Parents on Common Core: Stop Using Our Kids As Guinea Pigs


Common Core
Michael Reilly / Facebook

Common Core is still making parents everywhere pull their hair out as they struggle to help their kids solve Byzantine math problems. Silive.com profiled some very frustrated parents who believe their kids are essentially being used as "guinea pigs" by government and corporate interests in service of an unproven teaching methodology:

Ten-year-old Kate Reilly, a fifth-grader at PS 55 in Eltingville, was doing math homework, seated around the kitchen table with her younger sister, Emma, a second-grader at PS 55, and older brother, John, who attends Bernstein Intermediate School, Huguenot.

One of her math problems called for dividing 84 by 7. Looking over her shoulder, watching her jot down pre-alegbriac equations as she successfully solved the problem, her dad, Michael Reilly, just shook his head.

"This is just ridiculous. 84 divided by 7. Why are we making this harder than it has to be? " he wondered.

Frustrated, Reilly posted a photo of the problem to his Facebook page. Within minutes it drew close to 200 comments from equally frustrated, puzzled parents.

Reilly isn't just any parent; he is also president of the Staten Island Community Education Council and frequently hears from other parents who are fed up with Core-aligned methodology and requirements.

Just because a certain way of learning is confusing for parents doesn't make it inherently bad, of course. It's perfectly possible for educators to invent an approach that makes math easier for kids, even if older generations don't get it.

But it's hard to believe that that's what is happening here, since many teachers and students seem just as hopelessly lost as parents. Misaligned tests, improper training for teachers, and Common Core's uncertain political future are all factors adding to the confusion. And even if the standards eventually catch on and have a positive impact on American education—and the evidence there is underwhelming—the kids caught in the transition years will have been undeniably ill-served. It's no wonder that some students resent being forced to serve as conscripted product testers for Core-aligned examinations.

More from Reason on Common Core here.