#1 Renowned Berkeley Math Prof Criticizes Common Core, Says Will Move US to Bottom
08-09-2014, 01:43 AM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Renowned Berkeley Math Prof Criticizes Common Core, Says Will Lower US International Standing
Professor emerita of mathematics Marina Ratner at the University of California at Berkeley offers a scathing criticism of Common Core. She refutes the notion that Common Core standards are internationally bench-marked and says the new math curriculum will, to the effect, dumb down students.
To send Common Core to the dust bin of history and education “reform,” it will require the combined effort of politicians, educators, and parents.
From Dr. Susan Berry, who has written many pieces on Common Core, of Breitbart:
BERKELEY MATH PROFESSOR RATNER: COMMON CORE ‘WILL MOVE U.S. CLOSER TO BOTTOM IN INTERNATIONAL RANKING’
In an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, Marina Ratner, renowned professor emerita of mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley, explains why the Common Core standards will make math education even worse in the United States and move the nation “even closer to the bottom in international ranking.”
Ratner writes that she initially experienced the Common Core standards last fall through her then-sixth grade grandson in Berkeley.
“As a mathematician I was intrigued, thinking that there must be something really special about the Common Core,” she recalls. “Otherwise, why not adopt the curriculum and the excellent textbooks of highly achieving countries in math instead of putting millions of dollars into creating something new?”
As she began to read about the controversial standards, however, Ratner says she hardly found any academic mathematicians who could assert that the Common Core standards were better than California’s pre-2010 standards – considered to be among the finest in the nation.
Ratner read that Bill McCallum, a leading writer for the Common Core math standards, indicated the new standards “would not be too high” compared to those of other countries in which math education has demonstrated excellence.
08-11-2014, 02:07 AM
That is what kills me about education in this country, officials are constantly trying to re-invent the wheel. The basic arithmetic education given during the first half of the 20th century was the education that taught the men who built the first computers, and who got us to the moon. It was good enough to foster huge leaps in technology, but somehow it isn't enough for modern children. Barring that, why no adopt the educational methods of countries that are already excelling at teaching their children math?
08-11-2014, 10:09 AM
As someone who never got over the old math/new math/old math switchup on kids in the 60s and 70s, I'm a proponent of teaching math the way it was taught prior to 1960.
My sister doesn't have Common Core for her kids, but she lives in a conservative community that probably picks and chooses what aspects of that curriculum they use and what ones they don't use. My brother's kids attend Columbus Public Schools and I'm amazed that they don't read novels for literature classes anymore. They read stories and "manuals" on-line. None have read A Tale Of Two Cities or Romeo And Juliet, which were our standard 9th grade reading assingments (along with a lot of classic short stories).
08-11-2014, 06:17 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
If you take away literature, you take away the cultural background, history, and you also take away the future in terms of ideas and possibilities. Literature will soon be the province of the wealthy. The Commoner will only read for work-related functions.
08-14-2014, 12:49 AM
New Math was a pedagogical catastrophe, the sort of knee-jerk reaction (to Sputnik, in this case) that you only get when education policy and affairs of state are decided within a common organizational structure. Somebody hears a rumor that those Soviet engineers are all whiz-bang mathematicians and next thing you know we're fighting the Space Race in math classrooms across the country.
The basic idea was to teach students the abstractions and theoretical frameworks within which both the arithmetic of everyday life and the Newton/Leibniz Calculus essential to engineering had (somewhat recently) been defined, without focusing on the repetition and drill of traditional arithmetic instruction intended to develop a level of proficiency in the performance of algorithmic calculations which was projected (correctly) to soon be made somewhat redundant by inexpensive calculating tools.
From my perspective as kind-of-a-math-geek, it was a solid idea to start with. Some critics say that it was doomed to failure because knowledge of the particulars of arithmetic is a prerequisite for grasping the abstractions presented in New Math. Its possible that they're right, though I personally doubt it - from the mathematician's perspective, the only thing unique about learning arithmetic vis-a-vis the rest of mathematics is that we've had a *lot* more experience learning and teaching arithmetic, and not nearly as much experience at scaling that instruction.
In my view, the problem with New Math was with the roll-out - which was untested, nation-wide, and expected to be implemented by teachers who in many cases did not themselves understand the new material. When it failed, it failed big, and the new material was purged from the American math curriculum. Nowadays most of it is not taught until college. And more's the pity, if you ask me.
Last edited by EFN; 08-14-2014 at 12:52 AM. Reason: insert 'are' between 'state' and 'decided' in second paragraph
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