Common Core rap

Common Core Essential Standards change how we teach, rap a group of STEM teachers in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The teachers don’t seem all that happy to be “reassigned to the pep squad,” notes Missouri Education Watchdog, which speculates it’s a professional development must-do.

Here’s the lyrics:

Chorus: Focus on student engagement
Practices communication
Relevant data, yes
Common Core Essential Standards change how we teach

No longer can a teacher be the sage on the stage
Common Core Essential Standards change how we teach
Become the guide on the side the students to engage
Common Core Essential Standards change how we teach
The other verses contain these points:

No list of algorithms to memorize
Graphing calculators and real world ties

A variety of problems, problem solving strategies
Complex texts and technologies

Hands-on inquiry with questions to promote
Analysis of data, not answers by rote

Clear and concise, rubrics (whole)* guide
students will improve the quality of work with pride

* hard to understand in the video

So, up until now, teachers haven’t tried to engage students, pose real-world problems or use relevant data? But once the new standards go into effect, they will.

In the comments, Barry Garelick notes that the new Common Core math standards, which the teachers see as cutting edge, have been criticized for being too traditional.

About Joanne


  1. Michael E. Lopez says:

    It astonishes me how little professional dignity most teachers have.

    Perhaps it’s just too much time spent around kids.

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    That should read ‘many”, not most.

  3. I’m glad they got the plug in for graphing calculators – TI would be proud.

    Complex texts and technologies? How did we ever manage to do things without THEM? I mean, the Egyptians laid out the Great Pyramid’s base of nearly 13 acres and it’s level to with like half an inch. My last house was 8 years old and more of of square than that. Change making skills are so bad that fast food joints have digital registers and coin dispensers.

    No answers by rote? I hope the kids will learn multiplication, it’s painful to watch them do “matrix method” multiplication while solving quadratics. Will they be boot strapping the special triangles each time they need sin of 45 degrees in physics class?

    Michael: Yeah, but remember, if they don’t sing the party line at the latest PD or fad introduction; they wind up like the James Franco Prof. Nodoby ever seems to get rewarded for pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

  4. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Oh… it’s not the substance of what they’re saying that appalls me. It’s the fact that they’ve decided to take their professional statements about how to do their job and turn them into a slapdash, seemingly unrehearsed, and somewhat juvenile display of… well, I’m not even sure what it’s a display of.

    If they want to make cute videos singing about Thanksgiving Dinner or whatnot, I’m sure it would be adorable, funny, and wonderful.

    If they want to write up statements and give speeches about the problems in the CCC, then they can do that. I’m sure it would be persuasive and professional.

    But here they are essentially turning their work into something quite nonserious. Why should anyone listen to what they have to say?

    • Roger Sweeny says:


      You’re not being meta enough. They’re being unserious and unprofessional to cleverly tell us that the ideas they are rapping are also unserious and unprofessional.

      No, grading rubrics will not cause students to take pride in their school work. No, de-emphasizing lectures won’t automatically engage students. No, no, no to them all.

    • inserviceveteran says:

      1. They’re talking about the same handful of “changes” that always come up at meetings like this. The “sage on the stage” canard, for example.

      2. Performing (called “sharing out”) is a way to show the presenters that you are “buying in” to the “change.” The atmosphere can get pretty ugly if the teachers don’t buy in. Many (most?) large-scale professional development sessions are very much like sales presentations, except the product has already been purchased. Any kind of dissent or skepticism is out of order. It’s would be like interrupting a wedding ceremony to recite divorce statistics or refusing to raise a glass at the reception because you’re just not so sure about the match.

      3. In my opinion, the Common Core Standards really do represent a significant change. I’m on the English side of the aisle, and CC 6th grade standards in writing exceed the expectations for most high school exit exams.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      It’s actually quite subversive.

  5. Sean, the lack of actual math knowledge that most elementary and middle school teachers lack never ceases to amaze me. The Manhattan Project was done without the aid of a single computer (ENIAC was built in 1946, a year after the first atomic bomb was detonated (all the math was done by hand on blackboards or paper).

    I’ve seen many young persons and adults struggle to make change for an order or compute the proper amount of sales tax or try to manage a markdown without the aid of a cash register (I used a cash register at a time where it DID NOT give the operator the amount of change to return, that was up to the cashier to figure out in their head, and you had to be accurate to the penny).

    God help the U.S.A. if all the calculators and computers ever stop working, cause the only persons who will have STEM jobs are the ones who can actually do math using pencil and paper, or a whiteboard and markers.


    • Got any proof?

      • Michael E. Lopez says:

        Does he have any proof of what?

        That he thinks what he thinks or that he’s seen what he’s seen? That the Manhattan Project was done without computers? (I think he does a pretty good job of proving that.) That he used a certain type of cash register?

        What the heck are you asking?

  6. Michael,

    You’re right, I should have been more specific.

    ,the lack of actual math knowledge that most elementary and middle school teachers lack never ceases to amaze me

    BTW, the world was not without some kinds of computing devices during WW2. Submarine skippers had a basic form of calculator they used to compute angles to fire their torpedoes. I also am given to understand the Chinese had a very simple calculating machine for awhile too.

  7. george larson says:

    Mike in Texas is right.

    Analog computers were well known in WWII and even in use during WWI. During WWII Computing bombsights like the Norden Bombsight, sliderules and lead computing gunsights were all in use. Analog computers measure.

    But I think Bill and Michael are referring to digital computers. During WWII groups of of people called computers were put to work to calculate answers to big math problems like artillery firing tables and atomic research. Digital computers count.

    Just to muddle things up a bit
    Conrad Zuse produced a functioning digital computer used for aerodymanic research in Germany during WWII. I think the Enigma Code breakers built and used digital computers to break the German codes.

  8. CaliforniaTeacher says:

    I couldn’t watch more than 15 seconds due to uncontrollable cringing.

    As Joanne mentioned already, this rap was probably the “authentic assessment” portion of some district-mandated workshop. I bet the curriculum mucky-mucks felt a smug sense of pride at having recorded and posted the video online. 20th century learning and all that.

    Forgive my cynicism. I don’t doubt the sincerity or good will of these teachers, but do they – and whoever imposed this activity upon them – understand how trivial this makes teacher development appear?

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      Perhaps they are saying, using one of the “powers of the powerless”, this professional development was sh*t and this video is sh*t.

  9. tim-10-ber says:

    This article says the CCS for reading and english are written at the 8th grade level…is this true…the article is a very good read, too.

  10. As Mike points out, the bombsight in WWII was an analog device, but did it’s job quite well. The rationale is that without a SOLID foundations in the basic computational elements in math during grades 1 to 5, a student will simply struggle with math concepts which are (in my case), second nature to me.

    The concept of the slide rule isn’t lost on me, but as proof, a couple of years ago, I was asked to take an introductory course in informatics for evaluation purposes. The class covered some basic statistics, probability, and symbolic logic and a little reasoning (in addition to other coursework).

    The professor had all of her notes and formulas on her web site (posted after each class), and all any student had to do was study them (there were NO calculators permitted on this particular exam, which covered the topics above). The class average (raw) for this exam was 69% (we’re talking an age group range of perhaps 19-26 year old students, except for 4 of us who were past the age of 40).

    The professor was very disappointed in the overall score (I got a 95 on this exam), the 5 students who did the best were the four students older than 40, and one 19 year old electrical engineering major who actually knew how to do the math asked of us (which wasn’t more than pre-algebra (at best)).

    The point I’m making is that without a lack of knowledge in the foundations of math concepts and principles, all of the electronic devices in the world isn’t going to help a student when they need to use the information in a real context (say perhaps a job interview, or certification examination, or on a licensing examination).

  11. Lightly Seasoned says:

    Why do teachers seem to not improve beyond the 5th year of teaching? Because this is the crap that passes for professional development.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      Also, much of the improvement in quality is a statistical illusion. First year teachers include the good, the bad, and the indifferent. By the fifth year, a lot of the not-so-good teachers are no longer working as teachers. When you chop off the bottom, the average quality has to go up.

      Many of the people who remain were better to start with.

  12. Wally Katolik says:

    This is a perfect example of what is WRONG in K-12 education on the USA!!!

  13. Just when we thought we’d hit bottom…….a new low. Degrading and humiliating for the teachers. The CC promotional video is simplistic, and painfully evident is the strained effort to make it fun and engaging. The video gives a small example of prevailing trends in US education to water down and over simplify important core academic studies; and by extension the infantilizing of our students, being denied the experience of challenge and rigor in their K-12 schooling necessary to grow and mature intellectually.