I need you to put away the anger, the hoopla, the diatribes and all the anti-slogans of Common Core you can muster. Put them away! We will need them; we will use them; but at another time…

This time, here and now, I want to spend on one Common Core homework assignment…  One single assignment.  If you work through this with us, you will finally understand that Common Core is not a political issue… it is actually dangerous to our future national security….  We will be dealing with only math in this lesson.  The ELA homework is another fight altogether….

Before you start, open another tab and park this there… It is the homework sheet we will work off.  As you will see in the top right corner, this is Common Core Lesson 1.8; Common Core Standard CC 5; NBT 6

The first problem was done…  The gray print was the answer put in place to show how to think like Common Core. After staring for 5 minutes while trying to think what are they trying to do, it became apparent that the test maker took the answer 14, multiplied each digit by 5 to get 50 and 20….

If one was just looking at the number 70, and figuring how it should be split, the following options come to mind…. (This is as an adult thinker mind you)  70 = 2 X 5 X 7 when broken down to prime numbers, therefore there are only three options if we discard 70 X 1:  they are  2 X 35; 10 X 7; or 14 X 5….. Since we are deciding to divide by 5, the 5 X 14 option appears the best, so let’s use it….

We then break the number 14 into tens and ones and get a 10 and a 4….. Since we divided those by 5, it seems reasonable that we should multiply them by 5 since we are backwards-solving so to speak.  Therefore our first step is to write 50 + 20 under the problem…. We were instructed to use the multiplication and distributive properties so we backwards-use the procedure  just used a second before, and come up with (5 X 10) + (5 x 4)   Now, plain as day we can see if we know mathematical principals that we take the 5’s out, and have 14…..  Voila… You and I and the little kids doing this with us have learned a valuable mathematical concept….

70 is really 5 groups of 14 objects…. Common Core is not really that bad now, is it?  Oh but wait… we already had the answer didn’t we.  And we like the Common Core homework maker worked backwards from that answer to get the problem to work… didn’t we…

So … let me just throw a random question out there…. like… what happens when we don’t know the answer?  Hmm?

Let us explore our options in the same way a child would….  70  is a combination of 3 prime numbers:  2, 5, 7….. Since 2 is easier, let us go with our guess of 2 X 35….

(2 X 1) X (5 X 7) = 70…  Do you see the 50 + 20 ???   Me neither … Scratch that one…  Let’s try another option which makes the most sense…. Seventy is 7 X 10:  that is why it called seventy….

(7 X 1) X ( 2 X 5) = 70… Do you see the 50 + 20?   C’mon, you know it is there… Look… Where is it.  It has to be there (unless of course they gave us a bogus problem to begin with)…  But no… Scrap that one too… Lets try the other one…

(2 X 7) X (5 X 1) = 70… do you see the 50 + 20?   What, where did it go?  We just did that problem and got 14 X 5 = 70…And we did it with a 50 and a 20… So where are they now?  I’m confused.. How can we do a problem when we know the answer and we can’t do it when we don’t know the answer?

You see, the entire Common Core hinges on creating things out of thin air.  50 and 20 were added to get 70, yet we were doing multiplication… So why were 50 and 20 arbitrarily chosen?  Was it because the homework crafter knew the answer was 14 and that times 5 would make it seventy?  Did the homework crafter know that since the answer was 14 that 50 and 20 would then therefore work?

But what about the child who doesn’t know?  Were we born knowing multiplication tables?  I wasn’t. Were you?  Out of all the numbers added together to make 70, why couldn’t it be 35+ 35?  Why couldn’t it be 30 + 40?  Why couldn’t it be 25 + 45?  As children we don’t know if they would work..  we try them all….

(7 X 5) + (7 X 5)  (do you see 5 X 14?)

(6 X 5) + (8 X 5)  (do you see 5 X 14?)

(5 X 5) + (9 X 5)  (do you see 5 X 14?)

Are you still with me, or did you say “fuck it” already; I’m clicking onto something else?  Well your child clicked out a long time ago…. and he still has how many problems to complete for his assignment?  (10 on this page) (6 on the next)…

If adults cannot understand this, how can children?  Now whenever we put these problems up, someone can’t wait to show how smart they are and completely solves all the problems saying  “gee, they weren’t bad. I solved them all in my head… ”

And one can, once one understands the trickiness of the homework assigner.  Problem 2 would be 36 and 60 making 96 to give you 16.  Problem 3 would add 35 and 50 to give you 17.

We laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh at them… Stupid fools.  So proud of themselves for solving little kid problems.  Obviously Common Core is not about finding an answer… They gave you the answer for heavens sakes.  The real intellectual part is trying to figure some hidden reasoning underlying the system they are teaching; that is what gives adults headaches.  Doing well in Common Core as you can see above is only about being lucky and happening to guess exactly like the person who created the test or homework.. randomly picking the exact same option they decided to go with… and ignore all, in this case 68 other possibilities. that would not work doing this way….

69 + 1

68 + 2

67 + 3


Mark Murphy says Common Core makes kids think…  If you followed me this far through all the math, tell me if you agree?  Or is it simpler, faster and far more effective to teach them the old way….

70 / 5,,,,  5’s go into the 7 one time. with 2 left over… 5’s into the 20 left go 4 times…  10 + 4 = 70

There are other easier ways… Break 70 into prime numbers   2 X 5 X 7;  Now take out the 5, what do you have left? 2 X 7 = 14… Answer is 14.  Common Core is not about finding the answer and to most of us in the real world, that is why we do math… Not to play around on the bosses time, but to get correct answers….

  • “Dr.Smith, will this rocket be able to carry this new payload into orbit? “
  • “We could try it and see if it works?  Like shoot it up and if it doesn’t make it, we can send something lighter next time”
  • Can’t you do the math?
  • Uhhh. I learned  under Common Core and it only covers simple numbers…. so, no.”

And indeed it does.

Where as a normal student from the 1970’s could do a problem like this easily….

15,349 + 2(7832) =

If you only learn properties… where do you start?  Prime numbers?  What are the prime numbers of these two?

Crap… 15,349 is a prime number in itself…. How much time will you spend trying to factor it down?  Now what if you don’t know how to add the old fashion way?  And THIS, coupled with the earlier satellite analogy, is why Common Core is very dangerous to America’s future security.  Only a handful of people will be able to guide our nation mathematically.

Instead of Common Core teaching how math is actually done, it does little but teach a series of short cuts… One can remember some but not all. If one doesn’t know how to add, subtract, multiply or divide, all not taught by common core except through memorization of little shortcuts, one cannot solve problems.  If one cannot solve problems then one is math-illiterate.

Common Core sets math back 3000 years, to an existence before the Greeks….  3000 years of civilization simply wiped out by David Coleman and those who foist this upon our children… Our children deserve a better future than we are giving them… Common Core needs to die and to have a sweeping mass protest all opting out of the test, is the only thing that will quickly kill it.

You need to opt out… If you are a grandparent… you need to insist your grand babies DO NOT TAKE THIS TEST. If you are a parent, do likewise… If you are a student.  get sick, don’t take it.   If you are Sweeney of the News Journal, crawl back into your hole and pull your blanket over your head…. you’ve done far too much damage already…..