School is out for the summer, but the debate over the "Common Core" standards rages on. I have to admit I haven't paid a lot of attention lately since my kids are well past high school, but I do know the issue of the "New Math" has been going on since I was in high school. And we don't appear to be making any progress with each new generation of math. So an article in the WSJ by a professor emerita of math at Berkeley caught my eye on Wednesday. Marina Ratner wrote it from the perspective of a grandmother with a grandson in the Berkeley public school system so it has a front row feeling to it. She writes

...when teaching fractions, the teacher required that students draw pictures of everything: of 6 divided by 8, of 4 divided by 2/7, of 0.8 X 0.4, and so forth. In doing so, the teacher followed instructions...to use visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem.

Who would draw a picture to divide 2/3 by 3/4?

The model-drawing mania went on in my grandson's class for an entire year, leaving no time to cover geometry and other important topics.

I'm pretty sure the B'game school curriculum is in the same boat. Can any parents or grandparents confirm this?

As stated by one Burlingame Parent, "The Common Core is just that..common. I want to know what you are going to do that is above and beyond common?"

How can you excel in education if you are chained to mediocrity? Under this model, students are NOT allowed to advance in math but must move at the same pace with their peers, assuming that all students are the same.

Posted by: KRN | August 10, 2014 at 03:56 PM

My son in 8th grade, went from taking algebra in 7th (he's was on the advanced track) to taking, guess what? Algebra in 8th grade because they got rid of geometry. He says he is bored. BIS also axed the advanced English program. My son says he is just bored now.

The common core seems to be about dumbing down the curriculum and making everyone feel warm and fuzzy. No parent egos are ruffled because their kid didn't get on the advanced track.

My son was also getting straight A's so making the curriculum easier just makes no sense.

The schools will pay to have one aide shadow a child all day who is special needs but they won't pay for children who are gifted academically.

Lots of hypocrisy.

Posted by: Jane Doe | September 11, 2014 at 09:37 PM

There is some growing concern about the math programs for Common Core in town. I found this article about the company named Swun Math that doesn't sound too good. http://www.latimes.com/tn-dpt-me-0227-swun-math-20150226-story.html

Posted by: Mom | March 09, 2016 at 05:30 PM

I have heard that there was money in the offer to use the SWUN program. Anyone else heard that? I have heard nothing good about it and that article seems to reinforce that.

Posted by: Beenhereforever | March 09, 2016 at 05:40 PM

UCLA Director of Admissions warned against adopting Common Bore Math. He stated that Common Core fails to allow students to progress through advanced math needed to be admitted to engineering programs. He specifically warned low income areas as "Common Core will hurt your students chances of being admitted to UCLA. High income families will pay for private math courses sand surpass those who only have access to Common Core.

Posted by: KRN | March 09, 2016 at 07:19 PM

My understanding is that if you follow the "standard" pathway through BHS math (Algebra I -> Geometry -> Algebra II -> PreCalculus), you can't take Calculus during your normal 4 years, but there is apparently a way to do this (I haven't seen it documented). The advice from the BIS counselor to current 8th graders making freshman course selections for next year is "If the student is in Math 8 and would like to take calculus Senior year, BHS does not recommend taking Algebra over the summer in order to take Geometry in 9th grade. Take Algebra in 9th grade and BHS will suggest an accelerated path to calculus by Senior year."

Posted by: Ian | March 10, 2016 at 03:57 PM

Dear Student.

We are sorry to inform you that you will not be admitted as a member of our class of 2022 Engineering Program. We know you listened to your high school administration on how to progress through math and that was a mistake.

You see, other students knew better and following their own level of challenge. These students went to private schools and independent programs and finished Calculus as juniors and seniors. They passed AP Calc AB and BC.as we suggested and they are now wearing our school colors.

Our new freshman class is filled with student who took the proper levels of math, unlike you who did what you were told by people who drank the Common Core Kool Aid and could care less about your future. They stated that your mom and dad were pushy Helicopter Parents and they knew better about your future.

We don't have the time or space to wait for you to remediate yourself and catch up with the rest of our class. We encourage you to enroll in community college and take the proper coursework so that we can reject you again in two years.

Don't worry, about the future of others... Common Core will be thrown out soon and only you and your peers who followed the directions of the school will at a loss. If you would like, we can connect you with students from the Whole Language Movement who also received an inferior education.

Remember one key thing, the people who created Common Core Math won't enroll their own students in the program.

Thank you for the admission fee and essay.

UC-Everywhere.

Posted by: CommonCoreKoolAid | March 10, 2016 at 05:11 PM

Nicely stated CommonCoreKoolAid!

Posted by: Beenhereforever | March 10, 2016 at 07:19 PM