Last week, my mathematics teacher leader asked me to read through the draft of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and give my opinion of them. I wanted to share my overall impression of them with as many people as possible, and that is why you are receiving this email.
The standards, as written, are not user friendly. I would bet that most parents, administrators, business executives and legislators, wouldn't have the foggiest idea what many of indicators mean after reading them. They remind me of my college mathematics textbooks. Something I would have to read and then reread to make sure I understood what it said.
I thought these standards were to be written for college & career minded students in mind. They seem to me that they have been written for those student who want to major in mathematics. This may be news to the mathematics community, but many students don't like mathematics. In fact, some only take it because they have to. I don't want to burst any bubbles, but some students enjoy literature, art, social sciences, etc. more than mathematics; and truth be told, they will never need half of the indicators listed in these standards. And to top it off, they will be successful, valuable citizens in our society without them.
Why can't we take a realistic approach for once and write standards that actually mean something to the majority of students? Whatever happened to making mathematic real and mean something? Throwing in a few modeling examples which may or may not strike a cord with some students does not make math meaningful.
Once these standards are adopted and we test students on them we will find ourselves in the same familiar place. We will either have to fail most students or lower the bar of passing so low that it really doesn't mean anything anyway. I would have rather had a set of standards that we could realistically measure and mean something to more people than just the politicians who want to say they are pro-education.