In our May cover story, “Core Values,”we expose the nonsense and progressive agenda behind Common Core. A big part of the ridiculousness of Common Core are the new math standards. These standards apply the constructivism philosophy—a technique that requires students to “construct” understanding of math problems. Advocates claim this will help build critical-thinking skills. Traditional forms of math lessons, including the tried-and-true memorization of multiplication tables, are not required. In fact, eighth-graders in California are no longer required to take an algebra class as the state moves to align itself with the new standards.
“The math standards focuses on investigative math, which has been shown to be a disaster,” Glyn Wright, executive director of Eagle Forum, told Fox News. “With the new math standards in the Common Core, there are no longer absolute truths. So three times four can now equal 11 so long as a student can effectively explain how they reached that answer.” Wright’s comments weren’t some out-of-the-blue criticism of a myth about Common Core but were in response to widely panned statements from an Illinois school district official.
During a Common Core town-hall meeting last summer, Amanda August, a curriculum coordinator in a suburb of Chicago, explained to a group of parents that, though all students should come up with the same correct answer regardless how they do the math problem, they’re less concerned with wrong answers. “Under the new Common Core, even if they said three times four was 11,” said August, “if they were able to explain their reasoning and explain how they came up with their answer, really in words and in oral explanations and they showed it in a picture, but they just got the final number wrong, we’re more focusing on the how and the why.”
When one parent asked whether wrong answers would be corrected, August attempted to clarify. “Absolutely. Absolutely. We want our students to compute correctly,” she said. “But the emphasis is really moving more towards the explanation, and the how, and the why, and can I really talk through the procedures that I went through to get this answer—and not just knowing that it’s 12, but why is it 12? How do I know that?”
Confirming that the emphasis on multiplication tables is out and time-consuming, multi-step processes are in, August told parents, “They are supposed to not only be able to come up with the same answer no matter how they do it but they’re going to have to show, ‘OK, I know three times four numerically is 12, but I can show this in a picture, I can write a real world situation where I show that if I put four apples into three bags that’s going to give me 12 total apples.’ So they’re going to have to be able to go back and forth between all those different modalities and really show that.”
Here’s a taste of the Common Core new math shinola: