Tuesday, April 7, 2015

There is no 'Common Core math' -- only good and bad teaching materials | MLive.com

There is no 'Common Core math' -- only good and bad teaching materials | MLive.com:

There is no 'Common Core math' -- only good and bad teaching materials

Lately it seems like I come across the term "Common Core Math" almost daily. I hear it in conversations: "I don't like Common Core Math."
I see it on Facebook: "Common Core Math - If you have 4 pencils and 7 apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof?"
I read about it in articles: A dad with a master's degree can't understand his second grade son's homework because of Common Core Math.
But is there such a thing as Common Core Math? Does it really exist?
Michigan, along with 44 other states, adopted theCommon Core State Standards in 2010. Once they were adopted, educators across the nation began the work of learning the standards and aligning their curriculum, resources and teaching methods to the standards.
As educators began the work of looking for Common Core aligned resources, publishers began the work of creating those resources. Several of the more popular publisher-created resources include Everyday Math, Go Math, Math Expressions, enVision, and Saxton Math.
Some publishers put "Common Core Aligned" stickers on resources they had previously sold, but did not change any of the content. Other publishers added a few extra lessons or handouts, did not take anything out, and called it Common Core aligned. This produced a problem, because a good, new resource actually takes years, not months, to create.
When a resource is created it needs to be researched, written, field tested in classrooms, and adjusted based on teacher feedback. When done correctly and thoroughly this process takes time. However, many publishers did not take the time needed to create good Common Core aligned materials, and as a result, there were bad resources created and bad resources purchased. This caused frustration for teachers, students, and families.
It's important to note that there have always been bad resources out there, and districts have purchased them, despite their best efforts. However in the past if a student was given a bad resource as an assignment the resource, or teacher, was blamed, not the standards.
It's almost laughable to think about a parent blaming the Grade Level Content Expectations (Michigan's old standards) for a bad assignment that their child was given prior to the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. However, that is what is happening.
Today when a bad resource is given as an assignment, the blame is placed on the Common Core State Standards, and not the resource. This shift is detrimental.
The Common Core State Standards are a set of standards. They are not a resource. A resource is a lesson plan, a worksheet, a homework assignment or a test.
The Common Core State Standards are a set of standards that say what a child should master by the end of a grade level, just like our old standards in Michigan used to say.
Districts choose how to teach the standards and what resource to use while teaching them. Sometimes districts choose a bad resource when that is the only option out there, There is no 'Common Core math' -- only good and bad teaching materials | MLive.com: