A Facebook post made by a father frustrated with his son’s Common Core program math homework has been attracting widespread attention on social media.

Jeff Severt posted a photo of his son’s math worksheet to Facebook. The worksheet asked students to use a convoluted formula to solve the problem “427-316″ rather than simply subtracting 316 from 427.

Severt’s response read, “I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering, which included extensive study in differential equations and other higher math applications. Even I cannot explain the Common Core mathematics approach, nor get the answer correct. In the real world, simplification is valued over complication.”

Severt’s post is timely and highly relevant, following on the heels of Indiana’s decision to withdraw from Common Core educational standards.

Many opponents of Common Core have been attacking the program for fear of federal intrusion on state and local educational policy. They might be focusing on the wrong aspect of the Common Core.

The concept at the heart of the Common Core program isn’t necessarily bad. The federal system gives state and local governments a lot of power to determine school curriculum and set educational standards. Although the freedom to set local school curriculum is a valuable power, the system opens the door to serious discrepancies in the educational performance of students from different states.

These discrepancies in state educational practices exacerbate existing socioeconomic problems. The U.S. Department of Education report on state-by-state educational performance reveals that students from wealthier states, such as Massachusetts, are two to three times more likely to be proficient on national educational assessments than students from poorer states, such as Mississippi.

Significantly, these gaps between states persist even when student results are adjusted for factors such as race and family income. African-American students in Mississippi still perform substandard in comparison to their Massachusetts peers.

While demography might be important, state policy clearly plays a major role in determining educational outcomes. States that lag at the bottom in some measures of student performance top the charts in others. Policy accounts for this interesting variation in state performance.

The Common Core represented a major opportunity for educational reformers and policymakers. Common Core standards established national educational benchmarks that had the potential to level the educational playing field between states while preserving local authority over school curriculum.

However, Severt’s response to his son’s homework assignment poses more interesting questions concerning the future of Common Core. Changing standards might do more harm than good if educators do not carefully consider the learning methods used to teach students required Common Core skills.

Other parents and educators in Chicago have raised complaints about poorly designed and counterintuitive Common Core instructional material.

The teacher’s advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence offered some practical suggestions to fix Common Core implementation in New York. Among their suggestions were paid teacher development sessions focusing on teaching strategies for new Common Core material and state review of Common Core-suggested teaching materials.

Texas, Alaska, Virginia, Nebraska and recently Indiana have opted out of the Common Core; Minnesota adopted only the English language standards. However, the vast majority of states elected to adopt Common Core standards.

The Common Core will not go away. It might be more productive to discuss changes to the Common Core rather than abolish the program entirely.

The Common Core is a useful blunt-force tool to raise national educational standards, but the program and associated learning materials will require reworking in the future if educators hope to create cohesive educational programs.

*Opinion columnist Megan Kallus is a pre-business freshman and may be reached at [email protected]*

Or why not just teach children 427-316 this way?..

427-300=127

127-10=117

117-6=111

There are serious fundamental flaws in author’s reasoning 1. “The federal system gives state and local governments a lot of power”..incorrect statement…The federal system cannot advocate to state and local governments about education. This is a violation of the 10th Amendment in the Constitution which clearly states that the power to advocate education belongs to the states. The Common Core Standard was induced by, of course, two not-for-profits developed and funded by the feds to establish a Common Core. They determined that if the states did so, they’d receive funding and incentives. That is bribery combined with political extortion.

2. “Common Core standards established national educational benchmarks…incorrect..what the Common Core standards established was an avenue for the Feds to enumerate themselves on the Sovereign rights of the states and the sovereignty of the people in those states

3. “It might be more productive to discuss changes to the Common Core rather than abolish the program entirely.”..correction…It is Constitutional and more productive if the state discusses changes…” 1-3 are clearly with regards to sovereign rights and Constitutionality 4. Content. Results based on any “unproven” concentration of tests causes a mathematical anomaly called tracking error. There is not enough data to make conclusions and that data is concentrated

5. If #4 then the Common Core was designed based on flawed conclusions. When this occur there is a reversion to the mean whereby the lower half improves but the upper half reverts downward and the results breed mediocrity. Thus it is the test itself that is detecting the results of the students. This is not the point of learning and certainly doesn’t not improve academic performance. 6. Based on 4&5 those who designed the Common Core do not qualify to create the standards for if they did they would have been aware of 4&5

7. If #1-6 then the Common Core standards were not developed to improve the quality of our children’s education experience and performance. By default, it was created with covert/overt political purposes objectives instead of sound and proven educational evidence that DON’T violate Constitutional Law based on the Sovereignty of the states

I don’t care what kind of degree(s) this guy has, if “Frustrated Parent” can’t look at that problem and figure out they are counting backwards then he is a moron.

you are a moron for saying this

I jokingly say that engineers can’t do math just to make my engineer friends mad, but my father is an engineer and he can do math quite well. I’m surprised that he isn’t a mathematician! Maybe this frustrated parent learned math the way most people learn math and never gave mathematics much thought. Just because he is ignorant doesn’t make him a moron. If you don’t know calculus or never took a calculus class or even lets say stochastic calculus or Lebesgue integration instead of Riemann integration… and you are given an integration problem, you can’t solve it right? Does that make you a moron? No, that just means you haven’t learned how to do it, which means you’re ignorant. And by ignorant, I don’t mean that in a bad way.

And if I was worried that this fine gentleman and alleged Electrical Engineer with “extensive study in differential equations and other higher math applications” had never been taught or bothered how to learn how to count backwards then I would have called him ignorant.

But this man is a moron because instead of trying to understand what little Johnny’s logic was, he decided to launch into a polemic rant against doing things in any other way than the single method that he knows and understands so well.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, but this man has blinded himself to this fact so that he can push politics.

My father learned the “New Math” way of doing mathematics. When I was very young, he taught me the way he learned math.

Basically I learned what a mathematical field and a group was when I was either 4 or 5. One such example, he taught me how to count from one to ten in base ten. Then he introduced the number zero, the identity element of addition when dealing with real numbers. Then he introduced negatives this way, “If you have a real number, call it a… the negative of a is -a with the property, a + -a = 0. -a is the additive inverse of a” Keep in mind that in the field that I was dealing with, when you are dealing with real numbers that there are two binary operations + and x (addition and multiplication) so subtraction and division do not exist. Anyways, onward to the rest of the story. He then taught me how to count in different bases. Lastly, as a test of my new found knowledge, he asked me to count to ten. What a simple question! So I counted from 1 to 10 in base 10. As soon as I said the number 10 he slapped me right upside the head and said that I had learned nothing. He said, “I didn’t tell you where to start or what base!” Of course to keep it simple, he wanted the distance between each number to be equal to one. Be careful with this… The set of integers is not a field as there is no multiplicative inverse i.e. what is the multiplicative inverse of 5? It can’t be 1/5 because 1/5 is not in the set of integers.

So when I went to kindergarten and we had to count to 10 I asked my teacher for fear of being hit, “where do I start and what base?” She got mad and sent me to the principal’s office for being a smart ass.

By the way, I was never in gate or in talent pool or any other crap like that. My parents refused to put me in those programs. I was in regular classes (public school in a poor district) up until high school. Tested out of most of my maths in my K-12 academic career. But the math classes that I did take, I always thought that they were teaching it the wrong way. I was always getting in trouble in those classes for correcting the teachers. I never did it to snub them or to feel smart in any way. I was genuinely concerned that they were teaching it wrong.

Also, another thing. Pretty much everyone seems to think that calculus is the hardest math that you can ever take and that, that’s the end of math. No it is just the beginning! There is a plethora of mathematics available! More and more mathematics is being created everyday! It’s insane! A lot of people argue, “Why not replace mathematicians with computers?” Well, thanks to Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theorems, there will always be jobs for us mathematicians! 😛