I came out in opposition to the Common Core standards in 2013. My opposition was based on the undemocratic process by which they were developed, without field testing and with no mechanism for revision. Later, I learned that Bill Gates paid for everything–the writing, the launch, the promotion, the advocacy campaign–and my concerns deepened. Early childhood educators have complained ad infinitum about the developmental inappropriateness of the early grades, but there is no one empowered to make changes. No one cared much about the standards until the testing started; the unreasonable “rigor” of the tests, set well above the grade level of most students, produce results that “fail” most students, especially students with disabilities and English language learners. The testing ignited the Opt Out movement.

But what about the standards themselves, detached from the testing and detached from teacher evaluation?

Some teachers like them. Could they become voluntary standards with no stakes attached? This teacher thinks so.

She writes:

“I am a full fledged BAT, and activist teacher. However, after leading a study group that analyzed math CCS (and more importantly the Progression Documents that provide further detail) and having taught using those standards last year, I must say that I frankly love them. They require teachers to teach in such a way as for their students to develop a deep conceptual understanding of math While the testing is balderdash, and the imposition of the standards by the feds is also balderdash, the math standards themselves, while not perfect in every way, have provided my school with an avenue to greatly improve math instruction.

“In our group we discussed how the standards were developed and also discussed how to handle areas that to our professional knowledge are ill conceived, but overall they provide a direction that is positive for math in my district. My guess is that other districts and states, if they move beyond the political rhetoric would find the math portion of the CCS over-archingly sound and enlightening.

“Of course all the testing must go, and I have heard horrible things of the reading standards, but there is much to love in the math standards. I hope the baby does not get thrown out with the bathwater and that other schools and districts are able to take the time to study and find the good in the math standards – I believe they provide a more humane and intellectual way to teach math.”

### Like this:

Like Loading...

PPMV (Product Preferences May Vary) —

The real questions are:

1. Who owns the product?

2. Why is it being sold as a “product”?

Thanks for posting this. This is what I hear from most math teachers, and having sat through some common core math lessons, I agree that developing “number sense” and teaching concepts using these techniques does have huge value.

This is why the “Common Core Ate My Baby” comments drive me crazy. Talk about testing, talk about how they were developed, but evaluate the standards as standards. I’m afraid though that people are taking advantage of parents’ not understanding their childrens’ homework to avoid this change.

I like the thoughtfulness of the standards, but dislike the complexity of the test questions. They require adult level reasoning and vocabulary skills. Here is an example from the 3rd grade test (8-9 year olds):

“Cindy is finding the quotient of 27 ÷ 9. She says, ‘The answer is 18 because addition is the opposition of division and 9 + 18 = 27.'”

The test-taker would then have to explain why Cindy’s reasoning is incorrect in the first part of the question, and then explain how she could correct her reasoning and find the quotient in the second part.

A solution would be to go back to traditional learning with the Common Core used to develop and enhance the lessons, as a supplement not the core curriculum.

Reblogged this on David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Texas Education.

This whole scenario would have been different if the “powers that be” had not rammed the process down our throats with a “you must not change a thing” attitude and then topped the whole thing off with punitive, unrealistic testing designed to fail both students and teachers. If teachers had been given a chance to use the “curriculum” (without the assssments) and then tweak it to serve their student populations, it might have worked.

But the goal wasn’t student learning. The goal was to “get rid” of the high cost of public education by replacing staff and/or privatizing school districts one building at a time.

Sigh!

The adoption process for the Common Core Standards and the toxic and misguided connection to teacher performance scores have been dreadful, but I have had the privilege to observe some of the best math teaching ever in many classrooms where lessons have been guided by the NYS Math modules. We MUST separate out the good from the insane and destructive.

Too many people I trust see value in the math standards for me to discount them. But the implementation in terms of speed and lack of quality materials and professional development is pretty bad. When coupled to the examinations and perverse incentives attached to them, it becomes a disaster, and I find it telling that the central figures in CCSS show so little interest in saving them from the policy environment crafted for them. Smart math educators I know worry this will wreck commendable math literacy for years to come.

This teacher’s view makes sense to me, based on what I have read and seen. Nevertheless, every student and every teacher is different. Even if the approach required by Common Core standards is very good, different teachers and different students will benefit from a variety of approaches.

The positive part of the pedagogy of Common Core math seems to resemble that of 1960s-era “new math,” which also sought to teach the underlying concepts, and not just empty rituals. That’s good, but it isn’t the only way to learn. Some students might do better if they learned how to code, while others would learn arithmetic better by doing carpentry, and so on, limited by the creativity of teachers and the freedom of students.

Early in the 20th Century, Frederick Winslow Taylor said that there is “one best way” to do every job. Employers may have liked to believe this. But I doubt that many others would agree that this is true, especially not for teaching.

In Utah, we adopted the “International Core” (whatever that means), so now math is integrated. Algebra, trigonometry, calculus, and geometry are all thrown together with no real rationale or logical flow. It’s incredibly confusing for students and often developmentally inappropriate. The frustrating part is that Fordham had ranked Utah’s old math standards very highly. Utah’s math core is a disaster.

The math curriculum was written by teachers in the district. It has good points and issues. There is no real intervention plan. Assessments don’t always match up with what is taught and look difficult to most children. My team rewrote a whole section of the test for the first term because the children understood the concept but couldn’t make sense of the crisscrossing lines to answer questions. We have noticed his problem on worksheets as well. They are so busy looking with lines here and there that children cannot make sense of it. Parents even look at them and shrug their shoulders in confusion. I am asked to teach composing the number six using red and yellow cops on day one, composing number seven using pattern blocks on day two, composing number eight using unification cubes on day three, composing the number nine using a different process with red and yellow chips on day four and then assess on Day five using traditional looking problems that the children haven’t seen yet. They are supposed to use the manipulatives to figure out the answers. But most are confused for several weeks. When they start to understand how to compose numbers, they given addition with missing addends. They can usually figure out 6 +_____= 9. But they can’t figure out 9= 6+_____. They answer 15. To an adult this looks simple, but to a first grader it is confusing. Especially when they are asked to compose using and rather than +. I love adding to subtract, but my parents hate it. The kids get doubles facts but really struggle with doubles plus one. The parents hate this strategy. And I ask why are we teaching them that 4+5=9. And a few weeks later make them relearn this as a doubles fact plus one or 4+4+1=9. The kids use the traditional route every time. 8+9=17. I teach them to think 8+8+1=17, only to see them start at nine and count on. They are not ready for this strategy. The make 10 strategy often ends the same way. I like the idea of conceptual knowledge but this borders nutty.

I thought they were kind of obtusely worded, but if the content is a good synopsis of math, I guess that is the goal of < a mile wide.

I hear different things from teachers of different levels about the math standards; generally speaking, I read that the high school standards are “lax” or “watered down,” while from especially the K-2 crowd I get a lot of “This is ridiculously developmentally inappropriate!”

For my part, I’m more conversant with the elementary standards, as they’re the ones that have affected my children the most. My younger, the more math-intuitive of my two, has been utterly stymied by a lot of what Common Core has insisted she “understand deeply” before she was ready to do so; had those expectations been put off even one year, she would have done better and perhaps not become math-averse (from which we are still healing over a year later to a great extent) and reading-averse (from which we began to recover when she had not choice but to read silently while the rest of her class underwent PARCC testing, as we Refused the PARCC for our kids). If you’ve not seen a smiley bubbly child present with signs of chronic stress at 8 years of age, to see her dissolve in tears on a daily basis because once again she isn’t ready to understand what was demanded of her (again, this is both math AND reading), it may be hard to see it from the perspective of parents whose children have suffered from it. Now that she’s going into 5th grade, NOW she is ready for what was being fed to her, fire-hose-style, in THIRD. As a parent who is also a teacher who works with young children, I can say that the standards look lovely on paper: they look orderly and sequential and ever-so-neat, but in real life, where the rubber meets the road, they ignore the most basic information we have (and have had for years!) about what and how and when young children best learn….and if we blow the foundational years, we run the risk of everything that comes after being built on a shaky foundation.

Your description of this teacher does not give any specifics as to the level of students this person teaches, but I am going to wager a guess it’s not K-2. (Do correct me if I’m wrong, though.)

Excellent comment particularly about k-2 children. Thank you!

The authors of the CC have NO understanding of young children or how most of them learn. Worse, they don’t seem to care.

Early learning should be EASY not HARD.

Teaching material that is not developmentally appropriate makes a child feel s/he can’t learn.

Why should children feel “stupid” in kindergarten or 1st grade?

The k-2 standards and the CC tests guarantee more child failure in the public schools.

More fuel for those (CC) privatizers.

I agree with Florence. I was also wondering what grade levels this person teaches. It is clear to me that it could not be K-2. The concepts and expectations in the lower grades are certainly developmentally inappropriate. The CC developers confused “rigorous” with “convoluted.” I’m tired of hearing that young children must learn something because they will need it later. Teaching concepts or procedures before a child’s brain development is up to the task does no good. If they “need it later, ” teach it to them when they are ready and the learning will go smoothly. Until then, I will do as I’m told and continue to see the vacant stares of little ones who are not ready.

While many teachers may, in fact, find things to like about the CC math standards, this post perpetuates the myth that all we need to do is raise standards to solve the problems we face in public education. It’s time to change the conversation. Anyone working in public schools knows that education is a complicated affair and that it’s foolhardy to believe that simply asking teachers to raise standards will fix everything.The truth is, there is no one set of standards (just like there’s no one set of teaching methods) that will work everywhere and for all students. Certainly, standards can be helpful, but only when used as guidelines that can be assessed, revised, and reconsidered.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that our top performing public schools have been doing just fine without the CCSS. So, we might ask: Why CCSS and why now?

We may also want to think back to a time when many of us made it through high school without taking a single required high stakes standardized exam to graduate. At one time, teachers were trusted to assess student performance, not corporations.

Finally, there’s actually no compelling evidence that we need the CCSS or that they will improve educational outcomes for students most at-risk for not finishing high school.

Why? Because the CCSS do nothing to address the twin problems of poverty and inequality.

So, yes, lets have national standards, but ones that address standards for housing, living wages, school funding, and community investment.

For more:

https://radicalpragmatism.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/23/

Excellent post!

I Agee totally. Great comment!

Exactly. My high performing district has been reworking math curriculum to conform to the demands of CCSS. The math department has been studying several programs and developing a curriculum that meets what they already know about math instruction. While there is general agreement that the emphasis on understanding concepts is important, and the “rigorous” process they have used to evaluate potential programs has highlighted how well a particular program does that, the mount of time and effort as well as the cost to the district used to comply with these federal (yes, federal) mandates cannot be justified. I frankly find little to commend the ELA standards or the programs purported to support them. The district teachers are far beyond Coleman’s poor attempt at standards. As a former special ed teacher, I find the CCSS totally unforgiving as well as close to useless.

THANK YOU!

They’re not standards if they’re not on wiki. They’re proprietary BS.

Standards, this standards that!

When the base concept is false, when the process to come up with standards is lacking (as in CCSS) then the end result is falsehoods and all else that follows will be false.

Fidelity to truth in thought is a virtue, in other words a human “good”. When our practices are based on, guided by the falsehoods that are educational standards we must indeed end up with practices that are vices-human “wrongs”.

Noel Wilson has proven the errors and falsehoods involved in the “base concept” (epistemological and ontological underpinnings) of standards. His analysis is indisputable.*

The process used to develop the CCSS is sorely lacking by any account. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines** for standards development state:

“An ISO standard is developed by a panel of experts, within a technical committee. Once the need for a standard has been established, these experts meet to discuss and negotiate a draft standard. As soon as a draft has been developed it is shared with ISO’s members who are asked to comment and vote on it. If a consensus is reached the draft becomes an ISO standard, if not it goes back to the technical committee for further edits.”

We know the CCSS have not met those process guidelines.

What remains from/with the CCSS is an unacceptable development process using invalid concepts that are used to mandate educational practices that are better considered to be educational malpractices. And those malpractices cause multiple harms to multiple people with the students bearing the brunt of those insanities.

Is it that hard to understand the above? Or are most simply blinded by their pseudo-pedagogical idiologies (ideologies based on falsehoods)?

The stranglehold of the “standards idiology” must be broken in order for us to break out of this educational nightmare!

I’m not religious but “God help us”.

*See: “Educational Standards and the Problem of Error” found at: http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/577/700

**http://www.iso.org/iso/home/standards_development.htm

The Idea of Common Core Standards is okay.

Letting teachers evaluate the meeting of these standards would be greater.

Using a test that only fits a narrow teaching style is OK in a Brave New World.

The issue with the “Math Teachers” comments is that the ten-second sound byte translates into “Math Teachers like Common Core.”

“The Idea of Common Core Standards is okay.”

NO!, It’s not okay! Ay, ay ay!

It’s a conceptual falsehood that serves only to obscure what the teaching and learning process is about. Start with a falsehood (see my comment above) and one will end with a falsehood. It’s that simple!

Again, I point everyone to understand why educational standards are a falsehood filled with conceptual and procedural errors that render any results completely invalid: “Educational Standards and the Problem of Error” found at: http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/577/700

Brief outline of Wilson’s “Educational Standards and the Problem of Error” and some comments of mine.

1. A description of a quality can only be partially quantified. Quantity is almost always a very small aspect of quality. It is illogical to judge/assess a whole category only by a part of the whole. The assessment is, by definition, lacking in the sense that “assessments are always of multidimensional qualities. To quantify them as unidimensional quantities (numbers or grades) is to perpetuate a fundamental logical error” (per Wilson). The teaching and learning process falls in the logical realm of aesthetics/qualities of human interactions. In attempting to quantify educational standards and standardized testing the descriptive information about said interactions is inadequate, insufficient and inferior to the point of invalidity and unacceptability.

2. A major epistemological mistake is that we attach, with great importance, the “score” of the student, not only onto the student but also, by extension, the teacher, school and district. Any description of a testing event is only a description of an interaction, that of the student and the testing device at a given time and place. The only correct logical thing that we can attempt to do is to describe that interaction (how accurately or not is a whole other story). That description cannot, by logical thought, be “assigned/attached” to the student as it cannot be a description of the student but the interaction. And this error is probably one of the most egregious “errors” that occur with standardized testing (and even the “grading” of students by a teacher).

3. Wilson identifies four “frames of reference” each with distinct assumptions (epistemological basis) about the assessment process from which the “assessor” views the interactions of the teaching and learning process: the Judge (think college professor who “knows” the students capabilities and grades them accordingly), the General Frame-think standardized testing that claims to have a “scientific” basis, the Specific Frame-think of learning by objective like computer based learning, getting a correct answer before moving on to the next screen, and the Responsive Frame-think of an apprenticeship in a trade or a medical residency program where the learner interacts with the “teacher” with constant feedback. Each category has its own sources of error and more error in the process is caused when the assessor confuses and conflates the categories.

4. Wilson elucidates the notion of “error”: “Error is predicated on a notion of perfection; to allocate error is to imply what is without error; to know error it is necessary to determine what is true. And what is true is determined by what we define as true, theoretically by the assumptions of our epistemology, practically by the events and non-events, the discourses and silences, the world of surfaces and their interactions and interpretations; in short, the practices that permeate the field. . . Error is the uncertainty dimension of the statement; error is the band within which chaos reigns, in which anything can happen. Error comprises all of those eventful circumstances which make the assessment statement less than perfectly precise, the measure less than perfectly accurate, the rank order less than perfectly stable, the standard and its measurement less than absolute, and the communication of its truth less than impeccable.”

In other words all the logical errors involved in the process render any conclusions invalid.

5. The test makers/psychometricians, through all sorts of mathematical machinations attempt to “prove” that these tests (based on standards) are valid-errorless or supposedly at least with minimal error [they aren’t]. Wilson turns the concept of validity on its head and focuses on just how invalid the machinations and the test and results are. He is an advocate for the test taker not the test maker. In doing so he identifies thirteen sources of “error”, any one of which renders the test making/giving/disseminating of results invalid. And a basic logical premise is that once something is shown to be invalid it is just that, invalid, and no amount of “fudging” by the psychometricians/test makers can alleviate that invalidity.

6. Having shown the invalidity, and therefore the unreliability, of the whole process Wilson concludes, rightly so, that any result/information gleaned from the process is “vain and illusory”. In other words start with an invalidity, end with an invalidity (except by sheer chance every once in a while, like a blind and anosmic squirrel who finds the occasional acorn, a result may be “true”) or to put in more mundane terms crap in-crap out.

7. And so what does this all mean? I’ll let Wilson have the second to last word: “So what does a test measure in our world? It measures what the person with the power to pay for the test says it measures. And the person who sets the test will name the test what the person who pays for the test wants the test to be named.”

In other words it attempts to measure “’something’ and we can specify some of the ‘errors’ in that ‘something’ but still don’t know [precisely] what the ‘something’ is.” The whole process harms many students as the social rewards for some are not available to others who “don’t make the grade (sic)” Should American public education have the function of sorting and separating students so that some may receive greater benefits than others, especially considering that the sorting and separating devices, educational standards and standardized testing, are so flawed not only in concept but in execution?

My answer is NO!!!!!

One final note with Wilson channeling Foucault and his concept of subjectivization:

“So the mark [grade/test score] becomes part of the story about yourself and with sufficient repetitions becomes true: true because those who know, those in authority, say it is true; true because the society in which you live legitimates this authority; true because your cultural habitus makes it difficult for you to perceive, conceive and integrate those aspects of your experience that contradict the story; true because in acting out your story, which now includes the mark and its meaning, the social truth that created it is confirmed; true because if your mark is high you are consistently rewarded, so that your voice becomes a voice of authority in the power-knowledge discourses that reproduce the structure that helped to produce you; true because if your mark is low your voice becomes muted and confirms your lower position in the social hierarchy; true finally because that success or failure confirms that mark that implicitly predicted the now self-evident consequences. And so the circle is complete.”

In other words students “internalize” what those “marks” (grades/test scores) mean, and since the vast majority of the students have not developed the mental skills to counteract what the “authorities” say, they accept as “natural and normal” that “story/description” of them. Although paradoxical in a sense, the “I’m an “A” student” is almost as harmful as “I’m an ‘F’ student” in hindering students becoming independent, critical and free thinkers. And having independent, critical and free thinkers is a threat to the current socio-economic structure of society.

This upper-level high school math teacher absolutely HATES common core math. For several years now, I have been asking its fans to show me one thing it does that we couldn’t, and didn’t, do before. So far, I’ve got nothing.

The closest thing to a defense for it is “we used to be terrible teachers for no apparent reason and now we can be good — so let’s push this on others because they are terrible too”.

The reason I hate the common core is first its political origins — which would be reason enough. But — the standards themselves are very confusingly written. A good edit can help, but a from-the-ground-up-rewrite would be far better.

The math hasn’t changed, though, at least not in my state.

Same here. Most of the high school level stuff is the same as it was, but there’s some stuff that’s been pulled out of Pre-Calc (like rational functions) and stuffed into lower level math, which in turn means other stuff gets pushed further down. There’s just too much to cover it all well. My main complaint with the math CCSS is that it seems to assume that the purpose of math education is for everyone to become engineers, physicists, and math majors. Which isn’t surprising, given its origins.

On top of that, our local implementation has been horrible. Someone decided that 9th-graders should be working on things like domain and range, function notation, and rational functions instead of getting their basic algebra skills down solid.

I completely agree with the implementation problem. In North Carolina, the state went the integrated route in high school math. Math I, II, and II replaced the Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II sequence. The problem was they put too many different and unrelated topics into each class. In my son’s Math II course, the students cover about 50 major topics. The students only had one day of instruction on rational equations. That is nuts!

Screaming emoticon a la Howard Beale:

GODDAMNIT, I’M MAD AS HELL, I WON’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

WHEN WILL ALL YOU WHO PRETEND TO BE SUPPORTERS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION REALIZE THAT THESE “EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS” ARE COMPLETELY ROTTED RUBBISH AND HAVE NO PLACE WHATSOEVER IN TEACHING AND LEARNING!?!?! GET UP, GET OUT, GO CHALLENGE ALL WHO WISH TO USE INNOCENT CHILDREN IN THEIR GRANDIOSE SCHEMES OF MACABRE CONTROL AND DOMINATION. HAVE YOU NO FORTITUDE, NO GUTS, NO SPINE!?!?! CHICKENSHITS ALL!!!

(All apologies to the original) https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=i%27m+damn+tired+of+this+and+i%27m+not+going+to+take+it+anymore&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002

There ya go! I appreciate the caps. On it Duane….I am so on it over here in Tacoma, WA. Gathering forces, pulling together minds, hearts, understanding….all in the context of our state on fire.

I teach HS mathematics, and in my opinion, our pre-CC state standards were pretty good, coupled with our district curriculum (which we the teachers developed and aligned). When common core came along, it wasn’t all that much different from what we had been doing in Algebra/Geometry/Algebra 2. As far as the elementary level, I’m not as well-versed, and I can only attest to what I see with my own two children. Frankly, the “curriculum” that our district has adopted (Broadie superintendent BTW) is terrible. Fortunately, my kids have had great teachers (I request teachers with at least 10-15 years experience now) who know to sneak in real learning between EngageNY worksheet drivel and ipad “blended learning” time.

Aside from the testing (obviously) and the subversion of democracy (duh), the biggest problem is the rush to implement and the lack of training and teacher input. Deeper conceptual understanding is a good thing. But PLEASE, give the teachers time and the ability to decide how to best implement the standards in their own classrooms.

Everyone should have a look at EngageNY, it is sooooooooooo bad.

Unfortunately, the education bathwater is chock full of babies–locally, on the state level, and nationally.

This middle school math teacher abhors the CCSS math! There is nothing to like. Nothing. The egotists David Coleman and Jason Zimba have completely changed the way geometry is taught. JUST BECAUSE THEY THINK IT IS A GOOD IDEA. No evidence backed up their decision; in fact, no other country in the world teaches geometry this way except the Flemish part of Belgium. That should be enough of a red flag for anyone.

Something wrong with the Flemish part of Belgium? You’ll excuse me if I don’t find that to be a red flag but rather something that piques my interest and curiosity. But maybe I’ve missed something about Belgium, the Flemish, or the notion that if only one group is doing something a certain it must be bad to do it that way.

I see much less a problem with “standards” when they are presented as voluntary. That means you can use them how you wish, if you wish. It would be like a friendly teacher offering their lesson plans for you to review, a “model” that could help you piece together your own curriculum.

But only if that’s how we regard them. It still comes down to how they are presented and utilized. If they are still “heavily encouraged” — if they become a way to discourage teachers from thinking for themselves, from innovating, from drawing up their own plans and assessments, from developing their own knowledge, expertise, philosophies, and perspectives — from viewing students as different from one another — then even voluntary standards can be a problem.

But still less of a problem than precise, mandated standards. Personally, I wouldn’t use the CCSS if offered to me voluntarily, and I would be very happy if it came down to this. A set of standards could be helpful to some teachers and students IF they are approached in the right way (as a possible guide, or a starting point, not as “truth”).

If we unlinked the tests from the standards somehow, it would be a huge step in the right direction. But that’s not on the corporate agenda.

Ultimately, educators, their students, and their community should create their own standards together. That’s real democracy.

Diane, thanks for publishing this letter. I think this is what most STEM majors have been saying for some time. Of all the math standards I have seen, they teach math in an intuitive and understandable way. The concepts are needed for higher level math and often don’t need to be memorized (I never memorized anything when I was going to school. If it didn’t pop out from memory, I just applied the concepts and regenerated the formulas when they weren’t printed in the front of the test like the SAT did).

Many math concepts can be taught very early. Maybe not at the level of understanding that is needed for higher level calculations, but even calculus is pretty simple when you think about it (rate of change or the inverse of breaking up shapes into smaller pieces to figure out the distance, area, volume, etc.).

Now on to the testing. Can anybody on here provide a means by which the achievement of students can be consistently measured? Classroom grades are notoriously unreliable even among teachers in the same school. How can we know that the students in school A are learning the same as students across town or the country in school B. How can we be sure that students who learn slowly (SES issues) are still being taught effectively? How can we be sure that students who can nearly pass the test on day 1 are also receiving effective instruction and that the school is not just coasting on the strengths of those students themselves and their SES?

If we gave any worker the option to have a 99% effective rating regardless of performance, they would take it. Outside of that fantasy, how do you propose to measure progress while separating out the issues that cause faster/slower growth? Or do you really think parents should press the “I believe” button for all teachers everywhere?

You continue to suggest a false dichotomy, with “numerical measurement” on one side and “blind faith” on the other.

“Measuring” teaching and learning is futile, it is worse than a waste of time and resources. The effort to do so should be abandoned. “Assessing” teaching and learning, however, is quite possible. It can be (and has been) done by peer review, community discussion (including students and parents), portfolio review, informal evaluations by principles, parents, and students… all of these methods would give a better picture of what things teachers are teaching and what things students are learning. Much better than what an arbitrary number (or letter) will ever say.

…Think about it?

The approvals of the math standards that I have heard about tend to be free of grade-by-grade specifics or a discussion of the relative emphasis on topics, quantity of standards for each grade, and other details.

Comments rarely mention the fact that these standards, like those in ELA, were set forth on the condition of verbatim treatment, word-for-word, no picking and choosing and, at the state level, no additional standards beyond 15% with those standards segregated from the CCSS. (This requirement was a by-product of thinking that data on the performances of students had to match up with the coding system for the CCSS. Any add-on standards by states or districts would mess-up the national teacher-student data link project and other data-gathering systems in this grand experiment).

All of these stipulations in the CCSS serve as evidence of a deep distrust of teachers by the writers and promoters of the standards. They also reflect a compulsive mind-set about the ownership of the standards–meaning, no teacher should presume to mess around with a perfected document.

The impression I get is this: Teachers who like the standards are expressing an affinity for the “gist” of some or most of the standards (relative to prior emphases and practices) but not the CCSS at the verbatim level. Likely many teachers are unaware of the absolute “fidelity” in implementation called for by those who wrote, promoted, and paid for the standards, specifically Bill Gates.

In other words, there is a lot more conversation about these standards than clear commitment to them….as intended…as a frozen-in-time perfected package deal, one that noone is supposed to question or modify.

Even so, commitment to the CCSS is probably beside the point. I say this because compliance with the CCSS is now considered in teacher observation schedules (Danielson, Marzano), in teacher preparation classes and the accreditation of teacher preparation programs, including the Pearson edTPA test for entry into the profession.

Apart from the sense that the math standards are spurring some good or at least different thinking about teaching mathematics, I believe that could have been accomplished in many ways, without imposing the whole architecture of this scheme on teachers and students. I also think that it is essential to remember that this scheme includes more than standards in math.

The writers of the CCSS also:

(a) set forth 893 ELA standards that specify methods of instruction, while pretending not to deal with methods of instruction;

(b) recommend the use of a cockamamie computer formula for selecting “texts”

(c) require attention to informational texts as the expense of literature

(d) assume that teachers of history/social studies, science and “technical subjects” will teach ELA and math in measurable ways, meeting 38 literacy standards in every grade 6-12.

(e) define a technical subject as ”A course devoted to a practical study, such as engineering, technology, design, business, or other workforce-related subjects; a technical aspect of a wider field of study, such as art or music (CCSS ELA Standards, Appendix A, p. 43).

(e) have a truncated philosophy of education centered on economic competition as an undisputed virtue, with K-12 college and career prep serving that singular purpose.

( f) are determined to divert attention from enduring and international paradigms for excellence in education, among these a balanced program of studies in the arts, sciences and humanities including foreign language(s) along with freedom from the reduction of learning to metrics, especially scores on tests.

When I see Facebook posts from angry parents about how “dumb” common core math is, it is typically attached to an image of a worksheet using Cognitively Guided Instruction. CGI is a well-researched approach to teaching mathematics and both my wife and I used it in our respective math classes (3rd grade for her, college algebra for me). I also hope CGI can survive the inevitable backlash to CC.

I think the main problem with revising math education is that student’s parents where never really taught mathematics in school. They were taught computation, and view anything other than computation as dumb.

Looking at the Standards, just as standards, is all very well and good. I see them being implemented through curricula that are confusing, over-crowded with vocabulary that is never explained (which means that English Learners are losing math points, because of a language deficit), given to instructors who have not been trained to teach them (such as me, I am a sub, and am regularly given CCSS lessons to teach, with no training in the new standards at all), and paced so fast that no matter how good they are, the kids don’t have time to do any real learning. Is it not the Standards that are wrong, then? Something is wrong, anyway.

There are so many dang standards in the Utah CC math that sometimes the teachers have to teach two lessons IN ONE DAY. So much for the “less standards, thinking deeply” crap that we were told this would be.

“Looking at the Standards, just as standards, is all very well and good”

NO!, It’s not all very well and good. Educational standards are epistemological and ontological nightmares full of errors and falsehoods that render any usage completely invalid.

Curriculum objectves, curriculum goals, desired outcomes, etc. . . are preferable terms as those do not connote measurement. Standards as a concept are intimately connected to measurement and the teaching and learning process is not amenable to measurement (in contrast to what most psychometricians may tell you and what most people think). Much of what we currently do in education, especially the deforms are based on the false concept that the teaching and learning process can be measured and that the “standards” automatically make it so. It’s idiology not truthful discourse.

Duane,

I think this is a distinction without a difference. If people refer to “standards as separate from testing”, then they are referring to “curriculum objectives” and not implying measurement.

No, it’s not a distinction without difference. It’s a real semantic problem because it’s not what the people intend it is the meaning of the term itself. And people are using the term itself incorrectly, which just so happens to coincide with their idiology that we can measure the teaching and learning process. Coincidence, I think not!

Hi Duane. I usually agree with you, but not sure if I completely do here. Can you not have a standard, for example, “understands the importance of voting in a Democratic society,” without the need for measurement? You can “assess” this knowledge without having to “measure” it (that is, quantify it). Please let me know if I’m missing something.

To answer your question, yes one can have that curriculum goal or objective with no need for measuring that understanding, no doubt. But the usage of standard is the problem for me.

That “standard” in the past would have been known as a curriculum goal or objective. When and why did the term standard come to substitute for goal or objective? I’m not sure as I haven’t looked into that aspect. I do know that the term standard meaning a goal or objective brings with it an added meaning, that of implied measurement in the way it is used in education. Which is in contrast to the way the term standard is used in music, art, etc. . . meaning an exemplary example. So it doesn’t have that aspect of measuring in its meaning.

The usage of standard in education seems to me to be of fairly recent origin, that is, roughly since A Nation at Risk in 1983 and even then only one of 8 of the commission’s recommendations under the “Standards and Expectations” section deals with “measurable standards”.

If anyone knows of a completed study in regards to the usage of the word “standards” I’d sure like to know.

I believe that the usage of the term standard as a substitute for goal or objective has been deliberate as the term evokes certain emotion laden feelings of “highness” “authority” “exemplary” and “goodness” and who can argue with wanting, desiring, attempting to achieve those things (Wilson addresses these issues in his discussion on the term in his treatise). The implication being that one must be a lowlife, imbecile, ignoramus to be against “standards”.

The problem then is one of word usage and meaning-both connotative and denotative of the word standard and how the confusion surrounding the meaning can serve to buttress those whose idiology* is less than concerned with what happens to the student than perhaps with what happens to their own prestige, power and pocketbook.

*idiology (n) an ideology based on falsehoods or false premises.

The problem I am seeing here is that she is ignoring what is happening ALL OVER the country, and only going off her own experiences. Different districts are implementing things in different ways and with different curriculum. In the district I live in and sent my daughters to until I recently pulled them out, does not do any “deep conceptual learning” They are using scripted lessons, just as they are in NY. We need to look at this as a WHOLE. As a WHOLE, it is hurting education. We already know the goal of education reform is to privatize education. Some of the standards, especially at secondary, may be good. That does NOT mean that they are all good and that the progression throughout the grades is developmentally appropriate!

I have spent a good part of the last year perusing the CCSSM standards, and generally I consider them very good. However there are some horrors buried in there, which I have given attention to in my blog at howardat58.wordpress.com

(and there is more fun stuff there as well)

I don’t know where this person teaches or what level. I will say from personal experience that the elementary math standards threw my child’s school into complete disarray. The ridiculous methods like area models, etc. used for teaching simple math operations to young kids were so convoluted and so mismatched to how children think that it took them months to grasp the methods, and interfered with them being able to actually do the underlying operations. Does this teacher know that often the kids weren’t even allowed to actually do the problems, or to usee alternate methods, in the name of promoting conceptual thinking? Equation writing for 9 yr olds was more important. But guess what, theories and equations taught like that don’t appear to stick with kids and then they don’t know the undetlying operation either. What a lousy joke. After 2 yrs of this, my child’s math teacher last year received classes of kids destabilized in math and decided to teach them plain old math, standard algorithims, if that’s the term, in an effort to catch them up. Heres a thpught, if you want to work with math concepts with kids, try manipulatives to illustrate. Also, we found the ccss required pacing was so fast and so much had to be covered, kids never had a chance to get comfortable before moving on, and they lost social studies for most of the year bc math took up that time. Following the standards and curriculum as put into practice and backed up by printed workbooks and materials has been a disaster for us. Just thinking back on last year makes steam come out of my ears and I can’t stand what might happen to my kids next. No disrespect meant to this teacher, but I haven’t seen anything positive about the math yet. Theories with grown ups are one thing. Math with kids is another.

Christine, do you think it may be because your teachers did not deeply understand math? Why teach “algorithms” when kids can’t conceptualize those?

Folks are critical of “rote learning”. What do you think learning an “algorithm” or “formula” is? Multiplication is simply the area of a rectangle. Addition is simply putting together two line segments. Division is simply taking an area and making a rectangle with length x. Subtraction is simply the removal of one line segment from another. Kids can remember, and more importantly understand, those concepts much better than the algorithms.

You say that teachers did not have the “training” to teach these methods. If they were STEM majors, they would have. The problem is that we have education majors teaching math. Many of our teachers entered education because they “hated math” to begin with. And we wonder why our kids start to have problems in grades 4-8?

You could hire STEM majors and have them teach math with the current teachers focusing on reading/social studies. Or you could hire all STEM majors since they generally have verbal skills as high as/higher than education majors. Or you can try to train your current teachers (many who “hate math”) how to teach math conceptually. I’ll give you one hint as to which methods are likely to work.

Unless the STE major takes abstract algebra, analysis, and more “pure” math (Math majors do), the STE curriculums in college are very computational and do not go into the underpinnings of mathematics. It is rare to see an engineering class deeply prove a Fourier Transformation or lambda calculus rather than explain how to apply it. There just isn’t enough time. Also, I have encountered many math education majors (our state requires these theoretical math classes for 7-12) who have a much deeper understanding of math than an engineer. I’m not talking about using math, I’m talking about being able to TEACH math. That is pedagogy.

Again, your lack of K-12 classroom experience hurts your arguments and credibility. I do not say that to be mean. I’ve been through tech, engineering, AND education. STEM majors do not automatically make great teachers. Just like education majors do not automatically make great electrical engineers. It can happen in either case, but there is more to just taking a STEM degree and hopping into a classroom. You need to actually meet a saavy, battle-tested classroom veteran teacher to know what I mean. They make it look easy. Try it, seek one out – you may surprise yourself and gain some respect for teachers.

MathVale, yes Fourier is your friend as I always liked to say (folks know I don’t like to go into my educational background but I got my fair share of LaPlace and Fourier in signal processing/information theory classes – DCTs). But guess what, Fourier transforms are not taught in high school so I fail to see your point. You’ve got to be kidding me that education majors understand math better than STEM majors. Have you seen this chart?I agree that aptitude or STEM educations do not necessarily make a person a great teacher. We can’t really know until they get into the classroom with a few years experience. However, elementary teachers often become teachers because they “hate math”. Those are the teachers that are teaching our kids math for the first 6 years of school. The middle school teachers likely haven’t had advanced math. For the first 9 years of school, these teachers have no idea how math is used in the more advanced classes. So when they see CC standards and the new conceptual methods to teach them, they complain about not being able to use the “old algorithms”. These are the

same teachers who complain about tests measuring rote memorization! Come on, teachers must apply critical thinking skills to generate a coherent argument. My neck is getting sore trying to watch how often these teachers contradict themselves.Even in high school, many teachers are just not adept in the STEM subjects. Don’t get me wrong. We have a lot of great teachers. I’m not saying that 1/2 are ineffective. But if either one of us sat through a dozen high school math classes, you can’t tell me we wouldn’t cringe in probably half the classrooms at the way math is being taught to the kids. Just imagine what the elementary school teachers are doing. Did you not correct many of your teachers while you were in K-12? While I had many good teachers, I found it was a common occurrence to realize many of my teachers just didn’t have a deep understanding of the math they were teaching. It has only gotten worse since women now have much greater access to other occupational fields.

Virginia, when you went to school, did you go to Exeter or Sidwell Friends? Where were you prepared? Obviously, all of your teachers had high VAM scores.

Diane, I don’t like to speak in anecdotes. I went to public school in South Carolina (out motto was “thank God for Mississippi”). But I even though I enjoyed pointing out mistakes my teachers made (obviously too much), I thought many of them were quite skilled. They were clearly women who might choose other occupations today.

But I had a variety of teachers. The social studies and science teachers were less effective (save for the AP/Honors teachers) than the math/reading teachers. I pretty much saw the whole gamut from teachers who literally added nothing to high-VAM teachers. But let me just say I felt quite prepared to compete against those prep school students after high school.

I’m pretty sure good teachers recognize what I am saying. They know there are less effective teachers in their schools but they are afraid to speak out. All teachers are apprehensive about being objectively measured. And many misunderstand how VAMs remove SES from their growth scores. But the ones who stand to gain the most are the effective teachers. They should be receiving higher pay right now and the public would support it if effectiveness could be demonstrated. Furthermore, the effective teachers pay the price for the ineffectiveness of others. They must “catch kids up” when they had an earlier poor teacher.

It doesn’t really matter if they are STEM majors or not. Just because you have one doesn’t mean you are capable of teaching in the classroom. You still need a certificate and pass the exams. Cracking the STEM textbooks and sitting in the lab 24/7 does NOT make you a full-fledged teacher in the classroom. Besides, many of those go to private firms for research/business–NOT public or private schools.

I sort of agree with you here, Virginia. You seem to presume that elementary teachers do not have a deep understanding, or enough training in conceptual math methods. Clearly this is not true in all cases. However, I do agree that most elementary teachers are ed majors, and not necessarily math majors. I can’t tell you how many well-educated people, even colleagues of mine in other departments (I teach HS math) have proudly told me that they are “terrible at math” or “I always hated math.”. Unfortunately this attitude is okay in our society. I can’t imagine ever telling someone that “oh, I’m just not a reading person. Tee hee.” It is perfectly acceptable in our society to be mathematically challenged, and if you happen to be an elementary school teacher, it has been possible to teach the basic algorithms without possessing a deeper understanding, or appreciating the beautiful connections between concepts that a math major might have. Not an engineer, mind you, but someone who has studied and enjoyed pure mathematics.

However, any teacher who understands how children learn, and who is open to appreciate the amazing mathematical connections that children can make, and who is willing to learn the appropriate methods can become a great teacher of mathematics whether they started out as “math people” or not.

The problems you speak of have to do with time and pacing, not the actual curriculum.

We are a math innumerate nation. Teaching children the short cuts, traditional algorithms, instead of teaching the concepts and helping them to discover the structure of our number system, might be expedient, but is not what leads to a deeper knowledge of numbers and how the numbers game is played. We have been teaching the short cuts in math for a very long time. The result? Too many people have no real conceptual idea of numbers and how they can be used to distort economic realities.

I agree. Math teaches a WAY of thinking, not just WHAT to think. If that disciplined, reasoned, axiomatic, proof-based system of thought can be taught with bananas and zebras for a particular student, that is how we should do it. Not everyone needs to tackle conic sections to understand why math is important. Common Core is too hung up on what and when to teach math. Too rigid.

My master teacher made a list of single words that represented what Indiana teachers were supposed to teach at the grade level he taught. As something was taught within his lessons, he checked off the item. That was in 1965. I do not think his list has changed that much.

On the other hand, the K-2 list appears to have been made by someone who, if he/she knows any children, knows only early developers. Unfortunately, many of these develop relatively little later. So what is the point?

My money is with Dr. Milgram the #1 standard writing expert in America before I would listen to a progressive member of BAT who has no standard writing qualifications. Sorry but Dr. Milgram has research to prove you are VERY wrong. And the damage done to our young children will be irreversible.

Karen,

Do you have a link to that which you refer?

TIA,

Duane

Milgram says CCSS in Math aren’t challenging enough. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/09/01/common-core-blockbuster-mathematician-dr-jim-milgram-warns-common-core-will-destroy-america-s-standing-in-technology/

Thanks!

R. James Milgram is a world class algebraist. Period. He has absolutely no special qualifications as a “standard writing expert” unless being a bit of a lunatic Right Winger counts in that regard. I suggest you read this blog piece or at least the interview with Milgram to which it links and ask yourself what planet this guy has been on lately: http://rationalmathed.blogspot.com/2010/03/you-just-cant-make-this-stuff-up-or-can_25.html

Of course, you can just echo the Mathematically Correct/NYC-HOLD Math Wars mantras about Milgram and the evils of progressive math education. Milgram has done ZERO research in education and claiming otherwise is an indication of either laziness or dishonest zealotry.

And the idiocy of the Math Wars grinds on and on.

What level math does she teach?

My understanding is that one good thing about CCSS is that is combines algebra and geometry, and that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation who was, up until CCSS, separating learning algebra and learning geometry.

But I thought the elementary math approach was maddening when students asked for help (as the music teacher). They didn’t learn to regroup, so I couldn’t help them.

Really? Is Lockhart’s lament so inconsistent with the narrative here that any mention must be delegated?

I never heard of it before, but the Google brought me up to speed. That’s one of the best things I’ve read in a while.

I agree with this teacher and have voiced the same many times. Unfortunately it seems to be impossible to have a discussion about the math curriculum as long as the testing remains.

Standards must be open, extensible, adaptable, and governed by meta-standards describing, at the least, a process of revision. A good example comes from the computer industry, steeped in standards. SGML was an early markup language. It proved too inflexible and difficult to use and implement (I tried). The industry was FREE to propose and innovate alternatives. This process goes through a well-defined sequence of proposals, review, and INVOLVEMENT BY STAKEHOLDERS. New standards incrementally EVOLVED from SGML to include HTML and XML as accepted improvements. But even these standards are flexible and can be extended. They grow, change, and adapt. Contrast to the top-heavy, ill-defined, rigid, and copyrighted Common Core mess. I’ve worked with real standards most of my adult life. Common Core looks like it was written by amateurs.

Balderdash? More like sinister.

Yes, I was going to use a word that should not be written in a nice blog, but sinister, or even evil, would be better.

Wow, now we’re citing pieces from Andrew Breitbart as “evidence” about what comprises good mathematics teaching? Were I not an atheist, I’d be begging one or more gods for help. Milgram is still fighting the Math Wars c. 1995, long before the Common Core was proposed, let alone created. He was wrong then and for the most part he’s wrong now, regardless of one’s overall opinion of either the Common Core initiative or particulars in the CCSS-Math. A neutral reader from another time or planet might read the comments here and reasonably conclude that there are good and bad aspects of the latter, but for the most part there’s so much screaming and reliance on absolute rejection of any positive comments about anything to do with CCSS that we’re getting far more heat than light here.

I’ve been critical of the politics of the Common Core for many years, as people who’ve followed my writing on the subject know. But here we have some basis for what could be a calm analysis and we get some people who seem to recognize that and then a lot of extreme, highly-emotional yelling as if that will drown out all positive comments.

This sort of “debate” has to end if there will ever be more than isolated schools and classrooms doing a good job teaching math that meets the needs of the students. There are a few places that do a good job now, but mostly because they have teachers that “got it” long before the Common Core, will continue to do good things while the Common Core screaming rages, and will carry on doing good work when this crap blows over. Until the rest of us catch on, we might as well take our advice on math education from Andrew Breitbart and his ilk as take it from Bill Gates, Coleman, et al. None of them know the first thing about teaching mathematics to kids (and neither does R. James Milgram), none have a clue how to help kids in poverty, none of them, in the end, should be allowed to come within a light-year of real children. But when the latest rounds of the Math Wars (Common Core edition) pass, we’ll have wasted 25 years or so from the introduction of the 1989 NCTM Standards and still most Americans will be clueless about mathematics and about its teaching and learning. What a sorry bunch of idiots we really are.

I asked this teacher before if the Common Core was necessary to teach math for “deep conceptual understanding” or if Common Core was necessary to teach in ways that were both “humane and intellectual.

Never got a response.

Dear democracy – I apologize, because I saw your comment and wanted to respond, but got overwhelmed with the work of setting up my classroom.

Your comment is excellent, and the answer is is more complicated than a yes or no.

Many school districts adopt a packaged math program that teachers are required to use. My colleagues, and I think, many other math teachers, have had to work with packaged programs that were not “humane and intellectual.” As a matter of fact, frustration with a packaged math program is what drove me and my colleagues to form a study group to explore a better way to teach math.

After my wonderful co-teacher suggested we start our work by examining the common core, and after we found the somewhat hidden Progression Documents that explain the standards in more detail, we began to really study the standards and were surprised (maybe flabbergasted would be a better word) to find that the standards actually supported a conceptual approach to math, that relied on deep thinking, rather than rote memorization.

So, yes, teachers could teach math in more “humane and intellectual” ways without the standards, and have been doing so for years. The standards do not provide “something new” with regards to math instruction – nothing that Marilyn Burns and Eileen Fosnot have not been saying for years. However, the fact is that boxed math programs of the past, which assumed the teacher hardly understood mathematics, handcuffed teachers into dreary math instruction.

While of course, there will be new boxed math programs “aligned with the common core” I think that a teacher who has gone through the work of examining the Progression Documents will be be empowered to assure that her math instruction is “humane and intellectual.”

Why so much math? Why are kids spending so much time on math? Is it that important? Basic algebra and geometry is about all you really need- why so much so early and for so long? How about math in 10th, 11th and 12th grades only for kids that like it? Or have a fast track and an average track. Teach it more slowly so kids can really understand it rather than just memorize how to solve equations.

“Basic algebra and geometry is about all you really need”

I would argue that most people don’t “need” even those. I imagine high school math classes would be much smaller if we went off who really “needed” them (or would remember anything from them later)

But admin is getting bonuses for more and better test scores.

CC Math

We need to focus on the actual standards themselves, the text, the quality of the writing.

Last fall, shortly before attending an educational conference, I reread the CC Math standards (Geometry mainly) for the first time in almost 4 years, and found them even worse than I remembered. I would have been embarrassed to hand in work of that quality – which varies greatly, from fine to downright amateurish (why still after all these years?). It was an obvious rush job.

Four years ago I found the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards, which they spent years developing and refining, far superior to the CC ones. I noted in particular back then that there was nothing at all about connections among math concepts and seeing the Big Picture. A few weeks later I saw that the NCTM had noted the same thing about the CC standards. The NCTM was not involved at all in the writing of the CC math standards (why not?) – only consulted afterward. (Can you find any examples of where NCTM suggestions were actually used?)

In following the Geometry strand you will find a quite arbitrary 1-year gap at one point, for all students – quite oblivious to diversity among students, typical of a one-size-fits-all mindset. And yet later learners of the earlier material would have this material fresh in mind, in continuing on, with no 1-year gap.

Rigid is a more appropriate and accurate descriptor of the standards than rigorous.

It is quite apparent that the writers had virtually no experience writing standards.

At one or two points I had a gut-level reaction, “Why didn’t anyone proof-read this stuff?”

Based on merit alone, why should these inferior CC Math Standards have been given serious consideration at all?

There is an Algebra standard with only a superficial connection to Geometry – for instance that two angles forming a straight line have a total magnitude of 180º. (Is solving angle problems where the angles are given as algebraic expressions a standard for the real world?)

It seemed as if, in some cases, they looked at typical textbook problems and said, “How can we make a standard out of these?”

Some of the standards come across as types of exercises making use of standards rather than actual standards themselves.

One “standard” involving the sides of a polygon seems like it was written by a non-mathematician after being told in detail what to write by a mathematician, somewhat like a student misusing a solution algorithm after being taught it. I could guess at what the writer likely was told, and the important steps that then failed to get included.

The wide range of writing quality suggests that this is not the work or ultimate responsibility of one writer or group of writers – again, evidence of being a rush job.

The talking points about the standards are not the standards. We need to focus on the standards themselves, not the lipstick.

Art teachers who integrate instruction have very specific issues with the CC/Pearson standards, especially teachers who have extensive background in curriculum development. CC marginalizes Visual Art and Music because most of the wingnuts who wrote the CC/Pearson have NO clue about developmental readiness…strike ONE. Second, integrated curriculum design depends upon conceptual linkages…and the CC/Pearson mess asks children who are still in the concrete phase of their learning readiness to comprehend abstract notions… strike TW0. And, if you’re reading this and ignore what I’ve written about Visual Art and Music because Math is supposedly more important, STRIKE THREE….you’ve proved my point.

As a math teacher I can agree with some of the statements that the author made. There is more of a conceptual understanding of math that these standards does try to develop. But what these standards do not account for is the various levels that different children are at within their own learning. I also find that there are some topics that are definitely developmentally inappropriate for children in general to understand and need to internalize before moving on to the next level of that topic.

Conceptual understanding can be taught and, but sometimes memorization of facts is also needed. There should never be a one-way approach applied to teaching. Our students are not one-way learners.

The controversial background and poor implementation of the CCSS that are also tangled in the punitive standardized tests are enough for me to say “Stop!” If there are some ideas that can be taken away from these standards, that is fine. But it is time to stop looking at our children as if they are all the same. A pathway that students follow along based upon previous understanding and developed understanding of introduced topics would best benefit education, not a grade level map that does not allow for enough review and remediation.

lovelightba, why do you assume Grade 3 standards have to be taught to all grade 3 students? Yes, the CC standards are based on kids being college ready. But we know that not all kids are going to college. As long as we can get tests that provide questions 1-2 years ahead/behind the current grade level, we can measure growth. And while proficiency is a useful metric, growth is even more important.Note that both schools and teachers can receive good marks simply for demonstrating growth under the ESEA waiver model. Everyone on here screams that some standards are not appropriate for all kids in this specific grade or that not all kids will be able to pass the tests on grade level. These are true statements but doesn’t detract from CC at all. Did you want them to create a Grade 5-Advanced, Grade 5-Average, and Grade 5-Reduced set of standards? Or did you want them to water everything down so that all kids could successfully learn each standard at their respective grade level?

I simply fail to understand how these arguments have any merit. The only consistent strain seems to be from those that want to lower all the standards because they “know” that kids shouldn’t be able to think that abstractly at that age. Really?

I like your statement that learning math is a pathway and not a rigid table of contents.

What does this person teach? Is it real experience with children that has led her to this conclusion? I can tell you honestly that as a middle school math teacher my students are coming to me less and less prepared to do math than ever before. They are confused, fearful and generally cannot do math that is two years below their current grade level since the my state adopted CCSS. This opinion lacks specifics and does not really address any real issues. Which standards specifically does she like? What has she seen that proves to her that these standards are working now that they have been in use for a few years? My experience is the opposite.

I agree completely. But I also share the concerns that the standards should be a living document always open to revision and improvement.

I think the concerns about developmental inappropriateness are probably overblown. We’ve learned that experience is much more a factor and development much less than we used to think. I suspect that many of the things kids can’t do could be done with proper scaffolding.

“I suspect that many of the things kids can’t do could be done with proper scaffolding.”

Just because children may be able to do something with scaffolding, does not mean they should be doing it if it is at the expense of other development. We have elevated academic achievement to such a high pedestal, that we are ignoring other aspects of development and sacrificing other parts of childhood on the altar of that achievement. Why should we teach skills with scaffolding that a child will pick up with much less effort in a year or two? What is the rush?

“What is the rush?” The political cycle is only 2 to 4 years.

Yes…a living and breathing document, that is open for debate!