Math

Common Core: A Rant from a Mathematics/Computer Science Major

In recent weeks, I have been seeing articles and comments on Common Core techniques, specifically what my friends have so lovingly named “Dyslexic Maths”. It’s interesting to see all of the different opinoins from everyone (and I’m not going to lie, watching parents and teachers duke it out online has been fantastic as well. You have no idea how funny it is to watch a bunch of people who think they are right just scream online at each other.)

I’m not here to pick sides, I just to show how this can be a good thing for our outdated school system, and could potentionally add to the weight of ideas and theories children may not have to know once looking for higher learning or a career.

This method has actually been around for a while, it just hasn’t been taught to a large amount of children because it was primarily for number-dyslexic children. My friend remembers being taught this, because he wasn’t able to understand how taking away 24 from 40 is 16, unless it was broken down into numbers he could work with.
Exposing this method to all students could help them understand the break down of numbers, and could possibly help teachers and parents identify if their student does have the number-based dyslexia.

The problem may be that some students could have already become comfortable with simply subtracting the “old way”, taking a number, then “taking away” a different number to get an answer. If they know this way, and are comfortable with this way, breaking it down may cause some un-needed frustration.
And what about when they get to upper math, like algebra. Say they have to solve for x in the equation x+233=750. They wouldn’t have the time to subtract that by breaking it down, and personally I’d rather my future children be able to do math in their head than rely on technology.
Another problem is the parents, who by default were taught how to subtract the original way. They will have no idea how to help their children. And I know internet is a common thing, but there are instances in more rural areas there is a lack of internet, and even public libraries. What do families do then? Talk to the teacher is an option, but I’ve seen the inside of a kindergarden classroom in New York. It’s not pretty, and a large amount of families either don’t have the time and/or energy to talk to the teacher, or just don’t care. I know it’s sad to say it, but I’ve seen children who should be in 12-1-1 classrooms, but parents won’t consent to a mental check up of the child even.

So, I wish we could teach all students the way they need to be taught in the beginning, but even teachers will tell you there is a lack of time and not enough adults in the room to cater to each students needs. The only way I can think that this will work is if you allow for occurances where students will understand subtraction without this method, and introduce it to another way for students to understand subtraction. Don’t punish students who already have one method down, but allow for others to learn it.