by Lacey Leonard-Mendola, The Buffalo News
Common Core promotes thinking, not memorizing
Regarding the letter, “Common Core curriculum doesn’t teach critical skills,” I’d like to thank the writer for volunteering in local schools, however, her perception of mathematics in schools is misconstrued. “Meanwhile our schools are full of kids who can’t do basic addition because they’re spending their time measuring lines with paper clips.”
Maybe based on her experience, she sees children playing with paper clips to measure things, but as a Buffalo teacher I see children engaged in their learning. Basic addition is just that, it’s basic. Our children need to think for themselves and explain how they come up with an answer because they’ve previously only had to memorize facts. It is our job to help them be successful and reach their full potential.
I would be doing a disservice to our children if I only taught them how to memorize facts. My colleagues and I help our students learn basic math facts in addition to the process behind it. Math is not kill and drill like it once was taught. Students are engaged in rigorous activities. We live in a society where the old way was good enough, but where did that get us?
Her blanket statement that Common Core does not teach critical skills is a misconception. They just aren’t taught the way she’d like them to be.