Common Core ignites math war in North Carolina

Nov 29, 2015 by

Sydney Young is a confident, vivacious 10-year-old who was comfortable recently showing a classroom full of parents at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School how fifth-graders learned to solve math word problems requiring multiplication and division with decimals.

But Sydney admitted later that she occasionally cries in frustration over her math homework.

Her aunt, Jean Rodgers, helps Sydney with math at home. And Rodgers gets frustrated, too. Many elementary math lessons today don’t look much like they did few years ago.

Rodgers has turned to YouTube videos for help and scoured bookstores for math texts. She attended the fifth-grade math night for families to learn how to help her niece, a conscientious student who aspires to go to Harvard.

“She doesn’t like to not understand,” Rodgers said of her niece. “Even though she’s fine now, the last thing we want is for her to get behind and not be able to catch up.”

Sydney was in second grade when North Carolina adopted national goals for student achievement in math and reading called Common Core standards. Four years later, the standards continue to be controversial with some parents and students. Math in particular – what students should know, when they should learn it, and how to teach it – is a flashpoint in the debate.

Source: Common Core ignites math war in North Carolina | News & Observer

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