Most all will agree that one of the reasons we are having a debate about national standards in this country in the first place, is because of the belief that American students are entering college woefully underprepared. There is a presumption that we must adopt standards that will ensure that students entering college are actually ready to do the work. When it comes to determining just what the new buzz-word “college and career ready” means, Common Core opponents have it right:
1) The best people to ask what “college and career ready” means in the areas of math and english are those who actually teach credit-bearing college level courses in mathematics, english, and science.
2) The best standards to look to as a guides are those which actually have proven track-records of success, not to those that don’t.
So, it’s baffling as to why Indiana’s Common Core review currently underway officially includes the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Math Standards. As we mentioned in our recent article, “Indiana Common Core Review: A Stacked Deck?,” the NCTM Math Standards, which pre-date Common Core, are the last set of standards Hoosiers should be looking to for guidance. In fact, the NCTM Math Standards are responsible for ushering in the exact type of “constructivist/fuzzy math” that both plagues Common Core and that Hoosiers are trying to get away from.
However, don’t take our word for it. Watch and listen to a University Professor of Atmospheric Science who witnessed first hand the decline in student achievement among incoming freshmen at the University of Washington in the 90’s. In this twelve-minute video, entitled “Math Education: A University View,” Professor Cliff Mass explains the direct role that the NCTM Standards played in lowering student achievement. It is shocking, riveting, and a video you don’t want to miss! (Be aware that this video pre-dates Common Core. Thus, when Dr. Mass calls for a new set of Math Standards for Washington, he is not referring to Common Core. He is instead, calling for a rejection of the fuzzy, reform math that plagues them.)
It goes without saying, should any of the NCTM’s “fuzzy” standards make their way into Indiana’s new “draft” standards, it’s up to the Indiana State Board of Education (ISBOE) to void them before final adoption. We know there are a number of smart, intelligent ISBOE members who could certainly lead such a charge!