Fact checking “Common Core Math” news stories

Here it is.

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Yet another, “Oh my goodness…can you believe the Common Core is doing this to our kids and families?” news story.  After a friend shared this article with me in jest, I thought to myself, “I am a curriculum director, former math teacher and relatively informed educator, do the Common Core standards really prescribe this type of math writing?”

So, I decided to download the Common Core math standards.

I searched for the phrase “check” and did not see any references to the standards prescribing how to write checks.  Next, the news story referred to an elementary school, so I read every math standard for grades K-5 (that’s roughly 30 pages of the standards document).  I looked specifically for phrases suggesting how students should write, add or count.  Here are a few that stood out:

  • Count to 100 by ones and by tens. (K.CC.1)
  • Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects) (K.CC.3)
  • Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral. (1.NBT.1)
  • Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.2 By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers. (2.OA.2)

…and I eventually came across this one:

Read and write numbers to 1000 using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form (2.NBT.3)

As you can see, it is evident the Common Core standards do not dictate Xs and Os in place of numbers.  Perhaps a math textbook publisher suggested this strategy, however it is clear after reading the standards this type of writing is not a required instructional approach.

As I’ve blogged previously, there’s no such thing as the Common Core police.  Until educators begin to discern the differences between the intent of the standards and textbook publishers who freely and with absolutely no regulation stamp “Common Core aligned” on their materials, we’ll continue to see more of these types of uninformed news stories.

Please consider printing this post to hang in your local teachers’ lounge and/or sharing it with friends on social media.  Let’s help each other fact check Common Core news stories! 

One thought on “Fact checking “Common Core Math” news stories

  1. Thanks for the explanation. As someone who has grown children, I have not really gotten what everyone means with the common core math. Your explanation makes it a lot clearer now.

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