**AN EXAMPLE OF THE PTA ENDORSED COMMON CORE MATH:**

This article proves that "Common Core" is also the curriculum. It's not JUST the standards. Mary McGarr

**
2+2=What? Parents rail against Common Core math**

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM May 15, 2014

.

An Iowa
woman jokingly calls it "Satan's handiwork." A California mom says she's broken down in
tears. A Pennsylvania parent says it "makes my blood boil."

What could
be so horrible? Grade-school math.

As schools
around the U.S. implement national Common Core learning standards, parents trying to help
their kids with math homework say that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing has
become as complicated as calculus.

They're
stumped by unfamiliar terms like "rectangular array" and "area model." They wrestle with
division that requires the use of squares, slashes and dots. They rage over impenetrable
word problems.

Stacey
Jacobson-Francis, 41, of Berkeley, California, said her daughter's homework requires her
to know four different ways to add.

"That is
way too much to ask of a first grader," she said. "She can't remember them all, and I
don't know them all, so we just do the best that we can."

Simple
arithmetic isn't so simple anymore, leading to plenty of angst at home. Even celebrities
aren't immune: The comedian Louis C.K. took to Twitter recently to vent about his kids'
convoluted homework, writing that his daughters went from loving math to crying about it.

Adopted by
44 states, the Common Core is a set of English and math standards that spell out what
students should know and when. The standards for elementary math emphasize that kids
should not only be able to solve arithmetic problems using the tried-and-true methods
their parents learned, but understand how numbers relate to each other.

"Part of
what we are trying to teach children is to become problem solvers and thinkers," said
Diane Briars, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. "We want
students to understand what they're doing, not just get the right answer."

That's a
radically different approach than many parents are accustomed to.

Jennie
Barnds, 40, of Davenport, Iowa, was puzzled by her fourth-grade daughter's long division
homework, a foreign amalgam of boxes, slashes and dots with nary a quotient or dividend in
sight.

"If we are
sitting there for 20 minutes trying to do a simple problem, how is an 8, 9, 10-year-old
supposed to figure it out?" she said. "It's incredibly frustrating for the student and the
parent."

Whether
Common Core itself is responsible for the homework headaches is a contentious issue.

Some
experts say Common Core promotes reform math, a teaching method that gained currency in
the 1990s. Derided as "fuzzy" math by critics, reform math says kids should explore and
understand concepts like place value before they become fluent in the standard way of
doing arithmetic. Critics say it fails to stress basic computational skills, leaving
students unprepared for higher math.

Stanford
University mathematician James Milgram calls the reform math-inspired standards a
"complete mess" — too advanced for younger students, not nearly rigorous enough in the
upper grades. And teachers, he contends, are largely ill-prepared to put the standards
into practice.

"You are
asking teachers to teach something that is incredibly complicated to kids who aren't ready
for it," said Milgram, who voted against the standards as part of the committee that
reviewed them. "If you don't think craziness will result, then you're being fundamentally
naive."

Common
Core supporters insist the standards are developmentally appropriate and driven by
research.

"For years
there has been a raging debate in mathematics education about which is more important,
procedural fluency or conceptual understanding. The obvious answer is 'both' and the
standards give that answer," said University of Arizona mathematician Bill McCallum, who
co-wrote the math standards.

Common
Core advocates acknowledge parents are frustrated, but blame the problems on botched
implementation, insufficient training or poorly written math programs that predate Common
Core.

They say
schools also need to communicate better.

"The
homework can appear ridiculous when it is taken out of context — that's where the biggest
problem lies," said Steve O'Connor, a fifth-grade math teacher in Wells, New York.
"Parents don't have the context, nor have they been given the means to see the context."

O'Connor
has set up a website in an effort to reduce parents' frustration over homework. Other
school districts have held workshops for parents to learn alongside their children.

But many
parents say they've been on their own, complaining that districts have foisted new math
curricula with little explanation.

In
Pennsylvania, which signed on to the national Common Core in 2010 but developed its own
version, Allison Lienhard said homework sessions with her 10-year-old have ended in tears.

"She gets
frustrated because I can't do it the way they are supposed to do it," Lienhard said. "To
me, math is numbers, it's concrete, it's black-and-white. I don't understand why you need
to bring this conceptual thing into math — at least not at this age."

**Please tell me that you are beginning to see how they are
dumbing down our children. There is no need for this stupid effort. MM**