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OP-ED: Common Core crash-course
August 30, 2014, 05:00 AM Imperial Valley Press

We’re certain that few teachers, if any, would admit that math instruction under the new Common Core State Standards is even confusing to them. After all, many of the current teachers learned how to instruct under different guidelines and schools of thought on what works and what doesn’t.

But if we’re all being honest, there is much confusion on everyone’s end on how to reach students with new terminology, a new process and a new way of thinking that even has changed vastly from first grade to fourth grade, for example.

Teachers, fortunately and as part of their ongoing education, have professional development to bring them up to speed, to enhance and reinforce what they already know with new techniques to better educate our children.

Parents haven’t been so lucky ... until now. We recently reported on a set of tools being promoted by the state Department of Education to help instruct parents on Common Core procedures through various video tutorials and online instruction meant to better assist parents with homework help.

We referenced comedian Louis C.K.’s widespread Tweet about Common Core math making his children cry, but from what we have seen, heard from other parents and experienced ourselves, there is much truth to this. To be a truly engaged parent means helping your children with their homework, reinforcing and being a partnership in education with their teachers. But when a parent does not have the same skill-sets as the teacher, helping can be an exercise in frustration for the parents and the child.

We give you an example. We’ve seen some early fourth-grade math homework, using terms and definitions that are alien to us, such as figuring out how to break down the values of large numbers. Terms being used include “number period” rather than group or value, ideas that even the most savvy parents might struggle with. We know it took an Internet search on Common Core worksheets and curriculum just to find out how to explain it to a child.

These resources made available through numerous sites and the Department of Education aim to make that process easier, to allow parents to learn right alongside their children or separately. It can be heartbreaking to watch a child struggle with their homework and feel helpless to do anything.

We are so very glad this resource is out there, and more important, that local teachers, school districts and the state are really pushing the message home, too, that we all have something to learn — and can — to make our children better students and better learners.



Tags: parents, their, children, teachers, homework, being,

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