Bill McCallum, lead author of the Common Core standards for math, interviewed here on Fox News, has a great way of talking about the standards. Although I would have passed on the tea party reference, here’s a post from his blog, reposted with permission.
This stuff makes me fear for my country. People in countries that beat the pants off us aren’t afraid of making 10, but some of our own leaders are.—Jason Zimba
Governor Abbott of Texas made the following comment on Fox News the other day: “And when you plug in nine plus six common core you’ll find it’s going to take you more than a minute to see how a teacher teaches a student to learn how to add nine plus six.” He was referring to this video explaining the “make a ten” strategy for memorizing math facts.
Of course, since Texas has its own standards, Governor Abbot could be forgiven for not knowing that this method is not the final expectation for children’s knowledge of addition facts in the Common Core. It is one possible way in Grade 1 to prepare children for the Grade 2 standard that requires them to know their addition facts cold, from memory. It is an aid to memory, not a replacement. It takes kids time to memorize their math facts, just like it takes them time to learn how to tie their shoes. And understanding what is going on under the hood helps. If you know why 9 + 6 = 15, then you also know why 9 + 7 = 16, 9 + 8 = 17, and so on. You get a whole bunch of math facts for the price of one.
It’s a pity, however, that Governor Abbot didn’t look at his own state standards before mocking this method, since Texas follows exactly the same progression at exactly the same grade levels. And for good reason: math is math whatever state you are in, and teachers have been using methods like this to help their students memorize math facts for years.