It’s back-to-school time, America. As a courtesy to parents sure to be frustrated with their children’s infuriating Common Core homework, Buffalo, N.Y. NBC affiliate WGRZ has published a series of helpful videos.
The first of the six videos informs parents about the new way to add 9 + 6. Parents could be in for a surprise if they are merely familiar with the old, boring way, which is to reinforce that “9 + 6 is 15″ again and again until it becomes second nature.
“With the Common Core, students need to understand why” 9 + 6 equals 15, a bubbly WGRZ reporter explains.
Fourth-grade teacher Eileen Klag Ryan then demonstrates the Common Core way to add 9 + 6.
This Common Core method takes nearly a minute.
“Our young learners might not be altogether comfortable thinking about what 9 + 6 is,” Ryan relates. “They are quite comfortable thinking about their friend, 10.”
The novel addition method emphasizes 10 for younger students “as we’re working in ‘Base 10 System.’”
“So if we can partner 9 to a number and anchor 10, we can help our students see what 9 + 6 is.”
At no point does Ryan explain how this impressively complex method of adding 9 + 6 will lead students to any understanding of “why” 9 + 6 is 15.
“We’re going to decompose our 6,” the teacher continues, drawing two small diagonal lines under the 6, then adding a number 1 and a number 5.
“We know 6 is made up of parts,” she instructs. “One of its parts is a 1 and the other part is a 5.”
Then, things get super-complex.
“We’re now going to anchor our 9 to a 1, allowing our students to anchor to that 10″ Ryan says, while drawing a big, oblong circle around the 9 and the 1.”
“Now our students are seeing that we have 10 + 5,” she declares confidently. She stutters a bit and adds, “Having, uh, now more comfort seeing that 10 + 5 is 15. That’s much more comfortable than looking at 9 + 6.”
Earlier this month, Canada’s National Post reported that a group of neuroscientists has issued a study finding that rote memorization of discrete math facts plays a critical role in mathematical development in young children.
In short, the study found, memorizing multiplication tables and answers to basic arithmetic problems is cognitively vital because, without such memorization, children will have a much harder time later on with complex math problems.
Common Core, a scheme to homogenize various K-12 standards around the country, has faced a growing wave of opposition since 45 states and the District of Columbia began implementing it last year. Opposition has brought together conservatives who are opposed to centralized, one-size-fits-all public education and leftists who deplore ever-more standardized testing.
Perhaps the best example of Common Core’s sharp focus on “why” in math came last summer when The Daily Caller exposed a video showing a curriculum coordinator in suburban Chicago perkily explaining that Common Core allows students to be totally right if they say 3 x 4 = 11 as long as they spout something about the necessarily faulty reasoning they used to get to that wrong answer. (VIDEO: Obama math: under new Common Core, 3 x 4 = 11)