Following Common Core money: Where are millions of dollars going?

Nov 25, 2013 by

By Carol Burris –

My music teacher, Doreen, brought me her second-grade daughter’s math homework.  She was already fuming over Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s remark about why “white suburban moms” oppose the Common Core, and the homework added fuel to the fire. The problem that disturbed her the most was the following:

3. Sally did some counting. Look at her work. Explain why you think Sally counted this way.


177, 178,179,180, 190,200, 210, 211,212,213,214.

 

It was on a homework sheet from the New York State Common Core Mathematics Curriculum for Grade 2, which you can find here.

Doreen’s daughter had no idea how to answer this odd question. The only response that made sense to her was, “Because she wanted to.” My assistant principal and math specialist, Don Chung, found the question to be indefensible.

The teachers in her daughter’s school are also concerned.  They are startled to find that the curriculum is often a script. Here is an excerpt to teach students to add using beads from the first-grade module.

T: How many tens do you see?

S:1

T: How many ones?

S: 6

T: Say the number the Say Ten way.

S: Ten 6

Scripts like this are commonplace throughout the curriculum.

Similar headaches exist at the secondary level as well. A relative, who is required to teach Common Core Algebra from the modules, shared her worries about the curriculum’s conceptual gaps, disjointed and illogical concept progressions, and insufficient time to complete lessons.

The Origins of the New York State Mathematics Curriculum                   

Teaching from modules is a new experience. Suburban teachers are used to working with a curriculum that they themselves develop based on state standards.  However, because of the rushed Core rollout in New York, along with the dramatic shift in standards, many schools did not have the time nor funds to develop a thoughtful local curriculum, making the state curriculum modules their only real alternative.

Where did this unprecedented scripted curriculum come from?

Following Common Core money: Where are millions of dollars going?.

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