The Corner

Common Core: 3 x 4 = 11

This remarkable and very brief video clip shows what appears to be a teacher-training session for the controversial Common Core, our new de facto, Obama-imposed national curriculum. In it, the instructor says it’s alright if a student says 3 x 4 = 11. What matters, the instructor says, is not the right answer, but a good explanation of the “reasoning” behind whatever answer the child chooses to give.

Critics have said for some time that the Common Core dumbs down math standards. It does so by gutting basic math requirements, but also, in many cases, by accommodating “fuzzy math,” in which conceptual explanations are considered more important than correct answers. Popular opposition to the Common Core was kicked off by a couple of Indiana mothers who noticed their children’s peculiar math problems.

There is some flexibility in how Common Core is taught. Fuzzy math is not required of every district. Even so, Common Core is far too receptive to this sort of “math,” and in practice appears to encourage it. We need more context on this video clip. Yet to the extent that Common Core puts up with this sort of nonsense, there is a problem.

Let’s have an account of how this happened and how widespread this sort of math instruction is becoming under the Common Core.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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