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Comments about ‘Letters: Common Core hurting’

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Published: Saturday, June 29 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Hamath
Omaha, NE

The problems listed here sound to me more like inept school leadership or some inept teachers, who are making bad choices.

" Implementing a program without providing textbooks or learning materials to students is negligence. " Is almost laughably misleading on her part. The Common Core doesn't in any way, sense, or form say this.

one old man
Ogden, UT

My we ask, Ms. Shepherd, where your expertise on this subject comes from?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Ummmmmmm.... Like literally all the problems she lists aren't related to the common core. They have everything to do with the state curriculum (which the common core doesn't change) and school funding. So perhaps she should write to her local representative rather than the dnews?

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "The Real Maverick" you are wrong. Just look at the common core standards on the government web site. Common core does not teach algebra until the start of High School, which is 9th grade.

Why set back the math standards another year? What benefit is it to take Algebra from 8th grade and push it back to 9th?

To "Hamath" just look at the common core web site. The states that have adopted the standard have been teaching from that standard without textbooks because the books are not ready yet.

MathTeacher
Wichita, KS

To RedShirt: as a math teacher who has been working on implementing the high school math standards for the last two years, I can confidently say that the Common Core does not delay algebra to high school. We will be be needing to use our Algebra 2 books for our 9th grade Algebra 1 classes--Common Core aligned books will not be available for another year at least--and ninety percent of what we have been teaching in Algebra 1 will now be taught in grades 6 to 8.

The labels are understandably confusing for those who have not spend many years actually teaching the content; however, the lack of the word "algebra" in the content standards does not mean that the concepts are not algebra. As an exercise compare the key words in the 8th grade standards with the section headings of a typical Algebra 1 textbook. The very close alignment that you will find will prove my point.

Having written that, I am firmly opposed to the CCSS because the manner in which they are being implemented is an egregious violation of the principles of federalism. Thanks for listening.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "MathTeacher" have you read articles like "A New Kind of Problem: The Common Core Math Standards" in the Atlantic? The author there seems to have read the standards, and is listing mathematical concepts that are delayed under the standard. Can you also explain the whole idea of asking kids how they "feel" about math helps with math? The elementary CC standards for math spend more time asking them to write essays about math than actually doing math.

I know that they try to teach some concepts earlier, but my experience with what my kids are dealing with has proven that you can't teach algebra in 6th grade because they don't have the basic understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

MathTeacher
Wichita, KS

Response to RedShirt's question from July 2:

Yes, of course I'm familiar with Mr. Garelick's simplistic analysis in the Atlantic.
To his credit, there are several accurate statements, such as 1) Critical thinking is
emphasized. 2) Students may struggle as they are asked for the first time to explain
their thinking. 3) Some traditional (and increasingly irrelevant) algorithms are delayed.
4) The mathematical practices (habits of mind) are significant, and as such are very
demanding.

I take fault with the article because the author does not know what every math teacher
knows: teaching an algorithm alone is almost certain to result in students failing to
understand the concepts behind the procedure. This is why algebra teachers need to reteach
almost everything about fractions, even though the procedures were taught several times
before. A few calculations, then, do appear later than they did before. However, the
overall effect is to teach the concepts in greater depth, so they do not need to be
retaught. I recommend looking at "progressions" at a site like commoncoretools.me

The biggest problem is going to be in figuring out how to use standardized tests to
assess/evaluate the mathematical practices.

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