April 21 2014
Vicki E. Alger
Recall how experts who served on the Common Core Validation Committee warned that academic rigor was compromised to get political buy-in from teachers unions and others?
The only math-content expert, Stanford University mathematics Professor Emeritus James Milgram, explained that questionable content decisions were approved to make Common Core standards “acceptable to the special interest groups involved.” Milgram concluded that the Common Core is “in large measure a political document” that is watered down – not strengthened by practices used in high-achieving countries.
Other experts agree, namely, parents.
Recently, Arkansas mother Karen Lamoreaux testified against Common Core during a state education board hearing. She called Common Core claims about academic rigor “an empty sales pitch.” As evidence, she asked board members to do a simple division problem to see if they were “smarter than a Common Core fourth-grader,” namely, what is 90 / 18 = ?
One member correctly answered 5 in just a few seconds. The Arkansas mom congratulated her but noted that if she were a four grader answering the same problem correctly in two steps she would be marked wrong because the Common Core math method requires students to draw circles, hash marks, and other doodles that total 108 steps in all.
But there’s good news. Thanks to the growing outcry from state citizens, Yahoo News reports:
Indiana has pulled out of the Common Core program…And while CC has been adopted by 45 states (now excluding Indiana), more than 200 bills were introduced in 2014 that would slow or stop its implementation…Oklahoma is one state considering banning the program.
Hopefully, as the truth about Common Core spreads, more states will opt out. State lawmakers, in turn, would put parents back in charge of their children’s education so they could choose schools that they believe are best. To help document their performance track record and attract students, schools would have powerful incentives to use some of the rigorous nationally-norm referenced tests that already exist and publicize overall results.
Ultimately, empowered parents are the best accountability measure because if schools don’t work well for their children, they can immediately move them—and their associated funding—to schools that do.