From New York to California, Parents Frustrated with Common Core

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Parents across the country are facing complete and utter frustration over Common Core.

When Staten Island Community Education Council president Michael Reilly tried to help his daughter with her math homework, he was left in pure frustration as she completed a simple division problem using pre-algebraic equations.

Reilly posted a photo of the math problem on his Facebook page, on which he gained almost 200 comments from equally confused parents in a matter of minutes.

SILive.com recently asked parents about their thoughts concerning Common Core standards.  The response?  Most parents believe their children to be “guinea pigs” of the government and are frustrated trying to help even their first-graders complete their homework.

“Is this how division is being taught now?  I would have never finished school!  This is insane  We are definitely making things much more difficult than they have to be,” wrote Von Breeze.

Many parents in California have the same viewpoint as they rebel in an effort to keep some of the elements of the “old math” ways alive, as they believe the new standards will keep their children from taking Calculus, which they view as a key course to college admissions.

“Our community feels more comfortable with the traditional approach,” said Katherine Baker, an administrator in the high-performing Palo Alto Unified School District.

Those who support the standards claim they provide a solid background in math for students, mimicking high-performing countries by collecting topics into related groups and placing emphasis on problem-solving skills over rote memorization.

Supporters say Common Core changes the fundamental way math is taught, and that students should not be placed in different tracks upon entering middle school.

However, high-performing districts that have adopted the standards continue to do so, placing students on a fast track to take calculus in high school as a result of parent protests.

Piedmont Unified created one track and required parents to sign up to “opt out” if they wanted their children to take accelerated math classes.  Even when math teachers discouraged the separate track, almost 25% of the middle school students enrolled.

Other districts, such as East Side Union High in San Jose, require students to take a summer course or extra period if they wish to participate in calculus by their senior year.

However, many districts have simply maintained the separate tracks.

Last year, California fourth-graders placed 46th in math nationwide on the National Assessment of Education Progress.

“If you don’t think your attitude and feeling about homework is getting through to your kids, you’re mistaken,” wrote good_grief_2.  “Your kids know what you’re feeling even if you don’t verbalize it. If you aren’t approaching homework with enthusiasm and excitement, your kids won’t either.”