Admitted: Common Core Math is NOT Meant to Prepare Students for Bachelor’s Degrees   9 comments

Subservience to truly stupid ideas —like dumbing down high school math for economic gain— was never meant to be the destiny of the free American people.

Yet that is what has happened to American education under Common Core. In the video testimony of Common Core creator Jason Zimba, in recent articles by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), in the written testimony of Common Core validation members Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram, and in the 2013 Common Core report of the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE) we see that Common Core math deliberately diminishes and weakens, rather than adding to, high school math standards.

At the American Institutes for Research (AIR) website, (FYI, this is the company that writes Utah’s Common Core math and English test) there are articles claiming that it’s in the best interest of the taxpayers that more students should only aim for a two year college degree.

AIR dismisses the idea that a student might WANT to learn more than what is available at the associates’ degree level. Individual desires and rights don’t even factor into the collectivism of education reform.

AIR fails to address the fact that not all college educations are tax-funded; some people actually pay for their own tuition. AIR takes the socialist view that taxpayers are “stakeholders” so they should determine whether a student may or may not get more education. AIR says: “Do graduates who earn an associate’s degree and participate in the labor force experience returns, such as higher wages, that justify the costs incurred by them in obtaining that degree? Do taxpayers receive a positive return on their investment in the production of associate’s degrees?”


Professor Sandra Stotsky, who served on the official Common Core Validation Committee, has written an article, Common Core Math Standards Do Not Prepare U.S. Students for STEM Careers. How Come?” (It is posted in full at Heritage Foundation’s website.)

Dr. Stotsky writes that states adopted Common Core math because they were told that it would make high school students “college- and career-ready” and would strengthen the pipeline for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), but it is clear this claim was not true. Stotsky reminds us that Professor James Milgram has testified to the fact that common core math dumbed down U.S. high school standards.

James Milgram

With the exception of a few standards in trigonometry, the math standards END after Algebra II, reported Stanford emeritus professor James Milgram (Milgram was also an official member of the Common Core validation committee.)

Both Milgram and Stotsky refused to sign off on the academic quality of the national standards, and made public their explanation and criticism of the final version of Common Core’s standards.

Stotsky points out that the lead mathematics standards writers themselves were telling the public how LOW Common Core’s high school math standards were. At a March 2010 meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jason Zimba, a lead writer, told the board that the standards are “not only not for STEM, they are also not for selective colleges.”

Yet, strangely, Stotsky was the only member of the board who expressed concern upon hearing Zimba’s words. Watch that one minute video here.

Stotsky explains:

“U.S. government data show that only one out of every 50 prospective STEM majors who begin their undergraduate math coursework at the precalculus level or lower will earn bachelor’s degrees in a STEM area. Moreover, students whose last high school mathematics course was Algebra II or lower have less than a 40 percent chance of earning any kind of four-year college degree.”

Not only that: Stotsky points out that in January 2010, William McCallum, another lead mathematics standards writer, told a group of mathematicians: “The overall standards would not be too high, certainly not in comparison [to] other nations, including East Asia, where math education excels.”

Dr. Stotsky also notes that there are “other consequences to over 46 states having a college readiness test with low expectations.” The U.S. Department of Education’s competitive grant program, Race to the Top, required states to place students who have been admitted by their public colleges and universities into credit-bearing (non-remedial) mathematics (and English) courses if they have passed a Common Core–based “college readiness” test. Stotsky writes: “Selective public colleges and universities will likely have to lower the level of their introductory math courses to avoid unacceptably high failure rates.”

Stotsky says, “It is still astonishing that over 46 boards of education adopted Common Core’s standards—usually at the recommendation of their commissioner of education and department of education staff—without asking the faculty who teach mathematics and English at their own higher education institutions (and in their own high schools) to do an analysis of Common Core’s definition of college readiness… Who could be better judges of college readiness?”

Read the rest of Stotsky’s article here.

What about NCEE? Surely the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) would not want to dumb down your child!


In the 2013 report from NCEE, “What Does It Really Mean to be College and Career Ready?” it recommends that we all throw out the higher math we used to teach in high schools in America.

“Mastery of Algebra II is widely thought to be a prerequisite for success in college and careers. Our research shows that that is not so… Based on our data, one cannot make the case that high school graduates must be proficient in Algebra II to be ready for college and careers. The high school mathematics curriculum is now centered on the teaching of a sequence of courses leading to calculus that includes Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus and Calculus. However, fewer than five percent of American workers and an even smaller percentage of community college students will ever need to master the courses in this sequence in their college or in the workplace… they should not be required courses in our high schools. To require these courses in high school is to deny to many students the opportunity to graduate high school because they have not mastered a sequence of mathematics courses they will never need. In the face of these findings, the policy of requiring a passing score on an Algebra II exam for high school graduation simply cannot be justified.”


Read the rest of the NCEE report here.

When will people stop saying that Common Core standards are legitimate preparation for 4 year colleges? It so obviously isn’t true.

When will people admit that Common Core caters to a low common denominator and robs high achievers and mid-achievers? Probably never. Proponents pushed Common Core on Americans for a deliberate purpose: so that politicians and the private corporations they’ve partnered with, can analyze, punish and reward those who have forgotten that they have real rights under a real Constitution to direct and control their own affairs.


Thank you, Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram for your tireless testimonies about American education reforms that hurt our children and our country.

ben franklin tyrants rebellion is obedience

9 responses to “Admitted: Common Core Math is NOT Meant to Prepare Students for Bachelor’s Degrees

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  1. Pingback: Admitted: Common Core Math is NOT Meant to Prepare Students for Bachelor’s Degrees | The Education Report - your source for education news, updated all day

  2. I have been a public high school math and science instructor for 21 years. I am totally against Common Core, mainly because it is untested, and I believe we should not move forward with standards unless we are reasonably sure they will work. That said, I’d like to comment on the math requirements to graduate from high school. There is a misconception that because a certain higher level math course is not required, that students who wish to pursue math will somehow be denied. This is not the case. Students who have an aptitude and interest in math and science can move through most high schools at very high levels all the way up to college credit. There is also a misconception that in order for the US to compete globally in math and science, high schools must require higher level math and science for graduation. This is not the case. In fact, by placing higher level math and science students in with larger numbers of students without interest or aptitude for math and science, the higher level achievers are actually slowed down, and you have the opposite effect compared to what you wanted. I have witnessed this process for years in 8 different schools in 2 different states. To be competitive globally we don’t need everyone to be “ok” in math and science. Rather, we are much better able to excel if we have those with aptitude and interest functioning at the highest level possible.

    • Thanks for your comments. It is great to hear from teachers–especially ones with so much experience. My youngest graduated from a public HS in June and I’m so glad she missed the CCSS. She was able to be in advanced math classes beginning in 4th grade and was able to take two years of calc (three levels of calc) before graduating. She’s currently double-majoring in systems engineering and computer science and she would not have been able to do that without being able to advance ahead in math in 4th-12th grades. Your comment about mixing all levels of students in large math classes did happen to her once she hit high school. She was put in regular math classes (although she was two years younger than most of the other students) and that really slowed her down (it did toughen her up though because the older students weren’t too nice to the freshman in their class). It took her a few months to be able to move at the proper speed when she hit calculus but she was very well prepared for college math and has had no problems with it (chemistry is a different story LOL).

      I think the fear parents have with the CCSS is that it will dumb everyone down and there will be no way to get ahead in math in elementary and middle school so students can graduate with more than pre-calc under their belts. The trend with the CCSS seems to be to have everyone studying the same thing at the same time (Pearson and the Gates Foundation have developed online CCSS learning modules). I’ve seen our school district go from having about 36% of students at least one grade level ahead in math to only having about 10% of the students at least one grade level ahead in math (that’s from 2006 through 2013). Will schools still be offering advanced math and science classes when there are only 5-10 students who qualify to take that level of math? This last year there were only about 35 students in the one AP Calc BC/Multivariable Calc class at my daughter’s HS. I assume in the next year or two there will not be enough students two years ahead in math to offer that course.

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