I am an instructional specialist in North Thurston Public Schools who has the privilege of working with dedicated teachers and students every day to become the best mathematicians they can be. Reading the news, I am continually baffled by the argument that Common Core State Standards are too difficult and U.S. students can’t meet them.
Since beginning CCSSM three years ago, our K-5 students have developed mathematical skills surpassing anything we thought students were capable of 10 years ago. For example, second grade students visually demonstrate and articulate self-selected strategies to mentally add 35 and 26. They rearrange the quantities in ways to make them easier to add: 50 add 11, 60 add 1, and 40 add 21. This algebraic reasoning builds foundations for their understanding of the algorithm and provides confidence to grapple with challenges that are “too hard” for them.
Adults often say “I am not a math person” and express the belief that only a select few are, but our students are math people. They think and act like mathematicians. Problem-solving is hard and messy. Likewise, figuring out accountability to CCSSM on all levels is a process; we have to show the same perseverance when solving this problem that we ask of students when they struggle to solve a problem in math. Opting out is the same as throwing up your hands and exclaiming, “I don’t get it!” Giving up is not the solution. Let’s keep moving forward. See http://www.youcubed.org/ for more information.