What Do We Have in Common with Common Core?By Ari L. Noonan @ 8:00 AM January 29, 2014
If the trouble with common sense is that it ain’t common, as an old man said a century ago, the same might be judged of the uncompromising complexities of the new Common Core curriculum, which is slightly complicated, decidedly uncommon.
Were dense-at-a-glance Common Core methods truly common, or pedestrian, would it be necessary for the School District to sponsor a series of parent forums, traveling from campus to campus with different foci at each stop?
The Common Core traveling party, headed by the remarkably clear thinking Asst. Supt. Dr. Katie Krumpe, made a 60-minute pit stop late yesterday afternoon at Farragut Elementary.
After noting that a principal motivating factor behind this nationwide change was to establish commonality, uniformity, in public education from state to state, Dr. Krumpe said the chief change in mathematics, yesterday’s theme, will be for students to understand why they reached a certain answer. Why, she said, trumps how a student reached the solution or even his actual solution.
Now that Common Core has become her constant companion in teaching the method to others, Dr. Krumpe said, “my new favorite word is justify.”
Why did the student attain a certain answer? He must justify his response.
The idea is to create more rounded, better informed students.
Where Is the Chairman?
No need to mention that just after 4:30, Farragut staffers industriously were unfolding and decorating a series of rectangular tables strung across the front of the cafetorium, accompanied by 13 folding chairs and half as many microphones (6½?). This strategic placement of furniture is noted because the chairs, the tables and the mikes went noticeably unused. Important and less important parent personalities took their seats among a packed audience that was both curious and eager. School Board members melted into the crowd.
Having previously delineated the newness that will surround the teaching and learning of English and language arts, beginning in September, yesterday’s spotlight shined on math.
In addition to a 10-page handout called “Key Points in Mathematics,” the more adventurous audience members were offered blank paper and pencils to test their own long latent math skills.
Dr. Krumpe proved an adept teacher at handling an audience with dubious math skills but throbbing with parental curiosity about what awaits their children when the new term begins.
When Dr. Krumpe offered the parents a series of immensely resistible brain-twisters, it was not as if Supt. Dave LaRose needed to make an emergency call for a fresh supply of pencils with generous erasers. This was not a leftover “Dancing with the Stars” audience where members cheered wildly for certain solutions.
There was little doubt educators chose wisely when they decided to start Common Core with the students who can show the methodology to their parents instead of the other way.