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Common Core creating a problem

By Staff | Sep 12, 2014

As a parent of a freshman at Jefferson High School (as well as a sophomore), I did my parental duty and attended “Meet the Teacher” night last week. I was saddened to see that many of the teachers didn’t attend the evening’s event because they were not getting paid to be there. Apparently they are only paid for two parent/teacher nights and this would have been a third. My opinion on that would fill an editorial in itself, but today’s thoughts focus on the information I gathered in my freshman’s Math 2 Honors class.

Apparently “Math 2” is what we in the “old school” would have assumed would be Algebra 2. I know that in 8th grade, my daughter took Algebra I. But, apparently this new Math 2 course which is part of the latest, greatest buzz word “Common Core” is a conglomeration of algebras, geometry, trigonometry and even higher math. Terms were repeated over and over in the classroom that, I openly admit, I had no clue what the teacher was talking about.

What brought me great concern were the comments made about the middle school students from last year who now make up this Math 2 class. Apparently students from Shepherdstown Middle and Harpers Ferry Middle (where my child attended), didn’t learn all they should have to be ready for Math 2 in the Common Core. So, the teacher is zooming ahead with a brief review and moving into through skills not taught last year at a rapid pace. One has to be up to a certain level and finish a certain number of sections in the class; therefore, they can’t get behind!

But what bothers me is that the students are being taught the skills. The rush is on to make sure that the material is completed according to whatever standards the state has adopted and the fact that the students don’t get it is irrelevant. Add to that the fact that parents can’t help them (or at least a lot of the parents can’t help) because of this “new math concept” and they fall further and further behind. I sound like my mother more and more everyday when referring to this “new math” but I can’t help it. From what I gather, getting the correct answer is not as important as doing steps outlined in the new curriculum (which often don’t make any common sense).

Regardless, if this is supposed to help our students be more advanced, I feel like they are being set up for failure. “No Child Left Behind” left a lot of students behind, but this switch to “Common Core” will be worse I fear. I suggest that all parents reading this make a point of keeping up with their students on a daily basis so they don’t fall behind. Once that happens, it’s very hard to catch up.