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Is Common Core A Common Problem?

The change from solving equations to analyzing functions at length has been challenging for students and parents alike, and since 2009 when Common Core was introduced in American public schools, it’s been a politically charged issue by parents.

Currently, 42 states plus the District of Columbia use the standards, with adoption motivated in part by financial incentives provided by the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative.  There have been plenty of other complications, too, from parents complaining they don’t know how to help their first-graders with their math homework. As a result, even those committed to embracing the new ways of functional thinking are questioning whether the standards work.

Among several initiatives of common core, it aims to teach deep mathematical thinking and to prepare children for the “jobs of tomorrow.” Parents can’t rely on just showing a child the tricks they learned in school. Today’s children must think on a deeper level, apply math differently, and explain their thinking.

Since mathematical thinking builds from one grade to another, tenth graders are now struggling to meet standards because they lack the foundation for achieving them. Even some fifth graders lack the vocabulary and higher order thinking skills in math needed to transition to the current rigorous standards leaving many students struggling to adapt. Right answers aren’t enough if they can’t explain how they got it or why they approached it a certain way and a lot of parents don’t have the tools to help them.

Unfortunately, Common Core can undermine students’ intellectual growth and leaves many graduates unprepared for true college-level work, as opposed to career training. Common Core requires high-school seniors, those about to enter college or adult life, to read 70 percent nonfiction and 30 percent fiction in school. Younger children start out with a higher proportion of fiction, which gradually declines.

Sadly, in the era of Common Core, the primary educational emphasis is “career-readiness.” It drops the vision of American citizens as free people with the right and responsibility of self-rule and instead it almost treats students like “human resources” that officials must shape to perform some function in our increasingly government-controlled society.

To enter college, high school graduates have traditionally been required to demonstrate academic preparation that exceeds the average, not merely the ability to scrape by the lowest graduation requirements. Americans formerly sent to college the particularly academic-minded, and our graduation and entrance requirements for both institutions reflected that distinction. By saying that Common Core is good enough, we undermine the need to strive for excellence that used to drive students.

This has already led to declining academic standards of colleges such that employers continue to complain recent graduates are unqualified.

“At the U.S. Department of Education, Common Core is dead,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in January during her first major policy address of the year. To back up President Trump’s Twitter statement in 2016 that Common Core is a “disaster,” DeVos said she supported school choice rather than a “federal first” model the education system that’s currently in use.

“It’s about educational freedom,” DeVos said. “Our societies and economies have moved beyond the industrial era, but the data tell us education hasn’t.”

It’s still a bit early to make reliable conclusions about Common Core’s effects on recent high school graduates since it was not fully implemented in most American schools until 2014, but the early results so far are worrisome. Overall ACT scores have slightly declined since 2009, and SAT scores dropped in 2015 after showing no changes since 2007.

Parents can look at the new standards and ask the teachers for help. Sometimes the school district, or the school, has parent education nights explaining topics in math. Those are valuable opportunities to learn. Unfortunately, few parents have time to learn the new standards.

About Katherine Rez

For many years Katherine spent her much of her time journaling for fun, reading books, and writing several short stories for adults, and children. She eventually found herself in a career writing high-level processes and procedures for corporate and startup businesses. Combined with her love of health, American values, and family, she now writes for a variety of websites from health and entertainment, to news and politically driven websites.


  1. Common core does prepare our children for not only today’s world but also the future. The oft cited decline in ACT/SAT scores is interesting especially both tests measure the ability to regurgitate knowledge not the ability to think. Hopefully both tests will be updated or a third test will surface that is more suited to measure future success in a much different world. The times they are a changing.

    • Your opinion is highly subjective and disputed by many. I myself after reading what I’ve read about it would disagree with you vehemently. The first evidence that there is a problem is government involvement. Yes, the times they have been changing, and not for the best in many ways, but many of us are fighting back. It is time to return to the tried and true values of our founding and that includes the 10th Amendment. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Local and state control and competition will fix all that is wrong, not a socialist agenda from government designed by the Annenberg Foundation.

    • Common Core teaches the kids absolutely NOTHING except how to be anti- American, anti-God good little communist! They can’t read, can’t write, can’t do calculus, doesn’t know anything about American History, knows nothing about science or English, but knows everything about communism and know how to use anti-American and anti-God thinking. End Common Core & implement Abeka curriculum in schools & establish nationwide state standards for English, History, Math, Science for high school. And most of all, put God, Jesus Christ, & morality back into the schools!

    • Chris Lin: ACT/SAT is a testing tool, not a teaching tool. If students were learning what they need to know in Primary, Secondary and Advanced Education, they would not be coming out of school unprepared for the challenges of life. A test would not change that.

    • It’s just stupid why is not like use to be plain Math. The kids would make better grades and possibly not drop out of school. The new math is stupid takes a whole page to work one problem that’s rediculious

  2. It is and has been the problem along with no child left behind They have dumbed down our children .Education is no longer about learning but being brainwashed into communism.We should have fought to keep history in our schools .A person getting a degree in history doesn’t even have to study history .And that person can go on to teach students never having to learn for his/ herself what they are teaching to students.

  3. If generations of people that have completed their education successfully, do not know how to do simple math because the process of math has somehow changed, then the process is WRONG.
    What is more valid? 2×2=4 or I know the process to determine the correct answer to 2×2! I will have that for you in a moment. Please have a beverage while you wait!
    That is crap! Knowing what equals what is what math is. There are loads of ways to arrive at the correct answer. Saying that giving the right answer is wrong is stupid. How did I get the answer? I looked at it and knew what it was! Give me my credit!

    • Catherine Daugherty

      Totally agree. Everyone thinks differently. One day I was trying to teach my son a common core method and he gave me the answer before we went through the whole required process. I told him that we had to explain on paper the way they wanted it written and he said that it was really stupid, it takes longer and that it shouldn’t matter because he got the answer right. When I asked him how he came to get the answer, his math thinking was quicker and a lot more logical than the common core way. He and I were angered that he had to write the answer out step by step the common core way and that if he wrote HIS method down with the same correct answer, it would have been graded as wrong.

  4. My high school, from 40 years ago, graduated students who went on to become engineers, software developers, and an FBI agent. We memorized multiplication tables (😱) , mastered algebra and geometry and went on to college. I work in schools now and see ridiculous steps taken to solve 3×5. I’m not sure the agenda of common core, but there is one, and it’s not a good one.

  5. As stated, the primary educational emphasis of Common Core is “career-readiness.” It drops the vision of American citizens as free people with the right and responsibility of self-rule and instead it almost treats students like “human resources” that officials must shape to perform some function in our increasingly government-controlled society.

    Conflicting with the ideals and values of our constitutional republic, Common Core should never have been embraced nor implemented.

  6. Gail has said the real reason for Common Core,to brainwash the kids of today. In a communist society they don’t need much so why teach more than is needed.That was an explanation given a few years back for changing,without knowledge they will not know enough to complain. This is also in the NWO too and the workers will have living space provided. The serfs have to live somewhere so the rulers can have the land and nice homes not the workers. Soros has even said this online,he dosen’t care what happens to the middle class,in their world we will be gone.

  7. Well, why do you want public education in the first place?

  8. Common core math is the “new math” of the early 1960’s. It didn’t work then.Why would it work now?
    I remember my younger sisters bringing friends home after school so I could help them with math.
    I was in 8th grade, so “new math” was after my time.
    My bachelors degree is in math, with a physics minor. All of my electives were in education so I could be certified to teach. I taught for a year. Loved the kids, hated the administration. Went to work for IBM.
    Ten years later, I graduated from medical school.
    When my daughter was in 6th grade, she was having trouble with a math homework assignment. She brought it to me.
    I didn’t understand it! I read the chapter and had no idea what several questions meant. There were squares divided into smaller squares, some black, some white. No words, no explanation.
    Neither did her teacher, our next door neighbor! She was just going by the answer guide that had no explanation.
    If her teacher and I had no idea what was being taught or practiced, how could we expect the students to learn?

  9. Stephen Moreland

    Common Core is just the latest effort to dumb-down our students. How many children did “No Child Left Behind” leave behind? Ever since the NEA transitioned to the liberal/left side in the 1970s, student test scores have continued to decline. If people really want students to get smarter, rather than dumber so they can be government pawns, we have to get the federal government out of education.

  10. These are all very logical conclusions concerning the shallow and falseness of CC. It came to CA because Jerry Brown accepted lots of money from the Islamist – BHO the illegal guy in the White House. Yes , and there was NO VOTE FROM THE CITIZENS.
    We also know that SHARIA IS SLIPPED into the CC too. THIS IS WRONG! CA HAS so much wrong with it that it is expected that the whole state will finally fail because it has NO -BORDERS-LANGUAGE-OR CULTURE. i am glad my grand-kids are being HOME SCHOOLED. There is wisdom to memorization -on reason is IT SAVES TIME AND as long as the knowledge is correct then one may advance to something higher. Just the knowledge that CC is connected to islam is treasonous and that is CORRECT!

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