20, from 20-30, and finally from 30 to 32.

The Common Core is not simply the standards, scope and sequence that have been discussed and smoothed over. All Common Core lessons are copyrighted and scripted. Lessons must be taught on assigned days, saying the words in the printed lesson plan–no deviation or differentiation for kids who don’t get it. For teachers, Common Core = Common Bore.

Tell me how this lesson will help the teenager I met last week at a fast food restaurant. In making a purchase, the money I gave included a 50 cent piece, a quarter and a nickel; I needed no change. The kid, perhaps 17 years old, had never seen a 50 cent piece, then was utterly befuddled as to how to add up 50+25+5. Perhaps this lesson in first or second grade would have helped him, but I doubt it. Granted, he is not the product of Common Core; he’s the product of University of Chicago Everyday Math. This drivel has been ongoing for years.

OK -but we start small with simple equations where the algorithms work so that students understand the algorithm and see how it works. Once it is understood at the basic level, and so students can understand the algorithm -then they can drop the counting backwards and just use the algorithm.

Although if you had to work this out in your head without benefit of pad and pencil, you’re really telling me you wouldn’t engage in some finding of easy-to use numbers -like adding 75+25 is a hundred, plus 6. The hundred gives me 600+600, so that’s 1200, plus 6 and so on…

And in the far more likely scenario where you actually have to count up seven 13s, or perhaps 7 numbers between 3 and 23 you would not first look for pairs that come to 10?

For years, I didn’t. The thought never occurred to me. Follow the algorithm. Spelling it out like this –which happened in an Animaniacs sketch I saw in college -made everything click for me.

Rest assured that veteran teachers are quite adept at bureaucratic compliance. It’s a minor bother insofar as anyone skilled with educational jargon knows how to throw around the operative buzz words. Then we go about teaching what we want and how we want without reference to statutes. Administrations make up new rules and we make up new ways to satisfy them without actually changing our practice. It’s all quite an exercise in bureaucratic humbug. Common Core is the educational equivalent of Obamacare and it won’t work for many of the same reasons. Show me the word “education” in the U.S. Constitution and I might have more respect for a U.S. Department of Education.

That’s fascinating. I think people conceptualize numbers differently. For me, I’m just the opposite of you. It was always totally obvious what the tens place meant. I tend to visualize numbers in clusters. I hated doing number lines in school because I never thought of numbers as something on a line. Everyone learns differently so I like the idea of teaching our kids different methods. But what I worry about with CommonCore is that they seem to want everyone to mentally process math the same way.

I would not add up seven 13s. I would add up seven 10s and x seven 3s and add 70 and 21 for 91

I always have been math challenged because I am dyslexic. However my Father would arrive at the cost of a grocery cart full of food before the clerk could hit the total key. I often saw him do it. He also would add the box car numbers of a slow to partly slow train at our local crossing. The problem was no one knew if he had the right total. He once tried to explain how he did it. I was completely lost. He had what he called tricks and short cuts. I was about ten. 5+2+3 I think.

Tim,

Damn it Tim what we need is more intellectual diversity. Why are we satisfied with the idea that the wheel should be round. How about a square wheel. What about a hexagonal wheel. Surely we will be helping our young minds expand their horizons by instilling these innovative ideas in them.

You know that goes for Washinton DC too. Why every time the Obama administration has tried to repeal the Law of Gravity those darn Republicans object.

What’s wrong with them?

Regards,

Jim

Yes -nothing I say should be taken as a general defense of Common Core. I don’t trust the process or the system that produced it. I prefer my school systems decentralized -and just because 50 states created the one system doesn’t make it a decentralized system.

But the mockery of this particular lesson strikes me as unfair.

Well I now understand where the numbers that the government have been providing are coming from. Before I thought that the math used to justify Obamacare, unemployment or economic numbers, etc were just government lies. I now understand that it is common core math in action.

My wife won’t do math unless the numbers have dollar signs in front of them. Then she can add 7% sales tax and subtract that total from our remaining checking balance all in her head. But when it comes to the kids homework her answer is always, “Wait till your father gets home.”

So I have been dealing with this stuff first hand. My baby girl is in first grade and when she had to answer a problem like 7 + 8, her worksheet said to do “doubles plus one.” My daughter explained that she had to first do 7 + 7 =14 and then add 1 to get to 15. Is that easier than just saying 7 + 8=15? 7+7 is easier to remember than 7+8?

When helping my son I sometimes ask him to first figure out the answer and then we back into showing the work they way the teacher wants (even though that “work” isn’t what he used to solve the problem). What does that teach him? How to succeed in a bureaucracy.