Archive for the ‘editorial’ Tag

Manchester Union Leader Editorial Stands Up Against Common Core   2 comments

It’s good to see major U.S. Newspapers taking a stand against Common Core, especially after seeing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan specifically target news editors, asking them to spin Common Core the way that federal power grabbers and corporate monopoly-makers want it spun.

This week, the Union Leader said:

“More and more parents are skeptical because there is no satisfying answer to even the most basic questions about Common Core. For example: What is Common Core? It is a set of standards in English “language arts” and math. But what does that mean? The standards are not a list of items students are expected to know, but brief, vague descriptions of broad skills students are expected to have at each grade level. How teachers impart those skills is largely left to them – except that the standards come with suggested methods, some of which seem highly questionable. And even among education experts there is great disagreement over whether these standards are as rigorous or as predictive of success as supporters claim… Many people who hated No Child Left Behind now champion Common Core. But they are peas in a pod. Both amount to national experiments being conducted in real time on our children without any firm sense of what the results will be. This is exactly the wrong way to do education reform in the American republic. One of the primary benefits of a federated republic is that states can funcion, in the famous phrase, as “laboratories of democracy.” Common Core weakens that advantage when it comes to education…

See the full Manchester Union Leader editorial here:

Fox News: Common Core is a Risky Experiment on Children – by James Milgram and Emmett McGroarty   4 comments

Do the math — Common Core = a massive, risky experiment on your kids

Yesterday’s Fox News editorial by Emmett McGroarty and James Milgram is staggeringly important. I’ve pasted excerpts. Plese read the whole article at this link.

Remember that James Milgram is a former NASA mathematician, Stanford math professor, and the only true mathematician to serve on the validation committee for Common Core (a mathematician, a math analyst, as opposed to just being a math teacher). He refused to sign off that there was adequate academic legitimacy to Common Core. This is why.


“One of Common Core’s most glaring deficiencies is its handling of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers.
… The classic method of, for example, adding two-digit numbers is to add the digits in the “ones” column, carry the remainder to the “tens” column, and then add the “tens” digits. This “standard algorithm” works first time, every time. But instead of teaching this method, which enables students to solve problems quickly and routinely, Common Core creates a two-step process.

The first is to let students choose from several alternative algorithms (number lines, estimating, etc.) for doing one-digit additions, subtractions, and multiplications.

The second is probably to extend these student constructions to more complex calculations. (We say “probably” because the standards are not at all clear on this point.)

There is no point where the student-constructed algorithms are explicitly replaced by the very efficient standard methods for doing one-digit operations.

Why does Common Core adopt this convoluted method of teaching math?

The stated reason is that learning the standard algorithm doesn’t give students a “deeper conceptual understanding” of what they’re doing. But the use of student-constructed algorithms is at odds with the practices of high-achieving countries and is not supported by research. Common Core is using our children for a huge and risky experiment.

There are also severe problems with the way Common Core handles percents, ratios, rates, and proportions – the critical topics that are essential if students are to learn more advanced topics such as trigonometry, statistics, and even calculus.

As well, the way Common Core presents geometry is not research-based — and the only country that tried this approach on a large scale rapidly abandoned it.

In addition to these deficiencies, Common Core only includes most (but not all) of the standard algebra I expectations, together with only some parts of standard geometry and algebra II courses. There is no content beyond this.

Hidden in Common Core is the real objective – presenting the minimal amount of material that high-school graduates need to be able to enter the work force in an entry-level job, or to enroll in a community college with a reasonable expectation of avoiding a remedial math course.

There is no preparation for anything more, such as entering a university (not a community college) with a reasonable expectation of being able to skip the entry-level courses.

(Virtually no university student who has to take an entry-level math course ever gets a degree in a technical area such as the hard sciences, engineering, economics, statistics, or mathematics.)

Common Core thus amounts to a disservice to our students. It puts them at least two years behind their peers in high-performing countries, and leaves them ill-prepared for authentic college course work.

Those who doubt that this low-level workforce-development is the goal of Common Core should ponder the admission of Jason Zimba, one of the chief drafters of the math standards.

In a public meeting of the Massachusetts State Board of Education in 2010, Dr. Zimba testified that Common Core is designed to prepare students only for a non-selective community college, not a university… …”

Read the rest:

Dr. James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University, has extensive experience developing mathematics standards throughout the nation and served on the Validation Committee for the Common Core Standards.

Emmett McGroarty, serves as Executive Director of the American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative which informs Americans about the dangers of centralizing education through the Common Core. He is co-author of “Controlling Education From the Top: Why Common Core Is Bad for America.”

Dr. Milgram has elsewhere written (responding to a request for clarification about math standards):

I can tell you that my main objection to Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations. They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of a normal, solid, course in Algebra I or Geometry. Moreover, they cover very little of the content of Algebra II, and none of any higher level course… They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries when it comes to being hired to top level jobs.“

Boston Herald Mourns: Common Core’s Dumbing Down Massachusetts Education   Leave a comment

I wish the media and the politicians in my dear state would fully wake up and see Common Core for the education disaster that it is.

I thought Utah was a pretty wise, pretty constitutionally-grounded state, as a whole.  And I used to assume Massachusetts –Pappa used to call it “Tax-achussetts” —was practically in Europe as far as socialism and  lousy “progressive” thinking goes. 

But now I wonder if some folks in Massachusetts are smarter than many folks in Utah –for loudly exposing the fallacy of Common Core,  which is supposed to benefit, not retard, American education. 

I’m thinking now about editorials.  I see some very smart ones coming from Massachusetts.  But do I see clear thinking, common core-questioning, stop-in-your-tracks editorials (like the Boston Herald piece I’ve reposted below) coming from Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune or Deseret News?



The Boston Herald’s editorial this week said:

“Massachusetts eighth-graders are entitled to congratulations for their outstanding performance on the 2011 version of the Trends in International Math and Science Study examination. But adults should not expect such excellence under the state’s embrace of the dumbed-down “Common Core” national curriculum standards.

A sample of Massachusetts students, competing as a separate country, placed sixth among 63 entrants in math, and second only to Singapore in science.

The Massachusetts test-takers spent six years studying math and science under the rigorous standards adopted as a result of the 1993 education reform law that required passing the MCAS test to graduate from high school. This created the kind of momentum that clearly bolstered the TIMSS results. The squishy “Common Core” standards adopted in 2010 have not had time to undo that yet.

But just look at the new math standards. Students are not expected to be able to use the common algorithms for arithmetic operations, which are barely nodded at. They are expected instead to reason or intuit their way to answers and discover “principles.” While 12-year-olds struggle with this process, better left to high school or college, they miss a lot.

The state still gives an MCAS test, but the Common Core organizers expect to produce a new test for 2014, which should be based on the 2010 curriculum standards. “I find it hard to believe that adopting lesser standards would lead us to expect that we would improve,” commented Michael Sentance, secretary of education under Gov. Bill Weld.

The state’s new secretary of education, Matthew Malone, a veteran of four years as superintendent of the Brockton school system, ought to rethink the dumbing down of what had been high standards.”

Now that’s a significant editorial on state education.

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