# Common Core: A Disaster

#### harpazo

##### Full Member
Do you remember back in the day when adding two digits was so simple? Last year, one of nephews in 5th grade at the time was given the following addition problem.

Here it is:

Common Core Math

Let 4 = 1 + 1 + 1 + 1

Let 5 = 2.5 + 2.5

Break down 4 as follows:

1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = (1/2) + (1/2) +
(1/2) + (1/2) + (1/2) + (1/2) +
(1/2) + (1/2).

Now break down 2.5.

Let 2.5 ÷ 2 = 1.25 = 1 + (1/4).

[1 + (1/4) + 1 + (1/4) + 1 + (1/4)
+ 1 + (1/4)]

So, 4 + 5 = 9 can be expressed as follows:

[(1/2) + (1/2) +
(1/2) + (1/2) + (1/2) + (1/2) +
(1/2) + (1/2)] + [1 + (1/4) + 1 + (1/4) + 1 + (1/4)
+ 1 + (1/4)]

In what way is this fair to young children? We as adults understand the process but it is ridiculous, to say the least. BTW, I like math. This is not cool in my book. What do you say?

#### ksdhart2

##### Senior Member
Er.. well... I mean, it's not wrong to do this, but I'd be seriously alarmed to see this approach seriously being advocated. I can't even see any applicable lessons to be learned from this that could be generalized to other situations.

I went through school years ago, well before the advent of "Common Core," but what I've seen the lesson plans usually consist of teaching numerical literacy, pattern recognition, and just generally encouraging students to become more comfortable working with numbers. Typically, this is accomplished by teaching the student to see when a number is close to 5 or 10 or how to "pull out" a multiple of 5 or 10 (i.e. 13 = 10 + 3 or 27 = 10 + 10 + 5 + 2).

With reference to this specific example, a much more practical method would be to recognize that 4 = 5 - 1, such that 4 + 5 = (5 - 1) + 5 = (5 + 5) - 1 = 10 - 1 = 9.

#### Dr.Peterson

##### Elite Member
This is not Common Core.

Common Core is a set of standards; nothing in them says to do anything like this. (Common Core means several other things as well, some of which are more political or government or business issues, such as publishers' curricula that claim to be CC compliant but have their own deficiencies.) I've seen a lot of nonsense spread around, trying to make Common Core look bad, much of which involves misunderstandings of the intent of a lesson. I don't have enough contact with the real thing to defend or critique it, but I've seen enough not to take anything written against it at face value.

The Common Core approach emphasizes deeper understanding, and that includes encouraging students to invent their own ways to solve problems. Can you show an image of how this was actually presented? In context, it may make more sense. I would hope this is not presented as a recommended procedure, but maybe just showing that you can still get the right answer by going far off the normal path. Or maybe it's a kid's invention, just for fun.

#### Subhotosh Khan

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
This is not Common Core.

Common Core is a set of standards; nothing in them says to do anything like this. (Common Core means several other things as well, some of which are more political or government or business issues, such as publishers' curricula that claim to be CC compliant but have their own deficiencies.) I've seen a lot of nonsense spread around, trying to make Common Core look bad, much of which involves misunderstandings of the intent of a lesson. I don't have enough contact with the real thing to defend or critique it, but I've seen enough not to take anything written against it at face value.

The Common Core approach emphasizes deeper understanding, and that includes encouraging students to invent their own ways to solve problems. Can you show an image of how this was actually presented? In context, it may make more sense. I would hope this is not presented as a recommended procedure, but maybe just showing that you can still get the right answer by going far off the normal path. Or maybe it's a kid's invention, just for fun.
I have 3 grandsons (ages 8 -10) that are doing these types of exercises. Generally these are associated with questions like "how many different ways can you figure out 4 + 5 = 9, using just addition". I personally these can be very instructive for advanced students.

#### harpazo

##### Full Member
Er.. well... I mean, it's not wrong to do this, but I'd be seriously alarmed to see this approach seriously being advocated. I can't even see any applicable lessons to be learned from this that could be generalized to other situations.

I went through school years ago, well before the advent of "Common Core," but what I've seen the lesson plans usually consist of teaching numerical literacy, pattern recognition, and just generally encouraging students to become more comfortable working with numbers. Typically, this is accomplished by teaching the student to see when a number is close to 5 or 10 or how to "pull out" a multiple of 5 or 10 (i.e. 13 = 10 + 3 or 27 = 10 + 10 + 5 + 2).

With reference to this specific example, a much more practical method would be to recognize that 4 = 5 - 1, such that 4 + 5 = (5 - 1) + 5 = (5 + 5) - 1 = 10 - 1 = 9.
This question was given to my nephew on the final exam for his fifth grade class at the end of this year NOT LAST YEAR. He starts 6th grade next week. This is not my question.

#### harpazo

##### Full Member
This is not Common Core.

Common Core is a set of standards; nothing in them says to do anything like this. (Common Core means several other things as well, some of which are more political or government or business issues, such as publishers' curricula that claim to be CC compliant but have their own deficiencies.) I've seen a lot of nonsense spread around, trying to make Common Core look bad, much of which involves misunderstandings of the intent of a lesson. I don't have enough contact with the real thing to defend or critique it, but I've seen enough not to take anything written against it at face value.

The Common Core approach emphasizes deeper understanding, and that includes encouraging students to invent their own ways to solve problems. Can you show an image of how this was actually presented? In context, it may make more sense. I would hope this is not presented as a recommended procedure, but maybe just showing that you can still get the right answer by going far off the normal path. Or maybe it's a kid's invention, just for fun.

#### harpazo

##### Full Member
I have 3 grandsons (ages 8 -10) that are doing these types of exercises. Generally these are associated with questions like "how many different ways can you figure out 4 + 5 = 9, using just addition". I personally these can be very instructive for advanced students.
It is good practice as a take home test but not as a classroom test.

#### Dr.Peterson

##### Elite Member
This question was given to my nephew on the final exam for his fifth grade class at the end of this year NOT LAST YEAR. He starts 6th grade next week. This is not my question.
A test??!!

But as quoted, it isn't even a question. How is it supposed to be answered? You must have left something out (unless most of what you quoted is your nephew's answer).

I'd expect something like this, at most, as part of a class discussion, not a test of any sort. Now I really want to see a picture of it.

#### harpazo

##### Full Member
A test??!!

But as quoted, it isn't even a question. How is it supposed to be answered? You must have left something out (unless most of what you quoted is your nephew's answer).

I'd expect something like this, at most, as part of a class discussion, not a test of any sort. Now I really want to see a picture of it.
What are you talking about? It is a question.
Add 4 + 5 via Common Core Decomposition.
In my opinion, it is anti-American to support and defend Common Core. America is changing for the worst. People see what they want to see. There is a reason we are behind in terms of math and science versus foreign countries.

#### Dr.Peterson

##### Elite Member
What are you talking about? It is a question.
Add 4 + 5 via Common Core Decomposition.
In my opinion, it is anti-American to support and defend Common Core. America is changing for the worst. People see what they want to see. There is a reason we are behind in terms of math and science versus foreign countries.
But you didn't quote it that way! Most of what you showed is an answer to the question, and that is the part you are complaining about - so I have to assume that the whole thing was given to the student. If the question was just, as you said originally, "Add 4 + 5," what is there to complain about that?

In fact, I rather doubt that it actually used the words "Common Core" in the question, as that is not the name of a technique. I would expect it just to say "Add 4 + 5 by decomposition", which is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask. But that would not mean to do what you show, unless someone wanted to be funny. (Was that your nephew's work, or the teacher's? This is why I asked to see the actual paper, in order to distinguish what is being taught from what is being done by a student. And, incidentally, a Common Core teacher is not going to give a good grade to what you showed, because it never got to the answer.)

Common Core is not the problem (though I am not involved with it enough to defend every aspect of it). The problem is in teachers who teach the material poorly (often because they are not trained well), and in authors/publishers who implement it poorly (often because they want money), and in administrators who build a framework such as inappropriate tests around it (maybe because they want power), and in politicians who embed it in a messed-up system, and so on. If those are the things you are calling Common Core, then I may agree with you. But teaching how to add by decomposition (done reasonably) is a good thing.

#### harpazo

##### Full Member
But you didn't quote it that way! Most of what you showed is an answer to the question, and that is the part you are complaining about - so I have to assume that the whole thing was given to the student. If the question was just, as you said originally, "Add 4 + 5," what is there to complain about that?

In fact, I rather doubt that it actually used the words "Common Core" in the question, as that is not the name of a technique. I would expect it just to say "Add 4 + 5 by decomposition", which is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask. But that would not mean to do what you show, unless someone wanted to be funny. (Was that your nephew's work, or the teacher's? This is why I asked to see the actual paper, in order to distinguish what is being taught from what is being done by a student. And, incidentally, a Common Core teacher is not going to give a good grade to what you showed, because it never got to the answer.)

Common Core is not the problem (though I am not involved with it enough to defend every aspect of it). The problem is in teachers who teach the material poorly (often because they are not trained well), and in authors/publishers who implement it poorly (often because they want money), and in administrators who build a framework such as inappropriate tests around it (maybe because they want power), and in politicians who embed it in a messed-up system, and so on. If those are the things you are calling Common Core, then I may agree with you. But teaching how to add by decomposition (done reasonably) is a good thing.
Let's not turn this into a battlefield. I posted the question as given. Can we move on now?

#### Dr.Peterson

##### Elite Member
Sure. This is not a topic I fight over.

I'm just curious to know whether the answer you wrote was what the teacher actually taught, or your nephew's work (maybe even as a joke). If it is from the teacher, as I originally inferred, then it is in fact evidence against the curriculum. If not, then there's nothing to discuss.

You may certainly choose to drop a discussion you initiated.

#### harpazo

##### Full Member
Sure. This is not a topic I fight over.

I'm just curious to know whether the answer you wrote was what the teacher actually taught, or your nephew's work (maybe even as a joke). If it is from the teacher, as I originally inferred, then it is in fact evidence against the curriculum. If not, then there's nothing to discuss.

You may certainly choose to drop a discussion you initiated.
1. My nephew did not do the math work. I did.

2. He got 100 percent for excellent decomposition of two digits being added. I got the 100 percent for him.

3. My work boost his grade from C to A minus. Not bad for 5th grade math.

4. He will start middle school next week.

5. My work was PRECISELY what the teacher was seeking.

#### Dr.Peterson

##### Elite Member
Amazing.
• You claim to present evidence of how bad Common Core is, by showing something you created yourself.
• You tell us you cheated for your nephew, on what you say was a final exam (post #5), and an in-class test (post #7).
• You're proud of having earned 100% in 5th grade math, and think that doing so helped your nephew.
• You claim what you wrote was exactly what the teacher was looking for, when it doesn't even reach an answer (namely , 9).
I also have to ponder the fact that "Add 4 + 5" would never be found on a Grade 5 final exam. In Common Core, it is Grade 2 level -- in fact, at that point, students are expected to have memorized this fact (not to need decomposition any more). In Grade 5, students are being tested on much more advanced material.

I'm not sure what to believe.

#### Otis

##### Senior Member
… I'm not sure what to believe.
I just saw this thread. My first thought after post #1 was, "he's making this up".

There's plenty of evidence that harpazo is a fibber, and he's regularly careless in both copying information and writing English, so referenced information in harpazo's posts cannot be taken at face value.

At another site, he told people he's a math teacher (followed by telling a student that y=mx+b is the slope formula.)

#### harpazo

##### Full Member
I just saw this thread. My first thought after post #1 was, "he's making this up".

There's plenty of evidence that harpazo is a fibber, and he's regularly careless in both copying information and writing English, so referenced information in harpazo's posts cannot be taken at face value.

At another site, he told people he's a math teacher (followed by telling a student that y=mx+b is the slope formula.)

I never said I am a teacher. I never said y = mx + b is the slope formula. Show me evidence. Evidence...your best friend. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!

#### LCKurtz

##### Junior Member
To paraphrase a quote: I don't know exactly what a troll is, but I know one when I see one. Ignore harpazo.

#### Romsek

##### Full Member
I never said I am a teacher. I never said y = mx + b is the slope formula. Show me evidence. Evidence...your best friend. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!
Why don't you just go away. You're like a child running around at a polite adult cocktail party screaming "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!".

Can't you find anything more productive to do with your life?

#### harpazo

##### Full Member
Why don't you just go away. You're like a child running around at a polite adult cocktail party screaming "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!".

Can't you find anything more productive to do with your life?
I did not see Abbott and Costello.

#### topsquark

##### Full Member
Well, at the very least harpazo did post a question that has some relevance, no matter what grade or philosophy of teaching may actually be involved here.

-Dan