Just How Weird Has the Common Core Backlash Gotten?

Last night, comedian Louis C.K. took a stand on Twitter:

Like many other parents, he was responding to new strategies for teaching math that try to prompt students to think about numbers, quantities, and various relationships between them in unconventional ways.


These sorts of problems are designed to make it difficult for students to use familiar shortcuts and standard algorithms. Utilized well, this should help them think more critically about the problem they’re solving and its components. This is what’s called “number sense,” and it’s not the sort of thing you can learn by memorizing a single shortcut for solving division problems.

But whatever the purpose of these new math problems, they’re garnering plenty of attention from parents like C.K. Since this new wave of Common Core skeptics is only just now arriving to a debate that’s been simmering for some time now, I thought I’d write a primer on the movement they’re joining:

Last month, in Arizona, a state senator (and gubernatorial candidate) called the standards “pornographic.” Common Core protesters in Florida agreed, but added that the standards were “communistic,” and contributing to the “Islamification” of American education. Utah activists agreed…Finally, inevitably, Florida protesters saw Hitler lurking in the standards. A columnist in Georgia saw both the Hitler Youth and “the seeds of socialism.”

Click here to read the rest at Talking Points Memo!

[Cross-posted at Ed Central]

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Conor Williams

Conor Williams is a Senior Researcher in the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation. Find him on Twitter: @ConorPWilliams