Professor Ratner is not the only professor of mathematics that is concerned about the dumbing down of mathematics in the Common Core standards. Dr. R. James Milgram, professor of math at Stanford University was originally on the Common Core Validation Committee, but saw the weakness in the math standards and would not sign off on them. He stated that it is thought that “at-risk students learn better using manipulatives and that the focus on US standards should always be these students. So they chose pedagory that effectively turns off the average and even more so the above-average students in a desire to focus on the weakest students.” However, he went on to state that the research has shown “this is the worst possible method for teaching” these at-risk students this material. He adds that the gifted students will do much better when allowed to learn at their own pace. He concludes that the Common Core methods would produce “across-the board-weakening of student outcomes.”
Dr. Milgram presented testimony for the Indiana Senate Education Panel regarding this problem, explaining that the Common Core math standards “are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and only fall further behind as they talk about 8-12.” Indiana was one of the five states that did not sign on to Common Core.
With the testimonies of knowledgeable professors of mathematics concerned about our children’s math standards under Common Core, why is the government demanding that the states conform? Who were the people who decided that this was the right way to go? This question will be answered in my next blog.