The nation is constantly told by a what’s become a shrinking, but still influential few that Common Core Standards “will prepare students to compete in a global workforce.”
Such seedy used car sales sloganeering when coupled with the realities of what’s going on in classrooms and homes across the nation. In Florida, the chickens have come home to roost. Jeanelle Wellhoner, a fifth grade teacher in Ocala pens an essay for the Ocala Star-Banner which provides a glimpse of the nightmare.
I taught you three different ways to divide multidigit numbers except the one way everyone else in the world was taught. I tried my best to teach it to you, but since I was never taught this way, I know I confused you quite a bit. When you went home to your mom and dad confused as to how to solve a division problem with pictures and partial quotients, your parents — out of desperation — showed you how they were taught. We call that the standard algorithm, which in Common Core is a dirty word in fifth grade.
And then, I did the unthinkable. I gave you a zero because you didn’t do it my way, the Common Core way. I told you to use partial quotients, and you didn’t. I told you to draw a model, and you didn’t. I didn’t care that you got them all right. You got your correct answer the wrong way. I watched your face fall and tears well up in your eyes. I felt terrible, but I had to do it because that’s how you’re going to be tested on division.And then, I expected you to turn improper fractions into mixed numerators, but I didn’t teach you the standard algorithm for division, which made it that much more difficult for you. How could I have expected you to do that when I didn’t teach you how to divide easily in the first place?I did this to you with every single math skill I taught. No, you can’t do it your parent’s way. You must do it my way. My way is the right way; your way is the wrong way. I don’t care if your answer is right. I don’t care if it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t care if it takes you 20 minutes per problem instead of one. I watched your self-esteem plummet.