August 15, 2014
Get involved in the dialogue for mathematics learning of all students! Diane J. Briars, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, urges us all – especially parents and teachers – to “distinguish the Common Core State Standards for Math facts from the fallacies” in her message, Core Truths.
“A little more than four years ago, on June 2, 2010, I was sitting with a small group of mathematics educators in the Peachtree Ridge High School auditorium in Suwanee, Georgia, on the occasion of the release of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Governors, state and district education leaders, business leaders, teacher union leaders, and a number of classroom teachers all described their strong support for CCSS and how having common, rigorous, world-class college- and career-ready standards would benefit both their students and the nation. Widespread adoption of CCSS was an unprecedented opportunity for systemic improvement in mathematics education in the United States. It would foster collaboration among adopting states and enable them to focus attention and resources on improving teaching, learning, and assessment to increase student achievement, instead of spending significant time, energy, effort, and dollars on creating and arguing about their own state standards.
Fast-forward four years, and where are we? While some states are moving forward, focusing on Common Core State Standards implementation, others are again becoming embroiled in public debates about the standards, and these debates threaten to squander the opportunity for systemic improvement that CCSS provides. With respect to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM), what I find most troubling is that much of the rhetoric is based on false or incomplete knowledge about the standards and their development, or it confuses the standards with implementation activities, issues, and policies, including testing policies. Such arguments have little potential to improve mathematics education. Distinguishing CCSSM facts from fallacy is essential both for implementing the standards effectively and for engaging in thoughtful, reasoned critique of them for future refinements.
Two important features of CCSSM that are being ignored or misrepresented are their research base and development process.”
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