The Common Core Problem

I don’t think Common Core supporters understand what they’ve done. The supporters of common core seem to think that people should be thanking them for the great benefit that is being bestowed upon their children.


At its heart, it makes sense that in a highly mobile society, students should be essentially on the same path of study so there is no disadvantage in a parent taking a new job across the country. As a person who grew up in Dubai and returned to the United States after ninth grade, I can see the benefits of keeping kids on in schools on roughly the same page of lessons.

But that’s not just what common core is doing.

I think the people who support common core out of good intentions do not realize the bad side of common core. Beyond the emotional arguments, the philosophical arguments, and the crazy arguments — there are a lot of crazy arguments against common core — there is a very practical argument the common core supporters have no answer for.

Moms cannot help their children with math homework. Reporters who are single and common core supporters without kids may not be able to relate here or identify with this, but that’s why this is such a sleeper issue. Moms cannot help their kids with math homework and that’s creating most of the rage against common core.

It is as true in my household as it is in others. The math does not make sense to the children and the math does not make sense to the parent. Kids are taught multiple ways to add totals together, must still add the totals correctly, but then must explain their answers — often having to write essays for math problems.


The best answer common core supporters have is to literally produce studies claiming that kids whose parents do not help them with homework will, over the long term, out perform kids whose parents do help them.

I am not kidding. That is their defense.

Meanwhile, elementary school kids are overwhelmed by their math problems. In some cases, their teachers are now giving them a pass if they can explain how they arrived at their answer, even if they get the answer wrong.

Common Core has become just a new education trend. Every decade, bored educators in the United States latch on to a new trend on how to teach things. By God it is a horrific idea that we might teach math the way math has always been taught. There are always new ways and common core is just the latest.

And maybe they are right. But practically, no parent in America is going to listen to the rightness of the smug opinion of the education elite and Chamber of Commerce when it isn’t Jeb Bush, Thomas Donohue, or another Common Core supporter sitting at the kitchen table trying to help an eight year old with a math problem.


Common Core may have started off with very good intentions. But in an age when politicians fixate on what the soccer mom, the Walmart mom, or mom in general think — they’ve pissed off mama because she can’t help her kid at night with math anymore. And if mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy.

Forget immigration. Forget Obamacare. Common core is going to be the under the radar, sleeper issue of campaign 2014. It transcends party and there are few issues as kitchen table as the one most often done in frustration right at the kitchen table.


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