Thursday, January 7

One of the 3 creators of Common Core math says parents shouldn't try to teach their kids math


Saw an article on the Net an hour ago claiming that one of the 3 "chief creators" of Common Core math had said parents shouldn't try to help their kids puzzle out CC math homework-- which strikes most parents as a gross perversion of what should be a straightforward skill.

Of course since it was the Internet I was totally skeptical, so I followed the link chain to the source article--published by a hard-left outfit called the Hechinger Report.  (If you're skeptical about that "hard-left" description, click on this link and look at their list of advisors and "partners.")

Sure enough, they'd interviewed Jason Zimba, who claims the credit noted at top.  Here's the headline on the story (and remember, this is from an outfit that's strongly pro-common-core):

Back off parents: It’s not your job to teach Common Core math when helping with homework

Parents across the country are trying to make sense of Common Core standards, a set of academic expectations that call for less focus on memorization and more focus on explaining how solutions were found and, in English, a deep probe of text.


Advocates of the program argue that the skills are still the basic ones we learned as children but in the new curricula developed around the standards, the questions are often presented differently. That often means homework, an age-old source of angst for many families, has gotten even more complicated. Parents, like myself, are trying to guide children through questions that make little sense to adults who were taught math using other methods.

Before you throw up your hands and walk away from homework – a recent study in Psychological Science found that math-anxious parents who help children on homework breed math-anxious children – experts say there are several strategies you can try that don’t require relearning arithmetic.
Didja catch that sly innuendo?  They're implying that if your kid is "math-anxious" about Common Core, it must be because you (the parents) are similarly "math-anxious."

In other words, it's your fault.

I must have missed the memo:  Has entry-level math changed in any significant way in the last 50 years?  No?  Then why have the creators of Common Core managed to develop, publish and distribute text material that's so radically unlike the math parents learned that many (most?) adults can't understand it?

Back to the Hechinger Report:
DON’T TRY TO BE A MATH GURU
“The most important rule as a parent is to make sure it [sic; presumably homework.  No antecedent so hard to know] gets done. I may not have time to do an impromptu lesson on math but I can make sure everything is completed,” said Jason Zimba, one of the three lead writers of Common Core’s math standards and founding partner of Student Achievement Partners, a group that helps teachers with the standards. “It’s about managing workload and learning accountability.”
How can parents make sure homework is completed if they don't understand what the "school solution" method is?  (Hint:  just getting the correct answer is NOT what they demand.)  And Zimba claims "It's about managing workload and learning accountability."  Funny, I thought it was about learning how to do math.  And note again the subtle blame-shift:  As the parent, aren't you accountable for your kid?  Sure.  So if your kid isn't doing well, whose fault must that be?
Although [Zimba] gives his children, ages 6 and 8, math tutorials on Saturday mornings, he says a parent doesn’t have to be a numbers whiz when it comes to homework.

“The math instruction on the part of parents should be low. The teacher is there to explain the curriculum,” said Zimba.
Another strategy, said [Denver teacher Lauren Fine], is asking the child to teach you the concept.  “If you don’t know how to do it, ask your child to teach you, to show you how it’s done,” said Fine. Often, she said, the kids get it but parents don’t.
This is classic.  Virtually all successful adults know at least basic math, but the "elites" in the education empire want to throw the successful parents overboard:  The parents can't teach their kids math, because...well, in the years since the parents were in school, math has, like, totally changed!  "You bitter clingers need to understand that you never really understood complex math skills like addition and subtraction, so how could you possibly teach your kids the right way to do those?  Look at how miserably you failed at teaching your kids how great same-sex sex is, or that the Constitution is totally outdated and useless!  So what in the world would make you think you were competent to teach your kid math?"

Even though Zimba didn't object when the Hechinger Report article credited him as one of the 3 creators, in an interview with a non-Left-wing reporter Zimba was canny enough to imply that the Common Core math approach was really a team effort by LOTS of teachers.

Zimba:  "We work with teachers to develop implementation tools..."

Color me skeptical but I'd love to see a reporter ask this guy which teachers--by name--worked with him to develop this goofy method.  I'll bet the drink of your choice that any of these supposed team members were ultra-leftists.  Hard to imagine anyone who really loves this country or kids or education would think the approach taken by CC will improve students' math proficiency.

As an aside:  When I was in 9th grade an outfit like Zimba's conned our previously-excellent school system into buying a new approach to math called "set theory," published by "School Mathematics Study Group."  It was supposed to be The New, Cool Way of learning math--just like CC.   Parents had no idea what the hell it was saying, so couldn't help their kids master the new teaching method.  And for the three years it stayed in our schools, math proficiency dropped like an anvil.

I'd like to learn more about who developed the "new, oh-so-cool" method, and who in each state system approved it.  Hard to imagine that NO ONE on the state boards did any sort of research into how well this Great New Method had worked in other cities--which suggests to me that perhaps someone on the city's school board got a fat bribe.  But I'm cynical that way.

In reality it was crap, and most of my classmates' math proficiency took a big hit.

Seems to me Common Core uses the same theory as our SMSG method:  The old way of teaching math is old and uncool, thus clearly flawed.  We elites will show you the New, Improved, Cool Method.  Oh, and you'll use this new method or it'll cost ya.

Sure am glad I don't have any kids.  And my heart goes out to those of you who do.

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