The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

May 15, 2014

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

(Continued)

That's a radically different approach than many parents are accustomed to.

Jennie Barnds, 40, of Davenport, Iowa, was puzzled by her fourth-grade daughter's long division homework, a foreign amalgam of boxes, slashes and dots with nary a quotient or dividend in sight.

"If we are sitting there for 20 minutes trying to do a simple problem, how is an 8, 9, 10-year-old supposed to figure it out?" she said. "It's incredibly frustrating for the student and the parent."

Whether Common Core itself is responsible for the homework headaches is a contentious issue.

Some experts say Common Core promotes reform math, a teaching method that gained currency in the 1990s. Derided as "fuzzy" math by critics, reform math says kids should explore and understand concepts like place value before they become fluent in the standard way of doing arithmetic. Critics say it fails to stress basic computational skills, leaving students unprepared for higher math.

Stanford University mathematician James Milgram calls the reform math-inspired standards a "complete mess" — too advanced for younger students, not nearly rigorous enough in the upper grades. And teachers, he contends, are largely ill-prepared to put the standards into practice.

"You are asking teachers to teach something that is incredibly complicated to kids who aren't ready for it," said Milgram, who voted against the standards as part of the committee that reviewed them. "If you don't think craziness will result, then you're being fundamentally naive."

Common Core supporters insist the standards are developmentally appropriate and driven by research.

"For years there has been a raging debate in mathematics education about which is more important, procedural fluency or conceptual understanding. The obvious answer is 'both' and the standards give that answer," said University of Arizona mathematician Bill McCallum, who co-wrote the math standards.

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