Whatever AFT president Randi Weingarten actually said, however confused her position may be,
and whichever way it is interpreted,
THE FACT IS that there is no way to put lipstick on this pig and pass it off as Marilyn Monroe. As always, the devil is in the details; for example:
appears among a larger set of basically similar math problems here (this is a link to a PDF file)
Tragically, examples like this, and worse, are pouring in from all across the country, from Oregon to New York. Of course that does not prevent the money-grubbing publishers from exploiting an opportunity:
THERE ARE TWO PROBLEMS HERE.
1. All of the math questions are much easier to see through and solve once the kids have memorized their multiplication tables. When you are asked how many equally high piles you can make from 36 poker chips, it helps to know already that 36 can be divided by 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12 and 18. The problem is difficult if you don’t already have an idea of “factors” and can’t do the multiplications in your head, if for no other reason than speed. Would you even think of “factors” if you had no idea of multiplication and division as the path to the answer? Would you really want to suffer through a brute force solution that keeps asking, can I divide 36 by 1? by 2? by 3? by 4? by 5? by 6? by 7? …. and throw out the ones that leave a remainder? (What’s a remainder?)
2. At least according to Nevada law, the party responsible for writing or selecting the standard is the Council To Establish Academic Standards (NRS 389.520); and the party responsible for translating the standards in to a CURRICULUM is the State Board Of Education (NRS 389.0187) — NOT THE TEXTBOOK PUBLISHER. And it is the local school board that decides if a textbook complies with the requirements of the curriculum (NRS 389.0187).
Common Core takes all that away from the state and local districts. Instead, Common Core puts private for-profit, non-profit and non-governmental organizations in control of everything — standards, curriculums, textbooks, teaching materials, teacher training, teacher training materials. State school boards be damned, local school boards be damned, teachers be damned, parents be damned, and kids be damned. The elite knows all, the elite knows better, and the elite dictates to all. Yours is not to reason why, yours is but to do and die.
I AM ALL IN FAVOR OF WORD PROBLEMS IN MATH. The reason is simple. Real world problems always begin with words, not numbers. You simply must learn how to translate words into math, and to separate relevant from irrelevant facts. And as in everything else, practice makes perfect. But before you can do that, you have to know words (.. English) and you have to know numbers (… the four arithmetic operations, and therefore do the rote memorization that it takes to know your multiplication tables, for example). Only then can you explore the deeper relationships that let you see several possible solutions; that is, give you the mental agility to see all possible solutions.
But by de-emphasizing, vilifying and eliminating “rote” memorization, Common Core deprives the students of the facts and tools they need to do “deep thinking.” By presenting stupidly worded problems, Common Core confuses students, instead of allowing them the joys of solving a puzzle; it turns them off to math and everything else.
By forcing a choice between false alternatives — memorization OR thinking, child-centered OR teacher-centered instruction — Common Core denies the fact that the right answer is BOTH, as determined by a professional teacher using her judgment based on experience, and thereby does a great disservice to its own lofty goals, to the teachers, and most importantly to the students.
Please do whatever it takes to save our kids from this madness.
My son pointed out immediately upon hearing the Juanita problem (Common Core math question worst in human history), that the answer is ZERO. She does not need to buy any more STICKERS… she already has stickers; she needs to buy BAGS.
But looking at it “deeper,” you have to ask, how many friends does she have, 4 or 6, or some multiple of 4 or 6? How many stickers does she already have, 4, 6, or a multiple of 4 or 6? If not, then she also needs to buy more tickers to make the total a multiple of 4 or 6 — or however many friends she really has. As the possible answers obviously go out to infinity, you also have to ask, how much money is Juanita willing to spend on more stickers, what does one sticker cost, and does she get a volume discount?
The answer is not a number or a series of possible numbers, but a set of algebraic or spreadsheet equations. GIVE ME A BREAK!!! THIS is a problem in the LOWER grades? BEFORE they are introduced to algebra and spreadsheets? What are they trying to do to those poor kids?