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Frustrated Dad Shows Why Common Core Math Is Awful

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Parents everywhere are frustrated by Common Core math. As it turns out, their own frustrations just make things worse. What’s a parent to do?


A frustrated dad recently posted a photo of a check he wrote out to his son’s school using Common Core-like math. Though Doug Hermann’s check was a joke, he has a point about Common Core math: it’s driving a wedge between parents and kids.

Last week, Hermann posted a photo to Facebook of his son struggling to complete his math homework with an explanation that he was unable to offer his son help.

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The next day, Hermann wrote out a check in jest to his son’s school using Common Core math techniques:


Hermann explained that while he did not send the check to the school, he did successfully launch a critique on the new math standards that so many parents have become frustrated with, especially over the past year. Louis C.K. notably tweeted his own frustration at Common Core math’s effects on students last April, saying, “Now it makes them cry.”

As it turns out, frustrated parents are making their children’s math troubles worse. A recent study found that kids have more trouble with math if they have “math-anxious” parents who try to help them with their homework. Parents get frustrated at their own poor understanding of it, they explain it badly too their kids, and they get frustrated and tense when their child makes a mistake.

These tensions are only exacerbated by the Common Core standards, as even parents who have expertise in math are struggling to understand the new way math is being taught in schools. Parents are often stuck in a lose-lose situation: they can leave their children to fend for themselves, which can poorly impact their children’s understanding and performance, or they can help and potentially make things worse. Joy Pullmann explains why Common Core is not only failing children, but also society’s most basic structural unit — the family:

Common Core is just as much a social failure as it is an academic failure. In a world where family chaos is increasing, which puts increasing pressure on schools to fill in for families besides their academic responsibilities, kids and society need curriculum and school structures that reinforce families and relationships – not the opposite.

Opposition to the new standards continues to increase. Last year, 26 percent of Americans didn’t like Common Core, while 35 percent of Americans now disapprove of it, according to Education Next.