That said, this COMMON CORE stuff is bullshit, people. I know that I don't get read, very few people stop by this little blog. However, I have to say this anyway. When people attack CHILDREN I have to speak.
The first thing that I noticed was the fact that most kids today can not write in cursive. The explanation that I gleaned from that was, with the computer age and whatnot, cursive was no longer necessary. Everybody types everything. Cursive writing is an outdated practice. I do have to wonder how people are going to sign their checks in the future, but that is neither here nor there. I accepted it like everyone else. BUT ... and this is a great big jiggly butt...
I have to ask if you love your children. I mean, do you REALLY love them? Cursive writing is a DISCIPLINE. More than a fancy way or a quicker way of writing is is a learning experience that teaches necessary things within itself. It shapes and molds the brain. It has been said that it shows great character and personality--the way someone writes. There's a sense of pride inherent in it at first--when one is young--the accomplishment, the personal style. Everyone does it differently and the difference is nearly as fine as a fingerprint. This fineness, this fingerprint has virtually been eliminated, and I truly feel that the children have lost something great and dear. Personally, I enjoyed the individuality of that rolling scrawl so much that I learned calligraphy in the fifth grade in order to refine my personal signature--to express ME to a greater extent.
This was a first loss but the gulf is getting bigger. The first time I saw common core math, I didn't even know what the fuck I was looking at. The kid had a simple problem: 72 + 72 = ... or some basic thing like that. I'm not all that good at math. Frankly, it bores me. Math was always too absolute for me. Even so, there was a comfort in its absoluteness. Math is not subjective like an English paper. In math, you either have the right answer or the wrong one. Now, that is no longer the case. In common core math you can have the wrong answer and still get the problem correct. There's something wrong with that. There is a LIE somewhere. Math is not subjective. Again, there is only one answer to a math problem.
So I'm facing this common core math problem. And the child who brought it to me starts drawing all these little boxes. And I'm thinking: What in the fuck is this kid doing? This is not an art project. This is math--my most hated and dreaded subject because it was so absolute that it wasn't very interesting to my creative mind. Still and all, I am capable through education of doing such a simple problem without a pencil and paper. I learned my multiplication tables through rote memory. I can add and subtract anything from anything else. By the ninth grade, I was better at it than I thought I was. I hated it. But... comfort. There was a measure of pride in getting that boring thing right, in achieving that common ground with everyone else doing the same problem. In understanding...
Anyway, back to this kid and these boxes. 99 boxes later and the kid came up with an answer that was almost right for a problem that shouldn't have taken more than a few seconds. I'm looking at this pyramid scrawled across most of the page for this baby ass problem and I ask...
"Honey, what is this?"
I shake my head. "This is not math."
This is a long way round to get to a simple thing. All these boxes to add such a simple problem. Using words like 'friendly answer' on the worksheet. Math is not friendly. It's cut throat. It's rude. When you're wrong, you're wrong and do it again and get it right next time. What does being friendly have to do with fucking math?
So now we have no cursive discipline. Friendly math -- where the wrong answer is just as good as the right one. AND ... when is the last time your child had a spelling test?
Remember those sweaty, vomit-inducing occasions? Are they still doing that where you are? Because I haven't seen a spelling test in YEARS. I've seen papers where all the words were spelled, more or less, wrong, and yet, there's a shiny gold star on the top of the page. Not sure if the star was because the kid tried or because they actually turned in the assignment. What I do know is: I would have gotten a big fat RED fuckin' F for turning in something like that. Reading and the English language are FRIENDLY now too.
Let me tell you something real. My FRIEND doesn't want me to turn in papers like that. My friend doesn't want me to take 90 minutes drawing boxes to do homework that shouldn't take more than half an hour if I'd been properly taught the basics. My friend doesn't want me to be a little half dumb robot with a lot of undeserved gold stars, good grades on paper, and very little understanding of basic core material, absolutely no personal self worth, and no ability to critically think my way through things without drawing a hundred or so fucking boxes to add 2 + 2.
Something is very wrong. The world is not 'friendly'. A kid lacking basic skills will not get far and will never create anything useful. A false sense of worth in a 'friendly' environment is meaningless when that environment collapses and this real shit begins. Proud of your Golden Starred Baby? Take a look at their homework. The way that they spell things. How they're doing that ridiculous brain-numbing, exhaustively over-inflated math ... Is that shit spelled and punctuated correctly? Is that math problem correct? Are there a lot of stupid fucking boxes on that page?
Can you recite your multiplication tables without even thinking about it? Can your kid? Why can't your kid?
Something's rotten in the state of Denmark, people. It stinks to high heaven. I read a think that said something like: White Suburban Moms are Bitching about Common Core cause their kids aren't as smart as they think they should be." OBVIOUS TRANSLATION: these uppercrusty bitches think they're better than you.
REAL TRANSLATION: I am not a white suburban mom by far, and yet, they are RIGHT. Do not be divided by labels. Your children's futures are at stake. The kids I care about know proper math and can frame a sentence without spelling and grammar errors. I did that because it bothered me that much. Only one of them doesn't know how to write in cursive. They can read it but they can't write it...YET.
Math is not pointlessly overly complicated little boxes with numbers inside. Misspelled words are INCORRECT. Grammar is important and should not be neglected in favor of keeping everything 'upbeat' and 'friendly'. And being able to sign your name is a source of pride -- kids need that.
And I thought it was bad that they were RED SHIRTING kids who were born near the end of the years so that they went into the class underneath them in order to bring up the overall test scores of that underclass. Because test scores mean money. Fuck the kid who is being held back for nothing.
It all about money. Always.
Someone is making money off Common Core.
Think about that the next time your kid comes to you for help with their math homework and shows you a pyramid.