Thursday, October 6, 2011

Important Rebuttal on Common Core Math Promotion

When I read Rick Hess' interview with Professor Wu on Straight Up, I was very disheartened because many will use this interview in support of the federal overreach into public education.  IMO the standards are extremely WEAK at the secondary level and DO NOT prepare students for success in college algebra or beyond.
Ze'ev Wurman brilliantly provided rebuttal links (copied below) for several of the professor's statement in the comments section.
Thanks Ze'ev!!
Wu is unreliable when it comes to many of his descriptions of the Common Core. His claim that the Common Core's abandonment of algebra in grade 8 is consistent with NMAP's findings should be compared with actual NMAPs recommendation #6 ( ) and page 3-47 in that chapter 3 he mentioned ( ).
His sweeping statement that asking for reasoning when solving equations is somehow "new" to the Common Core should be compared with standards 7MR4.1 or A1.5 of the 1997 Calif. standards ( ).
His praise of the experimental geometry the Common Core imposes – without any prior successful experience -- on America stands in stark contrast with that of Stanford's Prof. Milgram (appendix B at ) or of a colleague of Kolmogorov, the mathematician who dreamt up this approach more than 30 years ago (p. 34-35 at ).
Wu's praise for CCSMS "neutrality" with high school courses is a nifty attempt to turn CC failure to deliver into a positive "feature." He seems uninformed about Finland (see and ), and when he discusses the absence of teaching quadratic equation in China or Japan in 8th grade as an excuse for not teaching algebra in grade 8, he conveniently forgets to tell us that these countries do teach most of algebra 1 in that grade *except* quadratics, and that they additionally teach large sections of proof-based geometry in grade 8.

When I asked Wu last year to reconcile his current anti grade-8 algebra stance with his recent push *for* it when he served on the NMAP, his answer was simple: American elementary and middle school teachers are incompetent to teach algebra or prepare for it, and he came to conclusion that pushing it to high school is the best America can do. Perhaps true, but giving up on America's students is a far cry from waxing lyrical about the "pedagogical sensibility" or "mathematical soundness" of the Common Core.

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