March 20, 2014

What's Missing In The Math?

Here's a condensed version of some interesting reading regarding CC math. Links are on the bottom to the full essays.
I realized that because of my background, I needed to focus on Math, my area of expertise...It would probably be good for you, the reader, to know that I have spent the last 15 school years successfully tutoring all levels of math, focusing primarily on high school math. So, I am intimately familiar with the content of Geometry (and all high school math including Calculus), as executed using the Indiana Academic Standards.

As I began to do this step by step through Common Core Geometry, I realized that there seemed to be quite a lot of content missing. For example, much of the detailed learning specific to triangles... Extended focus on Geometry of triangles builds the skills necessary for success in Pre-Calculus (traditionally a one year high school course that is combined with Trigonometry) and Calculus. Well, extended study of triangles was missing from the Geometry standards. Gone. Not. There. At. All.


That’s when I began to go just a little bit crazy, in a math geek type of way. I began to scour the internet for the old Indiana Academic Standards. I located them... and began a comparison that was difficult to see while note taking.  Consequently, I decided to do what any respectable math and science geek would do and created a spreadsheet comparing the standards side by side. A visual approach illustrated gaps or omissions from each direction.

As I constructed the spreadsheet, I was shocked at what I saw. Truly shocked.... entire sections of Geometry are missing...

At this point, I was absolutely convinced that unless triangles (at the very least) were more extensively covered, that the Common Core math student would not be prepared for Pre-calculus or Calculus. (1)

After I came to my dramatic realization about the Common Core Geometry standards, I began to dig deeper into the fifth grade math standards. What I realized was disturbing. I noted that fifth grade Common Core math is conservatively MISSING about 20% of the content when compared with the Indiana Standards.

Common Core standards do not appear to focus on mastery of operations with fractions. They also appear to deemphasize the importance of Geometry. 

Okay, I could see removing some concepts and focusing on them later, but an overall lack of Geometry skills over the entire Common Core standards could only mean one thing to me. That the authors of the Common Core standards saw no value in Geometry skills... the overall lack of Geometry focus simply conveys to me that the authors of the standards do not believe the average child in America is capable of mastering Geometry. If students don’t master Geometry and fractions, these children will NEVER be prepared for careers in the STEM fields. 

The discoveries from my personal analysis of both Geometry and fifth grade Math Standards put me on “high alert” about Common Core. At this point, I was completely engaged in my research and discovery process. (2)

Read the entire essays, about high school math, and 5th grade math here:


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