Common Core: So kids can work on hard math problems in a new way, and it’s all Obama’s fault (says one man)

I found this article on, a textbook example of the hypocrisy behind much of the opposition against Common Core educational standards. For those who don’t know, Common Core is a set of learning goals in mathematics and English language arts/literacy that serve as an outline for what a student should know and be able to do by the end of each school year. 44 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories have already voluntarily adopted the Common Core standards, and are using them to help comparatively assess the quality of the education being received in their schools.

My feeling on Common Core is that it gives students more tools to solve the same problems. I always solved math in nontraditional ways in school, so I appreciate the attempt at mainstreaming these alternative methods. Erick Erickson, however, a writer for the conservative publication Red State, does not feel the same way. When his 3rd grade daughter came home with this assignment sheet, Erick took to the Internet with an anti-Obama-centered rant against the Common Core’s suggested way of thinking about subtraction. Since Obama is clearly involved here…


Image via Red State

At first glance, sure this is a bit confusing. But if you start to see the implications for how it encourages children to think, Erickson’s reaction makes just as little “freaking sense” as he thought of this math lesson. Like healthcare reform, or tax paperwork, or voter registration, Common Core might not be the best possible solution for the problem it’s trying to address. But, it is a place to start working towards a better solution. Whether or not it succeeds depends on if all interested and involved parties are willing to give suggestions and alternatives, not just negatives and nos.

If you want to know more about the guiding concept behind Common Core, check out this short video: