Here are Everyday Math's comments:

*On March 10, 2010 the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, Achieve, and other organizations issued draft*

*Common Core Standards*

*(CCS) for K-12 mathematics and reading. We at CEMSE have examined the mathematics standards for Grades K-6 and have found them to be seriously flawed.*

*If we are to have national standards, then those standards should be designed to prepare students for life in the 21st century. We believe that the proposed CCS standards for mathematics in Grades K-6 would promote a back-to-basics curriculum that ignores the profound changes that have taken place in the last 50 years. CCS’s largely paper-and-pencil approach to mathematics in K-6 is obsolete.*

*We believe CCS’s K-6 mathematics standards have seven serious shortcomings:*

1.An overemphasis on paper-and-pencil arithmetic.

1.An overemphasis on paper-and-pencil arithmetic.

*2.Inadequate exposure to concepts of data and probability.*

*3.A disregard of existing and emerging technology.*

*4.An outmoded approach to geometry.*

*5.A neglect of applications of mathematics.*

*6.An interpretation of “focus” that ignores how people learn.*

*7.An overemphasis on teaching by telling.*

*We urge the CCS Initiative to revise its 3/10/10 draft standards to address arithmetic, data, probability, technology, geometry, applications, and pedagogy in more forward-looking and research-grounded ways. Elementary school children need a broader approach to arithmetic, a useful grounding in basic data and probability, realistic and interesting applications, access to technology, a geometry curriculum based on research and enabled by technology, and a pedagogy that fits how they actually learn.*

## 18 comments:

It's quite incredible. They're pulling out all of the very old (and discredited) arguments once again. I started reading their "long response" and I felt like I went with Peabody and Sherman in the Wayback Machine.

"The proposed CCS will do little to correct the major problems with today's elementary school mathematics curriculum: an excessive focus on rote mastery of facts and procedures and too little attention to understanding and problem solving."

Excuse me? We've had EM at our schools for 7 years, and before that, we had MathLand for I don't know how long. I think they cut and pasted that comment from a document that's at least ten years old.

"It may be that some on the Mathematics Working Group, perhaps over-generalizing from their personal experience in school, underestimate the cost of bringing all children to mastery on, say, decimal long division with the traditional algorithm."

How about bringing kids up to mastery on anything!

So it's a cost issue? How about the old nugget that these people only want what they had when they were growing up.

They even play the 21st Century card.

What bothers me the most is that they know that Everyday Math is not good for preparing kids for the most rigorous math sequence in high school; the one that leads to AP calculus and a potential career in math, science, or engineering. In spite of that, they claim the higher ground, both pedagogically and content-wise. At best, they could argue that EM is better for those who would never get to that track, but EM helps ensure that kids will never get there in the first place. Just ask the parents of the kids taking geometry in 9th grade.

What does this mean: "An interpretation of “focus” that ignores how people learn."

"An interpretation of “focus” that ignores how people learn."

Spiraling. I suppose that's the biggest reason they don't like it. That, and the fact that the standard uses the term: "standard algorithm".

#2 and #5 may be legitimate concerns but I'm not going to take the EDM folks' word for it. #1 is profoundly disturbing to me...

Boy, not a speck of humility. Or irony, for that matter.

The whole baby data/probability thing is funny to me because my youngest totally missed all of the lessons on that due to the fact that he was accelerated to pre-algebra by the 4th grade. Every time I would check on the state tests to see which problems he would miss, it was always the probability ones, although he reads charts and histograms pretty easily.

One might think he would have a gap or something, but he's making all A's in AP Stats as a freshman. Apparently he didn't miss anything.

SusanS

1. Mental math is fine--as long as, by the end of 6th grade, students can add, subtract, multiply and divide. If they can't perform arithmetic by the end of 6th grade, no amount of "non paper-and-pencil arithmetic" will impress me.

2. Data and probability should be reserved for older children, who have mastered arithmetic, and thus have the tools to understand the more advanced concepts of data and probability. Counting objects and graphing is great fun, but it's very time consuming, and the time could be used more productively for young children.

3. Calculators do not help young children learn math. I have no idea how one cannot disregard "emerging technology." That one sounds like a call for open-ended spending on a succession of half-baked technology programs. Hmm, does EM have a tech-based program to sell?

Elementary school children need a broader approach to arithmetic, a useful grounding in basic data and probability, realistic and interesting applications, access to technology, a geometry curriculum based on research and enabled by technology, and a pedagogy that fits how they actually learn.Has the Everyday Math company invested money in developing an exciting, technology-based curriculum which caters to children's supposed learning styles? Does that program perhaps have units with videos about Exciting Stem Careers?

Cranberry- is mental math even the concern of the EDM folks? What I personally interpreted complaint #1 to mean is that the standards stress teaching the traditional algorithms rather than manipulatives and all those notoriously inefficient non-standard ways of problem solving.

From the long response under complaint #1:

"The proposed CCS will do little to correct the major problems with today's elementary school mathematics curriculum: an excessive focus on rote mastery of facts and procedures and too little attention to understanding and problem-solving."Yeah, because everyone KNOWS that the big problem with U.S. students is that they have mastered their math facts and procedures.

"CCS' heavy emphasis on pencil-and-paper arithmetic in the elementary grades will encourage children and teachers to see mathematics as largely manipulating marks on paper and following rules"Yeah, because everybody KNOWS that it's so much better to use manipulatives, calculators, and drawing pretty pictures as a "crutch" to solve problems.

"CCS' emphasis on 'the standard algorithm' fails to recognize how people calculate has changed since those algorithms were devised....The criteria that should be applied to decide which paper and pencil methods children should learn ought not to be the same today as they were 50 years ago."Yeah, because everybody KNOWS the invention of the calculator and Excel has changed the fundamental arithmetic.

As my Gen Y brother would say OMG!

I agree about negative numbers though, do the CCS really not bring them in until 6th grade? One of my irritations with my daughter's primary grades math is that she was taught that the answer was zero if a larger number was subtracted from a smaller. That was with EM.

"One of my irritations with my daughter's primary grades math is that she was taught that the answer was zero if a larger number was subtracted from a smaller."Please tell me you are telling a lie to bait us. Please ...

-Mark R.

Crimson Wife, I thought they might be referring to the partial sums method of addition. 17 + 15 = (10+10) + (7+5) = 20 + 12 = 32. The problem's broken up into a larger grouping of easier problems, which are brought together in the end. That can be a mental method, rather than paper and pencil. It's more useful as a mental method than as a paper & pencil method.

Please tell me you are telling a lie to bait us. Please ...I'm really not. I found it utterly unbelievable at the time (about 6 years ago) and refused to go along with it. The conflict made things a bit difficult for my daughter for a time, I'm afraid. I've assumed ever since that this was a characteristic of EM, but perhaps I have been mistaken.

It sounds like if the EM folks were writing a driver's ed manual, they would insist that student drivers demonstrate their understanding of the hows of driving by explaining the principles of internal combustion (corroborated with creative, colorful drawings, of course). Anything else would make the students be the equivalent of trained monkeys, since the students wouldn't truly be "driving."

Oh, and whenever the students actually got around to driving, they'd have to list in gory detail each step involved, from the moment they touched the handle to open the door until they parked it at their destination and locked it.

I'm tutoring a 7th grader whose algebra teacher insists (for weekly "challenge" (i.e., extra credit) problems) on slavishly following the 4 steps of problem-solving. Answer alone gets only one point. I understand the importance of showing one's work, especially at this level, but the detailed explanation galls me, since it's doing nothing but reiterating the work already shown.

The thing about negative numbers gets me. My father taught me about negative numbers when I was six, because it had galled him when they appeared in junior high. Caused me nothing but trouble, as teachers kept saying "yes, you're right, now be quiet and don't confuse the others".

I'm guilty of telling kids that "you can't" subtract a bigger number from a smaller one. It's just easier not to explain. It would mean a whole fascinating digression which the kid would love, because we aren't doing any work.

When a 6th grader sees 5 1/5 - 2 3/5 he has this terrible urge to subtract 1/5 from 3/5. But no! You must take one from the 5 units and cut them into fifths:

4 6/5 - 2 3/5.

(I wish i could use a < pre > tag. I wanted to use vertical format.)

I realize that these 6th graders are not as far along as

your6th graders. It's not that they're dumb, they just haven't been shown. God bless all good elementary teachers who want to have fun with the kids, but push them to learn their fractions anyway.I promise that those kids will have more authentic critical thinking time when they are setting up proportion problems and solving equations than if we just have to show them how to use a calculator to get a (rounded) decimal answer.

Even the workbooks use rounding to do addition.

32+23 = please approximate = 30+20 = 50.

I simply tell my eldest.. not in my world.

Breaking it down into 30+20+2+3 = is not easier. It's confusing. If you can add 0+0 easily you can add 2+3 easily.

I haven't done a lot of math since we redid the Gr 3 curriculum. We tend to work with shorter booklets and the parts he's confused with. But, he's getting A's in Gr 5 and I'm convinced 100% it's because he knows 12+12, 12-12, 12*12 and 12/12 at his fingertips. Nothing he enjoys more than pissing off his 12yr old cousin who still can't add on her fingers - yet her parents are primary teachers - by giving her change in Monopoly in various denominations... and her telling him "he's wrong".. BTW... he never is.

As someone who still has trouble with permutations and combinations (my logical brain has trouble with it)... there's a reason Statistics/Algebra is taught in highschool - it's even more fun taught using Calculus in University - NOT!!!. You need a firm foundation in math first.

I think these comments are a red herring calculated to make CCS as currently written seem to be too traditional.

These comments were released early and publicly for a reason. Most of these comments will be rejected but enough changes will be made in response to proclaim the final standards to be "balanced".

The added language plus the "understand" omnipresence in CCS will then allow for the actual implementation to be about more fuzzy nsf-funded textbooks.

After all the same federal govt pushing CCS, even if they have to tie it to Title 1, just increased MSP funding from $180 million to $300 million in the FY 2011 budget.

Sounds like they're expecting a banner year!!

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