Dear Parents: Should We Stop Mocking the Common Core?

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Dear Parents,

I get it. You’re frustrated. You want to help your child with his or her school work. It’s supposed to make sense. After all, if an adult can’t grasp it, how is an 8-year-old supposed to?

So when it doesn’t make sense and you can’t help, something must clearly be wrong. And since the only obvious change was the Common Core, that must be the culprit.

There are definitely some cogent arguments against the Common Core State Standards.

This isn’t one of them:

The First Car Built Using Common Core Math

Mocking the Common Core is a popular amateur sport these days. You surely know about the dad who wrote a check to his kid’s school using “common core numbers”:

“Wrote a check to Melridge Elementary using common core numbers. I wonder if they’ll take it? #YouFigureItOut”

As has been pointed out elsewhere, despite the image’s viral popularity, the dad really didn’t get the point of the exercise his kid was being asked to do.

And that’s my point. This post is not about whether Common Core makes any sense. It’s about the message you send to your children when you share posts like the ones above:

If something doesn’t immediately make sense to me, then it must be stupid, and it is therefore appropriate to ridicule it.

Think about that for a moment. When your child is in school the next day, and something the teacher presents doesn’t make sense, do you want him or her to mock the teacher? To mock the lesson?


the Truth about the Core

Unless your child already knows everything that’s being taught in school (in which case, why is she still in school?), she is going to encounter things every day that don’t immediately make sense. Things that you want her to spend time exploring, wrestling with, thinking about, talking about, and working through. That takes a certain mindset that values curiosity and perseverance.

If you have a beef with the material, by all means present your arguments and build your case. Explain your thinking and give persuasive evidence to support it. Just don’t dismiss it out of hand with ridicule and sarcasm.

Curiosity, perseverance, and persuasive argument are more useful life skills than being able to get a Facebook post to go viral. Oh, and by the way, they are also part of the Common Core. For whatever that’s worth.


A Concerned Educator

What do you think? Do we resort too quickly these days to mockery? Or are there times it’s okay to make fun of the Common Core and other activities we don’t comprehend?

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Gerald Aungst

Supervisor of Gifted and Elementary Math at School District of Cheltenham Township
Gerald Aungst has more than 20 years experience as a professional educator, specializing in digital technology, mathematics, and gifted education. In his various roles as a classroom teacher, gifted support specialist, administrator, curriculum designer, and professional developer, he has worked to create a rich and vibrant learning culture. He is also passionate about improving learning opportunities for all students. Gerald is a founder of and

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