MICHAEL SNYDER–Whenever you let federal bureaucrats get their hands on anything they are probably going to ruin it.  During the Obama administration, the Department of Education spearheaded a transformation of American education that was absolutely breathtaking.  Over a period of about five years, Common Core standards were implemented in almost every state in the entire nation.  Unfortunately, this has resulted in a huge step backward for public education in this country.  Common Core has been called “state-sponsored child abuse”, and it is a big reason why U.S. students are scoring so poorly on standardized tests compared to much of the rest of the world.

According to Wikipedia, at one point 46 states had adopted Common Core, but now some states are having second thoughts…

46 states initially adopted the Common Core State Standards, although implementation has not been uniform. At least 12 states have introduced legislation to repeal the standards outright,[1] and Indiana has since withdrawn from the standards.

Sadly, many parents don’t even understand how dramatically our system of education has been tampered with.  In her book entitled The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids, Joy Pullmann exposes how the Gates Foundation has been one of the key players in the effort to get Common Core introduced into classrooms all over America…

Organized in seven chapters, her book describes how the Gates Foundation promoted and continues to promote one extremely wealthy couple’s uninformed, unsupported, and unsupportable ideas on education for other people’s children while their own children are enrolled in a non-Common Cored private school. It explains how (but not exactly why) the Gates Foundation helped to centralize control of public education in the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains why parents, teachers, local school boards, and state legislators were the last to learn how the public schools their local and state taxes supported had been nationalized without Congressional knowledge or permission; and why they were expected to believe that their local public schools were now accountable for what and how they teach … not to the local and state taxpayers who fund them or to locally-elected school boards that by law are still supposed to set education policies not already determined by their state legislature … but to a distant bureaucracy in exchange for money to their state department of education to close “achievement gaps” between unspecified groups.

But this isn’t just an issue about control.  The truth is that the approach to teaching basic fundamentals such as how to add and how to subtract is fundamentally different under Common Core.

Let me share just three examples that show how much Common Core is changing the way that U.S. students learn math.  All of these examples have been floating around Facebook, and if you have never seen these before they are likely to make you quite angry.

If I asked you to subtract 12 from 32, how would you do it?  Well, the “new way” is much, much more complicated than how we were all taught to do it…

If that first one seemed bizarre to you, than you really aren’t going to like this one…

And this last one was so confusing that a parent with a degree in engineering decided to include his own commentary on his child’s homework…

How are kids supposed to function in the real world if this is how they are learning to do basic math?

Personally, I am going to teach my daughter that 9 + 6 equals 15.  But that isn’t how it is supposed to be done under Common Core.  You can watch a video of a teacher explaining the very convoluted Common Core way to solve that math equation right here.

And of course it isn’t just math that is the problem.  Common Core is systematically “dumbing down” our young people, and that may help to explain why the average U.S. college freshman now reads at a seventh grade level.

So what is the answer?

The first step in fixing our education system is to repeal Common Core.  But even in red states such as Idaho there is a lot of resistance

Since their inception, the Idaho Core Standards have been enmeshed in controversy.

Some legislators and citizens have pushed for a repeal of the Idaho Core Standards, the state’s version of Common Core standards in math and English language arts. Those repeal efforts have gone nowhere in the Legislature.

I don’t know what is wrong with our legislators.  The Republicans have full control in this state, and so there is absolutely no excuse for not getting something done.

RELATED: Are you sick of not being able to hear clearly?

As I end this article, I want to give you an idea of just how far the quality of education in America has fallen over the past 100 years.  In Kentucky, an eighth grade exam from 1912 made a lot of headlines when it was donated to the Bullitt County History Museum.  As you can see, it is doubtful whether many of our college students would be able to pass such an exam today…

  • McGannahan Skyjellyfetti

    I have eleven fingers.
    First I count them on my right hand…….One, two, three, four, five.
    Next I will count the fingers on my left hand….ten, nine, eight, seven, six.
    Six plus five equals eleven.
    See Common Core works!

  • darthangel

    I am a math teacher who left the field after being required to teach straight common core in my final year. I had developed a math program for teaching geometry that drew from multiple sources and I had students building models of geodesic domes and platonic solids, working out logic puzzles and reading sections of Euclid (which they were required to re-write in less words) – Students loved the class and I had a number of students tell me it was the best math class they ever had. I always welcomed parent visitors, and only a bad teacher would not do that. I had other teachers come visit and observe my classes to learn activities they could use.

    I moved to a new state and thought I would continue teaching but after one year, I knew I was wasting my time if I had to teach common core. The kids hated it, and I realized I would become the kind of teacher I hated if I went along with such an obviously poor curriculum. I did communicate with the administration that I had better ways to reach kids and be rigorous, but they were too afraid and said I had to just lecture from the book. Someone with a degree in basket weaving could just read off the examples and terms from the book. The reason I went into education is to be better than the teachers who numbed everyone down.

    The three examples above are all the same issue, and they are easy to understand for a math major, but only a cruel person would teach math to kids that way. The examples are meant to illustrate a mental technique that is only valuable if you can do it quickly in your head without writing anything down. Yes, if I want to mentally subtract 15 from 32, for example, I can simply imagine that if I add a 5, a 10 and a 2 to 15, I will have 32, therefore the sum of 5, 10 and 2, which is 17, is the difference between 32 and 15. That is only for people who are already enthusiastic enough about math to want to know quick mental shortcuts. To force kids to write out this process is flat out evil, not only because there are simpler written methods, but because the whole point of this method is to challenge yourself to do the process mentally. There are actually better mental methods as well. Again, this is only for people who like to be challenged because they already understand the easier methods.

    One of the major problems with common core is that it was designed by people who do not work with children and do not understand cognitive development. In other words, education “experts” looked at what information children should have by age 18 and simply divided it up into the 12 grades, without considering what concepts would be most engaging to different age levels and what mathematical ideas would relate to the lives of students and different grade levels. It may appear “progressive” to brag that your third graders are doing fractions, but in reality you are only hurting those third graders and reinforcing the idea that math is abstract and not applicable to the real world because they do not yet have the capacity to understand how to use those fractions except by imitating the teacher. A good math teacher is always looking for what a particular age level can do without mere imitation. Any math teacher that ONLY teaches students to imitate is engaging in child abuse.

    • gmatch

      …teachers should not indulge themselves.

  • RoHa

    Wow! They had education in the US in 1912. When did it stop? I haven’t seen any sign of it during the past seventy years.

    • George_Costanza

      Rockefeller said, circa 1900, to bring them down to a dumb state. Smart enough to work the machines, not smart enough to realize how they are getting screwed over.

  • gmatch

    Math needs excellent teachers. Those are so rare in America, that the state of Texas ‘imported’ Turkish math teachers and it seems its successfully.