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Stossel: The flaws in Common Core

By Doug Powers  •  January 2, 2014 01:01 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

At Reason.com, John Stossel has a good column about Common Core educational standards. In part of the article, Stossel discusses math problems that are worded in a way so as to be almost intentionally confusing in order to be able to awards points just for effort:

Common Core de-emphasizes correct answers by awarding kids points for reasoning, even when they don’t quite get there.

A video went viral online that showed a worried mom, Karen Lamoreaux—a member of the group Arkansas Against Common Core—complaining to the Arkansas Board of Education about complicatedly worded math problems meant for fourth-graders. She read to the Board this question: “Mr. Yamato’s class has 18 students. If the class counts around by a number and ends with 90, what number did they count by?”


Here’s the video Stossel referred to:

A few days ago I ran across a similar example. This question is found in Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt’s Common Core “Math Expressions” on page 166 (PDF). Not horrible until you realize this is a problem for second graders:

Do the people who write Common Core curriculum get paid by the word?

Also, Common Core proponents like to say the program is “voluntary,” and as Stossel also points out, yes, it is — as long as the school system(s) declining to use the standards don’t mind giving up federal funding.

(h/t Ace of Spades)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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