Citing a confusing homework problem from the U.K., Romper columnist Becky Bracken claims that there are “plenty of good reasons to hate on standardized testing” and “‘Common Core’ federal testing standards. They make homework even harder for kids and their tired parents.”
Only the United States uses Common Core – so it’s silly to suggest a homework problem from Great Britain is evidence that the so-called “federal testing standards” are confusing for students and parents.
To be fair, there are examples of confusing homework problems here in the States, as well. But parents shouldn’t blame high standards for head-scratchers their kids bring home. Standards simply set goals for what students should reasonably know and be able to achieve at each grade level. How teachers help students reach those targets is their decision along with administrators and local school boards.
Curricular materials, like textbooks and homework assignments, are decided by local educators. As former Alabama Governor Bob Riley points out, if parents have concerns about materials assigned for their children, they need to go to their local schools to address those.
We applaud Ms. Bracken for embracing the idea that even while changes to math instruction may be foreign to some parents who grew up under old models, they can best support their kids by working with educators – not against them. Changes to math instruction help students build facility with multiple problem-solving techniques to develop better fluency with numbers and functions, which empowers them to succeed at higher-level learning.
We’ve written about the importance of changes happening in math classes as states and districts implement higher standards, and we encourage parents to learn more. By working alongside educators, families can best support their children and ensure they are prepared to succeed at high levels of math.