Roy Turrentine, an experienced teacher of mathematics in Tennessee, explains why the Common Core standards are misdirecting the teaching of his subject. The creators of the CCSS did a disservice to the standards and to American education by refusing the test the standards in real classrooms with real teachers and real students. By failing to field test the standards, there was no feedback from the world of reality and no opportunity to correct errors. Instead, the standards were sent forth with instructions that they were encased in concrete. Any business that released products that had never been tested in the real world, that had never been subject to make corrections based on experience, would soon be bankrupt. That is why I strongly recommend that every state and every district create committees of its best teachers to review and revise the standards to remove the bugs. Forget the “copyright.” What nonsense! How dare any private organizations assert the right to create national standards and then to exercise a copyright over them! Let them sue.

Roy Turrentine writes:

I would like to relate my experience with Common Core. I am a classroom teacher in Tennessee. I have advocated more rigor in education for over thirty years.

In Geometry,which is my main focus, Common Core seeks to unite the Cartesian approach and the traditional approach to the topics studied. The unfortunate aspect of this approach is twofold.

First, the development of the traditional Euclidian approach to Geometry goes back to Euclid himself. His uniting of these concepts created a body of knowledge that has remained intact for centuries. Common Core essentially rejects topics that may only be approached in a Euclidian fashion. Not that they say this. To read the standards you wouldn’t think so. But all the testing depends on the Cartesian approach.

Due to this approach, and due to the nature of the testing, only topics that may be approached in the Cartesian manner are treated. Teachers will surely be teaching less, not more. This brings us to the second point. High stakes testing will restrict teachers to practicing in a very specific way. In our training in Tennessee,the emphasis is more on technique in the classroom than it is on what is to be taught.

Those of us who teach in high schools across America have long desired rigor. To go to meetings where people seem to feel that this rigor is their idea is nothing short of insulting to those of us who have been trying to unite the disciplines for decades. Every good teacher knows what the ideal is. We have been trying to do this for all of our careers. Having Bill Gates give me his opinion does no one any good. Having his opinion become national policy will not serve anyone.

Roy Turrentine