The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

May 15, 2014

2+2=What? Parents rail against Common Core math

An Iowa woman jokingly calls it "Satan's handiwork." A California mom says she's broken down in tears. A Pennsylvania parent says it "makes my blood boil."

What could be so horrible? Grade-school math.

As schools around the U.S. implement national Common Core learning standards, parents trying to help their kids with math homework say that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing has become as complicated as calculus.

They're stumped by unfamiliar terms like "rectangular array" and "area model." They wrestle with division that requires the use of squares, slashes and dots. They rage over impenetrable word problems.

Stacey Jacobson-Francis, 41, of Berkeley, California, said her daughter's homework requires her to know four different ways to add.

"That is way too much to ask of a first grader," she said. "She can't remember them all, and I don't know them all, so we just do the best that we can."

Simple arithmetic isn't so simple anymore, leading to plenty of angst at home. Even celebrities aren't immune: The comedian Louis C.K. took to Twitter recently to vent about his kids' convoluted homework, writing that his daughters went from loving math to crying about it.

Adopted by 44 states, the Common Core is a set of English and math standards that spell out what students should know and when. The standards for elementary math emphasize that kids should not only be able to solve arithmetic problems using the tried-and-true methods their parents learned, but understand how numbers relate to each other.

"Part of what we are trying to teach children is to become problem solvers and thinkers," said Diane Briars, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. "We want students to understand what they're doing, not just get the right answer."

Text Only
AP Iowa
  • State urges action to avoid West Nile virus DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Public Health says there have already been three reported cases of West Nile virus in the state, even though the disease usually is seen in early autumn. The agency says cases have been reported in Clay,

    July 31, 2014

  • Iowa official: Goat grazing plan is working STRAWBERRY POINT, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa government official says the state's plan to use goats to clear away vegetation is an initial success. Iowa Department of Natural Resources supervisor Mike Steuck tells KCRG-TV (http://bit.ly/1qqKGaY ) the 60 goa

    July 31, 2014

  • Commission wants former Iowa prosecutor punished WINTERSET, Iowa (AP) — A commission has recommended to the Iowa Supreme Court that a former prosecutor who beat a client that he'd had a sexual relationship with should be barred from practicing law for at least four years. The Des Moines Register sa

    July 31, 2014

  • New attractions planned for Hoover library in Iowa WEST BRANCH, Iowa (AP) — The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is getting a temporary $600,000 exhibit that will include a simulation of a World War I trench. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports (http://icp-c.com/1knYdSU ) the exhibit wi

    July 31, 2014

  • Hot air balloon brushes power line at Iowa event INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) — A hot air balloon brushed a power line and caused an outage at the National Balloon Classic near Indianola. An event official, Bill Clemons, says the balloon was on the ground Tuesday night when it touched the wire and then dra

    July 30, 2014

  • Wilson Island State Recreation Area set to reopen COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A state recreation area near Council Bluffs is scheduled to reopen soon. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the Wilson Island State Recreation Area will open its gates Monday. Workers are currently adding fire r

    July 30, 2014

  • Iowa parents speak out against school changes DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Students at Des Moines middle schools no longer have the option to take advanced English and science classes. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/WMKKcT ) Tuesday that some parents are concerned that top performer

    July 30, 2014

  • Iowa's first startup accelerator set to begin CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Cedar Rapids is joining the expanding pool of U.S. cities that want to kick-start fledgling businesses. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1nSV5z7 ) that the Iowa Startup Accelerator begins Monday and is the fi

    July 30, 2014

  • Cedar Rapids murder case now in judge's hands CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A Linn County judge is considering the fate of a 20-year-old man accused of killing a former women's basketball standout from Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids television station KGAN says (http://bit.ly/1oKi8eC ) closing arguments

    July 30, 2014

  • Inspector had cited lauded Iowa nursing home WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) — A northeast Iowa nursing home was cited for unsanitary conditions in its kitchen seven weeks before it was lauded by the governor's office as among the best such facilities in the state, The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/U

    July 29, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National