Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Common Core Math Experiment

All U.S. public schools except those in a half dozen states have started teaching the new national math standards called Common Core. These math standards are very controversial for several reasons. Many Americans reject the notion of federal control of what has been a state and local responsibility. Common Core includes concepts and instruction methods that are experimental, new and untested. Some experts claim the Common Core standards are inferior to the previous standards of many states, and that, rather than strengthening U.S. students' performance on international tests, the new standards will cause U.S. students' performance to decline. One math expert and former Department of Education official who analyzed the Common Core math standards and found that while Common Core standards "may be higher than some state standards, they are certainly lower than the best of them." He notes that Common core doesn't teach division until grade 6, and that the common core standards "tend to be wordy and hard to read." He said Common Core chose an experimental approach to geometry that has not been successfully tried anywhere in the world. Another expert, Professor James Milgram of Stanford, the only professional mathematician on the Common Core Committee, refused to sign off on them and testified that Common Core standards are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and fall further behind in grades 8 to 12.

Common Core Standards is a political document, written at a very low level. The authors do not recognize why the math programs in high achieving countries have dramatically better results. Another expert concluded that, under Common Core, all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government, so no state will have any reason to aspire To first-rate standards.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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