The Common Core Math Standards mirror the California Math Standards adopted by California in 1992. The problem with the standards was the overemphasis on pedagogy (instructional methods) at the expense of mathematical content knowledge. (link1) Here are some facts about what happened in California.
Results from National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were released in February 1996. While the nation as a whole made some improvements, California’s fourth graders scored below their peers in 40 states and came out ahead of only those in Mississippi. A careful analysis of NAEP trends for the nation as a whole was published by the Brookings Institution later in September 2000, but California’s relative downward slide reinforced the political will toward writing explicit mathematics standards and rectifying the 1992 framework to include more attention to basic skills.83
Adding to California’s concerns was a steady increase in remedial math courses on the 23 campus California State University (CSU) system. The percentage of entering freshmen failing an entry level math test used by the CSU, and requiring remedial courses, steadily increased from 23% in 1989 to 54% in each of 1997 and 1998. While there was no proof that the decrease in math skills was caused by the constructivist math programs in the schools, school mathematics seemed to be getting worse rather than better as the NCTM reform agenda expanded.
It is interesting to note that the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) also endorses and supports the Common Core Math Standards. (link 2)
According to Stanford University Emeritus Professor of Mathematics R. James Milgram, the programs and the actual curricula are back. California got rid of them, and they’re back in the Common Core Math. All of this is a repeat of went on in California in the 1990’s.
How long does it take to reverse the damage that was done to kids with the California 1992 standards? If kids had been fully in the system for three to four years, you couldn’t repair it. Think about that for a minute. For early implementer districts such as Sioux Falls School District, children are in their third year of being fully immersed in the standards. You can listen to the conference call with Dr. James Milgram here. If you can only do one thing this week, please listen to the conference call.
.We don’t get a do over in the education of our children. The first rule of education should be “Do No Harm”.