“Expect outrage” when Common Core standards are implemented said Jason Zimba, one of the lead writers, at a policy forum.
The source of the outrage, (co-writer David) Coleman said, will be those who are used to seeing the kind of math activities in 5th grade, for example, that focus on “data” but in practice deal with little more than counting and making bar charts and graphs that amount to a “fake version of developing young scientists.”
By contrast, the common core math standards would adopt a “teach less, learn more” approach identified by Zimba that he and Coleman said would ensure mastery of truly important skills. One exaple: making sure students can demonstrate comprehension of and the ability to deal with fractions, a key algebraic skill that in many ways is the most demanding kind of math. What many view as “basic” math is, in fact, the most important and rich, they said.
To meet the new standards, teachers will have to spend more time going into depth on fewer math topics, Zimba and Coleman said.
Zimba fended off a question from an audience member about whether the common core had been comprehensively tested in the field by saying the common core is the result of a decade-long experiment with students and how they dealt with various standards, as well as extensive research. “They’re not a pill,” he said.
How to use standards successfully “remains in teachers’ hands,” he said.