Teenagers + common core

Parenting a teenager is tough. Add in a few years of that teenager being able to do whatever he wanted, an adoption he didn't ask for, a black biological family living in the poverty mindset and an white adoptive family living the upper middle class dream in a white neighborhood in a white school district, mixed feelings about his own mother, familes that seem to be pulling in different directions, a move, switching schools twice, a "serious" girlfriend, horomones...it's pretty much a recipe for complete disaster.

I'm thankful we are not in "complete disaster" phase at the moment.  I was going to say a lot more about that but I think I just won't.  I'm thankful our oldest son is a pretty good kid. He has his moments but hey, don't we all?

So there was an article in our newspaper about a neighboring school district and Common Core.  If you haven't heard about Common Core, just google it. There is a ton of information out there about it.  Anyway, the premise behind it is that families who move from state to state and have to switch schools should basically be able to slide right into their new school and be learning the same things that they did at their old school. Standards are, well, standardized.  That is not all, though!

Our state has not accepted Common Core (one of only 5 states that hasn't). However, the school district needed updated curriculum and decided to comply with Common Core even though they don't "have" to. Teachers were given one day of training before school started on the new curriculum.  Apparently CC requires you to learn to do math in multiple ways. If you are adding 178+226, for example, you can't just stack them on top of them and add them together, carrying when necessary. You need to learn to do that and also need to be able to think that 178 = 175+3 and 226 = 225+1, so you could add 175+225=400 and 3+1=4, so 400+4=404.  And you HAVE to be able to do your problems both ways. In third grade.

The paper had some example problems for third graders and sixth graders.  Brian and I had a tough time with a couple of the problems and we are relatively smart, well-adjusted adults! I was in advanced math courses in high school and I am not sure about Brian but I know he did graduate high school at least!  I have heard from several mothers who can not help their elementary children with their math homework because it simply doesn't make any sense to them.

The article was saying how some teachers are upset because there is just not enough time to teach the math in the way that CC demands that it be taught. You can imagine how difficult it would be for a student who is already struggling.

The math curriculum I selected doesn't align with CC. I understand the value of all of the relationships they are trying to build, I feel like in high school I really started to be able to take problems apart like that and find multiple ways to come up with the same answer.  So I do think it is valuable; however, I think for now we'll just stick with the basics. D can barely do any math, and I don't think it was because there was no CC when he was in elementary school; I think it is because of his home life, the other students in his classroom, the teachers holding hands and letting things slide when they shouldn't have.

I think the CC debate is an interesting one and I will be following it!

Here is an article for some thought at least. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/eight-problems-with-common-core-standards/2012/08/21/821b300a-e4e7-11e1-8f62-58260e3940a0_blog.html


  1. When I was in education, every few years, there would some new of doing some part of the curriculum. I think it was just a way for administrators to justify their existence. Everybody would get all upset and teachers would be forced to change, then things would settle down. Then something else would come along and start the process all over again. The CC is a mess - too much manipulation I think.


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