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Does Common Core Math really teach what it wants to?

© September 2015 Anthony Lawrence

My kids are adults, so I haven't actually had the experience of this new way to teach math, but I have seen the frustrated comments from parents who can't understand it enough to help their kids. I was curious, so I looked into it and found that, for me, it's not hard and in fact is pretty much how I handle most math problems mentally.

I understand the goal, which is to teach how to really understand rather than simply memorizing some rules and applying them to problems. I get that, and I applaud it, but I wonder if it really works.

For example, read that "New Way Of Doing Subtraction" article below. While that is very similar to how I do math in my head every day, the fact is that it is a procedure that can be memorized. In that respect, it's no different than the way I was taught math sixty plus years ago. My question is whether that's what's happening and if it is, have we really gained anything here?

The answer to that is not going to come from tests. It's only going to be seen decades later when these kids are in the real world. Will they be more mathematically literate than my generation and the others who learned the "old" way? Or will they be just as helpless as most of my peers are when given a tricky bit of math?

Oh, sure, some will "get it". Some of us "got it", too, even if we did it without being taught. But will more get it than not?

I have no idea. It's an interesting question, though.

How to Teach Your Kids the New Math

There's A New Way Of Doing Subtraction — And It's So Much Better Than How You Learned In School

Common Core Doesn't Add Up to STEM Success

The Science Of The Common Core: Experts Weigh In On Its Developmental Appropriateness

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