August 31, 2015

Quick! What’s 15-7?

While obviously the answer is eight, new Common Core textbooks have a rather confusing way of getting there. According to the textbook, students should employ “subtraction sequences” based off of 10 in order to find the answer.

#stopcommoncore #CommonCore Elementary math problem pic.twitter.com/u0Oe8oECPz

— Margie Busby (@MargieBusby) October 3, 2013

While C is the correct answer, it is confusing why the textbook is making something relatively simple into something far more challenging.

Common Core is a new set of education standards that have been adopted by most states.

Addition is given the same treatment as subtraction: apparently in Common Core land, numbers after 10 do not matter.

3rd grade common core math. See image. I have a math minor and it doesn't make sense to me. pic.twitter.com/gTuJmLUN6e

— News12WX RichHoffman (@hoffmanrich) September 30, 2013

Other Common Core math questions are just plain confusing. Take for instance this sample question from a New York State exam for third graders:

There were 54 apples set aside as a snack for 3 classes of students. The teachers divided up the apples and placed equal amounts on 9 separate trays. If each of the 3 classes received the same number of trays, how many apples did each class get?

A) 2

B) 6

C) 18

D) 27

While the answer is C, I fail to comprehend why the second sentence was added to the problem. The problem is asking, in plain, non-apple terms, 54 divided by three. There was no reason to mention nine trays, or equal amounts of apples on each tray. The question is designed to frustrate and confuse third graders, and this cannot be helpful in the long run. Do we want our third graders to hate math?

Meanwhile, the United States continues to lag in math competency.

While math was never really my strongest subject, I had a pretty strong grasp on basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Now I’m thanking my lucky stars that I learned math in the pre-Common Core era.