Sunday, 17 September 2017

Only An Observation on Common Core

I sat this morning and watched a 15-minute YouTube rant by a parent....having to deal with their kid in the new school year and yet another episode over an assignment in math.....dealing with Common Core math situations.

The assignment was a word episode.  There's probably six numbers laid out....a particular question, and you need to determine two things (at least in my humble opinion).  The two things are: (1) the red herrings (wasted and information of no value), and (2) the final formula.

As a kid, it would have been great to have some math mentor stand there and explain red herrings and how they fit or stand-out.  I wasted probably five years of my youth without this red herring explanation, then finally one day....the right math teacher wasted ten minutes to drill down into a three or four word problems....then ID each red herring, and it all made sense from that point on.

But in this YouTube rant....the parent is all pepped up over Common Core and the need to make this formula into a half-page problem/solution....rather than just four numbers with some addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division 'artsy' stuff done.

In some ways, this Common Core business is about having some kids stand there and invent an Einstein-like formula over four simple numbers which in the end....need to equal 63.

In today's world.....I would have been sitting there (age twelve) and grasping the foolish nature of Common Core math, and probably decide to really take this to the degree required, and write a four-page breakdown of Farmer Joe's wagon, and the six products on the wagon, and show in some rocket-science type math equation that 63 is the answer.

The sad thing is that some idiot math teacher would have branded me as some Archimedes-type character, or the second coming of Srinivasa Ramanujan.  Some math department would have jumped on some chance to recruit me for a scholarship, and I'd be standing there at age twenty-five with some useless PhD in math because I could write a six-page formula for a six-line problem. It's the kind of thing that real mathematicians freak out about.....making a formula into a fake or fraud.

I have this opinion that most university departments are going to create an entry-level math program where you need to complete two high-school-like overcome your stupidity level from high school....thus charging you around $600 per course, and then get you to the level that math makes sense once again.  Well....yeah, this might actually cause you to add one whole semester onto your path and cost your dad another $7,000 for that one extra semester deal.

For the crowd who don't go off to college?  I suspect in twenty years....we will have fifty million Americans who can't calculate simple real-life problems and we have to hire special people (usually college math graduates)....who figure out how many apples that Farmer Jones has on the wagon, or how many buckets of liquid pest-control you can spray on your forty acres of farmland.