Mom Protests Common Core By Taking Her Kid Out Of School, Because That Makes Sense

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common core strike rene antonio daughter rips homeworkThe Common Core, or at least, people’s occasionally skewed perception of what the Common Core is, has frustrated a lot of parents, some of them as famous as Louis CK. One mom in Ohio is upping the ante by doing more than posting mocking take-downs of “Common Core” math homework to Facebook or YouTube (though, yes, she has also done that): now, she’s threatening to pull her daughter out of school entirely as a form of protest. Yup, nothing says ‘I care about my kid’s education’ like taking it away from her to make a political point!

Medina, Ohio parent Rene Antonio tells WKYC News that she’s mad as hell about the Common Core and she’s not going to take it anymore. And by “it” I mean “her daughter, to school”. Her Facebook page encourages parents across the state to yank their kids from schools in protest to the national standards, and it’s garnered a whopping 354 likes at the time of this writing. (Her petition is also puttering along at an impressive 16-signature clip. Only 99,984 to go!)

If the school doesn’t do a giant take-backsies on the establishment of the Common Core standards, Antonio says she plans to keep her seven-year-old daughter at home starting on December 15. I’m assuming she plans to homeschool and not just keep her kid at home on an extended vacation, so based on the name of the Facebook group (“Ohio students strike commoncore“) I’m sure she’s going to do a great job teaching her daughter writing as well as math.

[brightcove_vid playerid=”9″ flashvars=”videoId=3879934821001&playerID=2747075824001&playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAB_zNwdE~,sELXX2gKZV81MSaZdE6V2mCy59kW3uLK&domain=embed&dynamicStreaming=true”]

There are some valid complaints about the Common Core out there: the one-size-fits-all approach, the level of abstraction that may be too much for younger students. I don’t think a valid complaint is something along the lines of, ‘Wahh, the teacher wants my kid to understand math, not just do it!’ And I really, really don’t think a valid complaint is that the mean ol’ gubmint won’t keep its hands out of public education, which, if we’re quite honest, is where I’m pretty sure Antonio’s beef starts and ends. (The YouTube video she made of her child gleefully ripping up math homework, which you can see briefly in the above news video, also has the seven-year-old saying “The government should not control my education!” in what is obviously a totally un-coached way.) Says Antonio:

“Children’s minds don’t adapt to the Common Core like they’re expected to. It takes away from the child’s ability to explore … These aren’t the government’s children, and they aren’t the state’s children.”

No, they’re our children, which the government has the public responsibility to educate, so that they have at least a shot at growing up to be rational citizens. I’m not sure why it’s such a troubling prospect for the feds to have a say in making sure kids learn a bare minimum number of things before they graduate, and asking that those children actually understand what they’re learning instead of regurgitating it like tiny, adorable automatons. Keep your government hands off of my free, public education!

As a former teacher, I feel obliged to point out that I’m cool with homeschooling parents who know what they’re doing. I’ve known some pretty awesome homeschoolers who did a lot of leg-work to make sure that their kids were getting a good education. I’ve also known some whose kids filtered back into the public system in ninth grade unable to construct a sentence or do long division. I’m not sure which result you’re going to get by pulling your kids out of school as a ‘gotcha’ to the administration, but when your main plan is COMMON CORE BAD, well … I have my hunches.

(P.S. For those who really hate the Common Core, which is basically just a list of things students should know and understand by the time they finish each grade level, I’d take a look at the example in the embedded news video. I’d argue that the example math problem they use is a perfect one to show how new math teaching methods are actually better for kids too young to grasp abstraction than the old-fashioned “just do it” ways of subtraction. Number lines show kids where the numbers are going and what’s happening to them. And when you do a math problem in your head, do you stop to line the numbers up and carry the ones? No, you use the quickie version of a number line. Twenty-five minus nine, let’s see, taking away five gets you down to twenty, and then there’s four more left, giving sixteen.)

(image: WKYC)


  1. Ursi

    November 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I don’t even get why anyone thinks this is newsworthy.

    if you don’t like what school is teaching your child and/or the methods being used then homeschool them. You have the right. Why make a huge fuss about it? The entire system isn’t going to shut down because you pull your kid out of school.

    • kimanderson

      November 10, 2014 at 11:02 am

      just as Joanne answered I am blown away that anyone can ­make 9281USD in 28 day on the ;’ computer . why not find out more.


  2. andrea

    November 10, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I don’t get the big hubbub over common core. Yes, it is different. The first time my 2nd grader needed math help, I was like…wha??? But after a simple 20 minute demonstration at an orientation night, a lot of it made sense. It’s different, but it’s not the end of the world people.

    • mamaduck_75

      November 10, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Not all kids catch on in 20 minutes. Many children, parents, and even teachers struggle with it.

    • jane

      November 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

      I know that I struggle with it. Many of the concepts are really hard. Sometimes it’s so hard I tell my fourth grader that she can write “I don’t understand how to do this” on her homework and ask her teacher to go over it with her the next day. I am really concerned that a great many teachers don’t really understand it enough, so that the teaching is really unclear.

      All that said, everyone will adapt. The teachers will learn how to teach it this way, and it will become the new way that kids understand math. Just because it’s a struggle doesn’t mean it’s bad. My grandmother would have struggled with how to program everything in to a Ti-83 calculator; doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have been using one correctly in HS.

    • shel

      November 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

      I just don’t get what was so wrong with the way we all learned math that it has to be forbidden in these schools…
      Yes, it’s important to understand the concepts behind math, but subtraction is still subtraction no matter which method you use to get the answer. The concept isn’t suddenly different…
      Teach it one way, fine… but I think if kids understand it better a different way and are still understanding it and getting correct answers, that should be the more important part.

  3. mamaduck_75

    November 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I have to disagree with this a bit. While for some school districts, common core only means what they should know by a certain grade level, in others (including ours) it’s a completely different method of teaching. My husband is a math major with a minor physics, and common core method of teaching math blows his mind…it takes something so simple and makes it complicated. While I grant that it works well for some kids, so many other children have a tremendously difficult time understanding it, when the classic method of teaching math would actually work better for them. Many parents in our district have had to pull their children out and home school them, or send them to private schools IF they can afford it that still use classic teaching methods for math (which seems to be the subject that is the hardest with common core). Further, many teachers in our district HATE common core methods, and have been very outspoken about the struggles of the kids in their classes. If my child picks up on it and flies with it, great. If as the years pass she struggles with it, taking her out and putting her in a private school or homeschooling is something we will consider.

    • mamaduck_75

      November 10, 2014 at 10:11 am

      I’ll add this…I don’t think the method of teaching NEEDS to be changed. The way math has always been taught has created generations of engineers, astronauts, all the tech we have now, etc. I agree the level of education has gone down in this country, but I think the problem lies elsewhere. I believe it lies in not supporting our teachers enough, in lack of parental involvement, in a society that idolizes ‘superstars’ and pushes their kids to be in entertainment and sports more than emphasizing education, and more than anything, a TREMENDOUS lack of funds going toward the school system. Our tax dollars pay for enormous stadiums with all the amenities, yet our schools don’t have enough textbooks. Teachers have to reach into their own pockets to pay for school supplies. And the parental involvement is HORRIBLE. I can’t tell you how many times my daughter’s kindergarten teacher has to beg parents to participate in the notes she sends home.

      You can change the teaching methods over and over, but without the nation’s emphasis being on education, and without the support of parents and communities, our schools will continue to falter.

    • SunnyD847

      November 10, 2014 at 10:49 am

      My daughters went to a great little public school in Oakland. It had been a not-so-great school some 12-15 years ago, but a group of parents decided to band together to change things and they worked really hard along with the staff and created this gem of a school. We had gardens and art programs and it was such a wonderful diverse and inclusive place. People started moving into the neighborhood just to get their kids into the school. Housing prices went way up and the demographics of the neighborhood changed a lot. I went back recently and the principal told me that parent involvement is way down. Now people just “expect” the school to be good and don’t want to do the work necessary to keep it that way. It’s really sad.

    • SunnyD847

      November 10, 2014 at 10:38 am

      But Common Core is just the standards. What you, and many other parents, are objecting to is the way it’s being implemented and that has to do with shitty, poorly formulated curriculum, not the common core standards themselves.

    • shel

      November 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

      I think that is confusing for a lot of people, or it’s just easier to call it common core, since the curriculum in a lot of districts came paired with the new standarts… and is the reason a lot of people hear for “why” their child is being taught this new way….

      But I completely agree, the curriculum/implimentation of the standards has been horrific in most school districts.

    • mamaduck_75

      November 10, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      I agree…it’s not common core itself, it’s actually new math that many parents have an issue with, which is used in a lot of common core curriculum. For instance, a neighboring county has common core, but doesn’t teach new math.

  4. MomOf1+2

    November 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

    My kids aren’t in school yet but I’ve heard a lot about Common Core from friends with school-aged kids. I will admit I thought it was ridiculous at first- the way they are doing math, etc. Then I heard the explanation above about how we actually do things “in our head” and how it makes more sense than “carry the 1” and now I get it. I think part of the problem is that many parents don’t have an understanding of why things are being taught differently and if they did then it would be easier for more of them to get on board with Common Core. **Note: I don’t know why they don’t have an understanding- it could be the school didn’t have an “orientation night” explaining things or if the school did then maybe the parent skipped it. I have a feeling it’s probably a combination of both. And while it isn’t necessary for parents to understand EVERYTHING the schools are doing it is important to have an overall understanding so they can support their children (and the teachers) and be involved in their education.

  5. lpag

    November 10, 2014 at 10:09 am

    As a teacher, I have a lot of issues with the Common Core. My colleagues and I are all quite unhappy with it, as are the parents. That said, I don’t get all the fuss about the “new math”. I am one of those people who is terrified of numbers. I am always talking about how bad I am at math. When I started seeing these “look at what the evil common core has done to math” facebook posts, I came to a stunning realization: if I had been taught math this way, I might have actually been good at it. If I had understood WHY you need to “borrow” the number in subtraction or “bring down” in long division, I might have actually come to an understanding about how numbers work and done well when math got more complicated than just following the procedural instructions the teacher gave. I might actually do math myself nowadays, rather than palming off any numbers I encounter to my computer-scientist husband to deal with.

    • shel

      November 10, 2014 at 11:38 am

      I guess that’s just part of how we all learn differently, since I had no issues with understanding basic math taught the old way. I knew the why of borowing numbers etc. The new way just seems overly complicated to me…

      Clearly that’s an issue with the students as well, they all learn differently… Some kids probably do great with the new math and love it and it helps them, but others would do great with the old methods as well. I just don’t get what makes this way so superior for every child. Obviously you can’t spend the school year teaching 8 different ways to do the same math problem, but some flexibility in tehnique would benefit a lot more kids.

    • pixie Ninja Tits

      November 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      I remember the first time I saw how subtraction was being taught now (I’m not sure if it’s the same up here as it is in the US, but I think it was the way it’s being taught in the States) and I didn’t understand it at all, but then when I sat back and thought about it I could see how it could be helpful to some students.
      I think another huge issue with old way vs. new way is that parents learned the old way and have a difficult time switching the way they think in order to help their kids with homework. I’m lucky enough that how I learned certain things in school wasn’t drastically different than how my parents learned (even though they’re baby boomers and I started school in a hazy time between curriculum changes) and they worked a lot with me on certain things. Plus my mom is a freak of nature when it comes to math and can figure things out in her head, which helped when I had problems finding the right answer and she could tell me if my answer was correct or not and then point out where I went wrong.
      Though, I’m pretty sure when I went to school, we were allowed to figure things out our own way (we were shown the “standard”, of course) as long as we showed our work.

    • KarenMS

      November 10, 2014 at 11:59 am

      I felt the same way when I first saw some common core math problems. The part that really gets me down in math classes is not that I can’t follow the procedures, but I don’t always understand the “why” behind the procedures, rendering them easily forgettable. Clearly everyone learns differently, and there’s no way to know this for sure, but I think that I, personally, would have learned better with these new methods.

  6. Keith

    November 10, 2014 at 10:11 am

    As a victim of the first “new math” attempt by Academic fools I would support the mother yanking her kid out of the school. I struggled with math until I figured out that Algebra had nothing to do with math. Then I was able to pass Geometry, Trig, Calc and was quite successful as an Engineer. They do not need to learn any abstract methods to do math. They need to graduate knowing how to balance their check book.

    • mamaduck_75

      November 10, 2014 at 10:15 am

      My husband says the same thing…math is NOT ABSTRACT…in the universe in which we live, 1 +1 will always be 2…the laws of our universe are irreducilbly complex in their nature. The laws of physics and math do not change, there aren’t different variants to math…it is what it is, so abstract thinking simply complicates it and adds an element that doesn’t even exist in math.

    • Keith

      November 10, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Your husband is right, he sounds like an engineer to me.

    • Wildrumpusmom

      November 10, 2014 at 10:28 am

      It took my engineer husband lots of WTFs and a good 30 minutes to figure out a sample math problem.

    • mamaduck_75

      November 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Unfortunately, no…he ended up dropping out of college and never finished. He blows my mind sometimes…we just went to see Interstellar, and god bless him, he irritated the piss out of me whispering in my ear constantly about singularities and the Einstein Rosen bridge, lol.

    • Keith

      November 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      I am self taught like your husband. It took me many years to finally get my degree. I didn’t get it until I absolutely had to have it to get my next promotion. A degree never mattered before that and has never mattered since.

    • Mathematician

      November 10, 2014 at 10:30 am

      It really depends on what kind of math you’re talking about; quite a lot of math is incredibly abstract, and the concrete math derives from it. However, I agree that the fact that 1 + 1 = 2 will always be true given a particular set of axioms. In low levels, you probably don’t need to learn that there are other systems in which even everyday operations like addition work differently; you can simply work within the particular mathematical model most people take for granted.

  7. Lilly

    November 10, 2014 at 10:14 am

    My only issue with common core is that it has demonstrated that a lot of schools/districts suck at change management and adapting to modern teaching and teaching philosophies. Some of the examples I have seen are bad problems/questions but it is not common core — it is just bad schoolwork design.
    Second issue is the fact that Pearson has such a big finger in the pie and they should not be guiding the process — they should adapt their textbooks to the curriculum not vice versa.

    • SunnyD847

      November 10, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Yes, the standards are not really the issue, the way they are being implemented is.

    • Ms.Anne'sNotoriousLadygarden

      November 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Pearson is basically the devil. Although their (overpriced) college textbooks are some of the best I’ve used. But they are still the devil.

    • wildrumpusmom

      November 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      My mom, who was a math teacher, complained about them loooooong before Common Core started using them.

  8. wildrumpusmom

    November 10, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I don’t have a problem with teaching new ways of understanding at all. What I do have a problem with is only accepting one way to get an answer. I have a problem with business men who have no background in education and child development creating a curriculum. I have a problem with a curriculum that expects children to do more than they are developmentally capable of doing. The texts books that are to go along with this curriculum are terrible. I agree with nationalized standards, but I don’t agree with micromanaging teachers. I don’t agree with more testing. These kids are going to have mental break downs.

    • Ursi

      November 10, 2014 at 10:38 am

      I agree on principle. Because there is no universally approved way to teach math that everyone can understand, in an ideal world kids would be able use any one of the multiple methods to get the answer and that would be acceptable.

      The problem is that teaching many different methods just isn’t practical. I have no idea if this style of math is more intuitive or not. I’ve looked at the number lines and to me that’s bananas but maybe some kids get that quicker. But if they can’t show how they got the answer using a method that the teacher understands and approves then it’s not helping the grade. It’s awesome for real world application but how can they be graded on it? There’s a much bigger underlying issue here.

    • Wildeumpusmom

      November 10, 2014 at 10:52 am

      I totally agree with you and I have zero intention of sending my son (in 5 years) to a school using these methods. However, I also don’t think that choosing an alternative to public school education is a radical approach.
      It seems, fr talking to friends and reading articles, that more kids are struggling with this than are benefiting from it. I also don’t like, that in a lot of cases, it seems to make the parents unable to help with homework.

    • jonedevil

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    • shel

      November 10, 2014 at 11:31 am

      I agree with you… having standards and things that kids at each grade level should know/understand is a good thing… but the approach and implimentation of common core has been a huge failure.
      Teaching number lines and different ways to do math is fine, but to penalize a kid who understands it easily and doesn’t need to write out all of the work- because they understand it better a different way is what I have a huge problem with. If they are always getting the answer wrong, okay that’s one thing… but if they are turning in homework with correct answers (and getting things right on the test) that should be the important part, not that they are showing the ‘right’ way to get there.

      Do I need to know 10 different ways to do multiplication? No, I need to know and understand one way that works for me and that I can apply to all multiplication problems. It should be the same for kids in school. Teach a couple of different ways to make sure everyone understands, but let them do their homework and tests in the way that makes sense to them.

    • wildrumpusmom

      November 10, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Implementation was awful. They should have started with kindergarten and let is progress. Teaches should have been given an appropriate amount of planning time and time to learn/develope/adapt the materials. There have been multiple seminars available to parents to learn the new methods. No one was set up to succeed.

    • law333

      November 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      That’s not a bad point that it should have been a rolling implementation. Though I’m happy that my 3rd grader is getting it even though he has to work a little harder at the beginning to catch up.

    • Elizabeth Wakefield

      November 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      I agree with you to a certain extent, but the ‘only accepting one way to get an answer’ is a teacher issue and not necessarily a state one. Yes, I am forced to teach a certain subject, and yes, there is a traditionally accepted way to do it…but neither myself nor the student is bound by that method. Even on a standardized test that is scored by the state, it’s only the bubble sheet that is scored and not the work that the child produced. If your child is being penalized for not doing it a particular way, then you need to talk to the teacher because that is something that she has the power to control, allow, and change.

    • law333

      November 10, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      Businessmen didn’t create the curriculum for new math. The qualifications for the people who did that were impeccable. I am one of the few people who love the new math. It makes sense. Yes, it’s a struggle that parents can’t help, and so teachers must accommodate that the work will get no assist from home. Dismissing something because parents can’t help though, is silly. In high school I took Trig, Analyt and Calculus – none of which my parents could help with. There’s alot of things that parents aren’t going to be able to teach their kids – welcome to the 21st century.

      On a slightly different, but related rant, to the person who pointed out that kids shouldn’t be penalized for not writing it all out. As a person who went “all the way” in math in college, it IS important that the kids know how to start at the basic level and not jump to the answer. Math concepts build. The whole point of the new math is that once you get the basics, it builds so logically. They need to comprehend the low level work. They can skip later. I had a teacher who marked a problem wrong if everything was correct but you forgot to write “d(x)” at the end of the equation. So stupid. EVERY equation had d(x) so why was he being such a pain! Turns out that 3 semesters later, d(x) became super critical and those who paid attention to that detail, mastered the next step. Invest in that early work and the dividends will be amazing.

      Sorry for the rant. It just makes me sad that we dismiss something new before we have seen what it can do. Give it time. It’s an investment.

  9. Mystik Spiral

    November 10, 2014 at 10:29 am

    She expects the entire Department of Education to bend to her will, or she will take her daughter out of school?

    Special Snowflake Syndrome strikes again.

  10. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    November 10, 2014 at 10:35 am
    This is what I always think of when people whine about the government being in places they don’t think it should be.

  11. Michael Weldon

    November 10, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Not sure why the author is upset here. The quality of your kid’s education seems to me to be the best reason to homeshool.

  12. TngldBlue

    November 10, 2014 at 10:48 am

    I don’t object to common core itself or the government involvement since you know, that part isn’t new! What I object to is the way school districts have chosen to implement it and also the shady way it was developed. It concerns me deeply that the standardized testing industry had such a heavy influence in the process. And this absolutely factored heavily into our decision to home school our 5 year old. Unfortunately this mother doesn’t seem to actually understand issue and as a result makes a mockery of parents like me.

  13. EX

    November 10, 2014 at 10:54 am

    My children haven’t started school yet but my biggest concern about the common core is that they have ignored all the prevailing research on early childhood development. Specifically I am very concerned about the emphasis on direct instruction in Kindergarten which pushes out play-based learning. My oldest has 2 years before she starts. I do really hope some thing changes before then.

    • wildeumpusmom

      November 10, 2014 at 10:58 am

      My biggest fear too! It also seem that the idea of teaching kids that learning is fun and not that is is for test taking is being pushed out,

    • mamaduck_75

      November 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Exactly…the new math requires abstract thinking, and studies are showing that abstract thinking doesn’t develop until later in children (approximately 7-9 years). Of course, there’s always the exception to the rule, but this is one of the reasons so many kids have issues with new math.

    • cmichelle

      November 10, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      If you look at the math standards for kindergarten, they’re all about using drawings and models to do the math. How is that abstract?

      One of the things that I appreciate about Common Core is how it is able to emphasize using more concrete models instead of looking at abstract algorithms at the younger grades. If my son has some of the struggles wit math that my mom did, Common Core is likely to help him rather than have him decide he’s not good at math at a young age because he didn’t get the standard algorithm or was told that counting on his fingers made him dumb (really happened to my mom in school).

      I don’t think that the roll out has been great, but that’s not the fault of the teachers or the standards. It’s on the administrative end.

  14. kimanderson

    November 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

    just as Joanne answered I am blown away that anyone can ­make 9281USD in 28 day on the ;’computer . why not find out more.


  15. Amanda

    November 10, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I’m surprised this one lady is getting all the attention. Maybe all my friends are paranoid delusionals, but I know a significant number of families who have removed their kids from school because of common core. I personally think it’s just that: totally paranoid. My MIL is on a school board and she heartily supports common core, and says the problem hasn’t been in te new standards, but in the implementation by the various school districts.

  16. whiteroses

    November 10, 2014 at 11:58 am

    What gets me is that this mom thinks the government hasn’t always had a hand in education. That’s part of their purpose, actually.

  17. LeggEggTorpedoTits

    November 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    No dog in this fight because — home ed. That being said, we employee A LOT of common core practices because they are effective when you use them to begin your children’s education.

    From what my teacher friends and parent friends and from all the reading (because I’m a big nerd and a sucker for new teaching strategies), CC has the potential to be very successful, but its implementation was/is one giant clusterfuck. It made the teachers less effective because they were suddenly required to spend more time planning and logging minutia. For children that had already completed foundational learning, it was like running a marathon and being told –at mile 25 –that they were doing it wrong, would have to go back and learn the new way, then start again.

    For parents, it seems to be even more frustrating because in order to effectively “help their kids with their homework”, they have to learn how to do things that used to be simple in an entirely different way.

    That’s my take on it, anyway. I love the methods, because they make sense and the learning is more penetrating than simple memorization or repetition. I do, however, understand why it has been such a challenge for all parties involved in execution.

    • law333

      November 10, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      I think I love you 🙂 You have said it so succinctly.

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      November 11, 2014 at 7:28 am

      Aw thanks!

  18. Cindy Ailey

    November 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    “The government should not control my education!” – then perhaps you shouldn’t have your child going to a public school paid for by the government? Isn’t that why people send their kids to private school?

    • PAJane

      November 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      That’s kind of exactly the point of public education. It’s a common good for society to have access to at least X level of education, so the government taxes people to pay for it, then theoretically makes sure X level is met. Whatever its flaws, that’s what a program like Common Core is trying to accomplish. If you don’t like it, homeschool or pay for a private education.

  19. Ashley Austrew

    November 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Yeah, let’s have our kids tear up their homework and scream about the government not controlling them on command because that couldn’t possibly backfire in any situation ever.

  20. rockmonster

    November 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Because Common Core = child abuse, apparently.

  21. Rachel Sea

    November 10, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I have no problem with Common Core, I have an enormous problem with implementation. When the textbook and workbook publishers are allowed to get away with putting out a product whose usage of English and math are so marginal that a houseful of adults who have high proficiency in reading comprehension, and advanced math, can’t figure out an elementary schooler’s homework then everyone is screwed.

    I also think it’s bonkers to insist that children learn many ways to, effectively, count on their fingers, and demand that they show that work. Busy work never fostered a love of learning in anyone; once a child can demonstrate comprehension, they should not have to re-prove that fact ad nauseum.

  22. KaeTay

    November 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I’ll admit I hate the common core curriculum after seeing examples of math.. it really makes zero sense. I don’t plan on having my daughter learn it but I also plan on putting her in a home school program that doesn’t use it. There’s more home school options than just sitting at home with your own books teaching it. They have programs similar to public school but they aren’t public school.. I know it founds like a headache.. there’s also K12 which a friend has been doing and having great success with.

  23. Kapibara-san

    November 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I didn’t know there’s a concept like ‘number line’ but that’s how I always calculate in my head. I don’t think I was taught that at school but it’s just easier.

    This seems like such a weird issue, like didn’t Americans used to have common curriculums before? Or could the teachers just decide what to teach individually?

    • SunnyD847

      November 10, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      It was more state-by-state.

  24. CynicalMomof3

    November 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    We did “new math” before common core. I like it because I got to learn more math ideas! Some day, I will sub in a class explaining them, and the kids will find the whole thing hilarious (which is fine), but till that point, all is well. I’m not sure why people associate New Math with Common Core. Bill Cosby did a show based on that. That was the 80s. From what I’ve been told (I was having this conversation with a 4th grade teacher of many years, just today), different kids “get” different methods.

    OK, so my kid only gets 1 method for long division (let’s say, the last one). She gets a B in 4th grade math because she doesn’t get the other 2 methods, which affects her future life in no sensible way, since this is not HS and doesn’t show up on college applications. Then, she can do long division for the rest of her life, allowing her to do well in future math classes. Win! Right?

    I agree with the author. CC could be “fixed” if they let some teachers “tweak” it. It was implemented horribly.

    Let me tell you, removing CC won’t fix anything. The testing (which is my problem, though I know it’s not a CC issue) won’t go away. New math won’t go away. Behavior problems won’t go away.

    What we’ll have is a new, local-or-state set of standards dumped on us, instead. Which won’t be perfect either, but will be different enough, that it will cause a year or 2 of more work for teachers and confusion for kids. I’m sure most of us interested in education know about how Texas used to have a lot of control over textbooks used. Texas is the reason I love the idea of CC. I don’t like small groups of people deciding that kids need to learn only creationism, or nothing negative about US history.

    You will NEVER get government out of education. It will just not be federal, but rather state (how are they better?) or county (are they really more expert) or even a school or teacher (now, I might go for that because I love my school’s teachers, but seriously, do we want the schools with the best teachers to have the best standards and curriculum, and the poorer schools to have an inferior one, on top of all the other ick they put up with?)

    So, school, county, state, or federal? Which makes most sense for a mobile society?

    Anyone can pull their kid out of school and put them in a private or home school. Well, I couldn’t, because I’d rather teach a class of 30 than my 3 kids. But anyone else certainly has that right. I don’t think it is the best thing for society, but nobody is asking me. I’d think that dealing with either (1) our crazy expectations as parents that everything will be tailored towards our wishes or (2) our crazy expectations as voters that school should be an assembly-line to spend 99% of its time on tough academics, with no fun or creativity or latitude, but plenty of tests to show more data…. I think that is the way forward. Our school does really well, but if we could ditch 2/3 of the testing, maybe we could make it fun enough that kids would behave better, and enjoy learning enough to be the people we want them to be in future.

    • cmichelle

      November 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      My state just elected a superintendent of public education who plagiarized from her opponent’s website, lied about her educational background, misrepresented her endorsements and awards, didn’t vote in 15 of 17 elections and claimed that serving in the public office would be a way to pay back her state for not voting. As a teacher, a parent, and, well, a human being, I’ll take the federal standards.

      The testing was present before Common Core. As a 7th grade science teacher, I’m still held to the previous testing, and it’s especially awesome because my students are tested on material that is in the 8th grade science standards. Sure, it’s multiple choice, but they haven’t learned it.

    • OptimusPrime*

      November 10, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      CCSS is copyright protected. Only 15% of the standards can be adjusted or tweaked by states or districts. Few actual educators were involved in the development. The standards have never been tested and the claims that they will improve performance are based on no evidence, just a lot of “well, give us time, then we can show you”. ETS, The College Board, Pearson Publishing and Microsoft (via Gates) largely orchestrated the standards with no real democratic process involved. Those are serious reasons for concern about CCSS.

  25. Elizabeth Wakefield

    November 10, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I love your last paragraph about the new method of teaching math. YES to everything you said. It’s not about making it more confusing (although I bet it is for the parents!), it’s about teaching kids number systems and the relationships between numbers so that they are able to calculate figures more easily in their head. This UNDERSTANDING of numerical relationships and not just the memorization will serve these students much better in the future when they are learning higher level math like Algebra.

  26. OptimusPrime*

    November 10, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    The complaint I have with the math instructional techniques is that some students do actually need the rote memorization–particularly those like me with dyscalculia. When I try to visually breakdown a problem, my numbers get mixed up or dance around the page, my integers get dropped, and so on. My high school algebra teacher had to re-teach me foundational mathematics because I had been exposed to the 90s take on math–Hands on Math. Because Hands on Math taught math through visual problems and hands on experiments (plus writing) largely via group work, I was passed along and my serious math learning disability wasn’t caught. I still struggle to this day with ratios, division of more than 3 digits, and very abstract modeling. I completely, 100% understand the “why”, it’s the “how” that my learning disability gets tripped up on. Once I was forced to memorize my times tables, my factors, and so on, I was able to internalize techniques to work around my problems visualizing. If I have to do a problem by hand or in my head and don’t have access to a calculator (or Excel, Excel is my best friend), I have to walk myself step-by-step through the problem double-checking everything against the math facts I have memorized. About 60% of the time, it still takes me 3-4 tries to get the “right” answer consistently. Kids like me don’t need 3-4 ways to solve a problem, they need the foundational knowledge to check their work against what they know.

    I won’t debate CCSS here; however, I will direct anyone interested in learning more to the Badass Teachers Association (BATs on Facebook) and

  27. Pingback: Common Core Testing Puts Undue Stress On Kids

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