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Zombie Math: Common Core Math Is the New Math of 1965

Written by Gary North on September 27, 2014

Common Core math for children is a reincarnation of the failed “New Math” experiment of the late 1960’s. The goal is the same: to baffle parents who understand math.

If parents cannot understand how to teach math this way, then they are tempted to turn all teaching over to classroom teachers in tax-funded schools. The parents give up.

This is the #1 goal of Common Core math: to get parents to give up and butt out. It was the #1 goal of New Math, too.

The New Math experiment failed because the elementary school teachers could not understand it. It separated them from the teaching process. Common Core will have the same effect. Trust me.

As long as your kids are not being taught Common Core math in the early years, calm down. Enjoy the show: a multi-billion dollar train wreck. This one is high profile. When the crash occurs, there will be endless explanations. You know the drill. “If only we had been given more money.”

For you younger folks, whose memories of the 1960’s are either vague or non-existent, let me introduce you to Tom Lehrer, Ph.D., mathematics, Harvard. In the mid-1950’s, he produced a 10-inch LP album of songs — among the most clever humor songs in history, though some were a bit risque. All of them are on YouTube. Then, in the early 1960’s, he wrote songs for the TV satire show, That Was the Week That Was.

Then he did a song on the New Math. A mathematician will laugh louder than you will — unless you are a mathematician. Think of this as Common Core I.

I am about to offer you a great example of how the Common Core math methods separate parents from teaching. Warning: you will not understand the following video. It illustrates a curriculum that was designed by educrats to keep you from understanding. It works!

Note: only one university mathematician was on the Common Core Validation Committee, Stanford’s James Milgram. He resigned in protest.

How not to teach math to young children — or anyone else:

This poor woman pretends to understand a brand-new, utterly hopeless curriculum. She is incoherent. She does not understand the extent to which she is visibly and audibly incoherent. She is the front person. Not interviewed were the women on the faculty who were screened by the principal and not selected. They are terrified, for good reason. They will soon be made to look like fools every day, trying to explain Common Core math to children. Most of them were not good at math in high school. They took no math in college. They majored in young child development, where math is not mentioned. (I have 12 semester hours in the field, which I earned at night school when I was 54. There was no training in math, I assure you.) Now they are being used as guinea pigs for a half-baked, jerry-rigged experiment.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.ronpaulcurriculum.com

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26 thoughts on “Zombie Math: Common Core Math Is the New Math of 1965

  1. I didn't find the woman to be incoherent. I suspect that I understood her because I memorized (as she did) addition of all combos resulting in an answer of 10 or less. Hence I know that 9 + 1 yields 10. Likewise, I know that 6 – 1 is 5 (aka 5+1=6).
    Like most of us, tho, I also memorized combos with results thru the teens. Thus, 9+6 is 15. Just as I know that 10+5 is 15. But then so are 11+4, 12+3, 13+2, 14+1 and 8+7, 7+8, 6+9, 5+10, 4+11, 3+12, 2+13 and 1+14. I suppose I ought to include 0+15 and 15+0, but that invites the use of negative numbers which is a bit beyond the grade level. Anyhow, all of those combos are in my memory. And yours.
    What she did was "carry the one" – but she did it first instead of last. I prefer the old way. Simpler. She wasn't incoherent, just needlessly complex.

  2. It may be simple to you–but will not be to the kids first learning. This is only a simple example. Look up how they explain multiplication!

    7 X 6 for example.

  3. I remember the "New Math" they tried in the 60's…and yes, it failed…badly. It was doomed to fail from the start…just like common core math. If it's not broke don't try to fix it.

  4. Common Core is just more social engineering. It is intentionally designed to teach young people slow, inefficient ways to solve problems, to stifle their ability to figure out what the government is doing to them.

    Public schools are already drugging millions of kids (with the help of Big Pharma) to anesthetize them against the monotony and indoctrination that passes for state-run “education” in America.

    It’s universally known that after World War II the US hired members of the Third Reich through a program called “Operation Paperclip”. Our government has been mimicking for decades all the effective ways Nazi Germany controlled its population through education and control of the media.

  5. agree. My 29 yr old is astonished that I can do simple math like that in "my head". And he is an honor society HS graduate and an Ivy league college grad.

  6. Robert Lebischak says:

    When the federal government took over education, we started our decline on free thought. Control slowly at first, then speed up, when a government controls the education of the young, they control the thought process of the future adults. Progressives love this, those few that must lead us into the future. After all we the average citizen is too dumb from the education system to be able to lead, so we must have those that will lead us to equality. Progressives tell us we are all the same, equal, and all should have the same things, equal, take from others and give to others so we are equal, but we need some that are more equal to take us into the future as we can not grasp the way. P.S. I remember Tom Lehrer, have some of his records, now I just need to figure out how to fix the turntable.

  7. True, we learned by remembering and using the ole noggin to figure things out. The teachings of today isn't using the brain to figure in your head its my way or the highway. New math seems very lengthly to me.

  8. I remember that "new math" experiment when my kids were in school. The schools also decided that learning to read with phonics was out, the kids had to learn each word as a whole word instead of sounding it out. My kids were both reading before they started school, thanks to phonics. I told them to sound it out quietly and just say the word, don't tell the teacher what you are doing. Over the years there have been several failed "educational experiments" on our kids, each one drops the US standing in world education another few notches until we are on par with third world schools now. The only system that really worked was the old Three R's – 'readin, 'ritin and 'rithmetic plus the fourth R – responsibility.

  9. Mike Dougherty says:

    Your last sentence was the key. The idea that students in the past who memorized 9+6=15 did not understand why it was true is ludicruos, and perhaps some kind of projection. Of course they did. If necessary, a teacher worth two cents would have grabbed nine objects and six objects, put them together and said, "count!"

    I sometimes think that the people who put together how to teach mathematics to youngsters suddenly notice one pattern, think they are brilliant for noticing it, and therefore want to impose it on everyone else. They could have just as easily noticed that 9+6=10-1+6=10+6-1, in other words if it were a 10 instead of a 9 the answer would have been 16, but 9 is one less than 10 so the answer must be one less. Similarly with 8+7=10+7-2=15. So now should everyone wanting to add 8 to a number just add 10 and subtract 2? That would be easier, or would it be? Certainly not enough to build a curriculum around that kind of thinking. What this lady did might be interesting as a footnote once kids learn their basic math facts, but not as a way to learn it from the beginning.

    If your method would make a Math Ph.D. (like myself) or your average engineer either scratch their head (wondering why you're doing it), or giggle hysterically, maybe there's something wrong with it.

    I see the same weirdness, and sometimes downright incorrect thinking or word usage, on some certification exams for elementary teachers. Perhaps they should ask the actual experts.

  10. sounds all femmy and cozy and emotionally happy.. "friends", "anchoring", etc. What's wrong with memory work? Kids won't ALWAYS have their handy doeverythingbutcookyourbreakfast phones with them to consult. Kids are taught early their names, the names of other significant people (including Mommy and Daddy), their addresses, ohone numbers, birthdays… and do fine with that. The reason so many kids are so helpless when it comes to thinking is that they are not TAUGHT to think any more. Duh….. brains are like muscles… use it or it atrophies. I can work some pretty complex ruogh calculations in my head, on the fly, large multpiles or divisions, and come pretty darn close to the exact answer… certainly close enough to decide whether the offered product, in quantity I need, at the stated price, is a buy or a walk. Or, how many gallones of fuel, thus dollars, to pump into the tank at this ripoff priced station in Northern Californa I will need to make it to cheap fuel in Grant's Pass….. whch requires about five or six steps to get miles in Calif, Oregon, between present locaion and destination, fuel needed for that distance, fuel remaining in tank, safety margin, price per gallon, thus total dollars to pump…. i my head, in a minute or so. No "friends", "anchors", "base tens", or other sleight of mind tricks. Simple fuor functin maths in my head. And I ain't that smart.

    And any kid who is not taught the skills to do the same, even with the assist of a piece of paper (but NO calculators) is being shortchanged and ill prepared for life.

  11. Oleg Gielman says:

    Absolutely nothing wrong with new math, it gives the right answers, it's just another way of learning math …one size shoe does not fit all feet. What's more, memorizing doesn't mean understanding, yet the new math places more emphasis on understanding math, hence has little or nothing to do with common core …I'd even suggest the old math is more common core, it emphasizes memory like a robot.

  12. LiberalsRCommies says:

    I was a 7th grader in a strict Catholic School when "The New Math" was introduced………… no, it wasn't introduced. It was rammed down our throats. And the person doing the ramming was a 5'2 200 lb woman that had her hair pulled back in a bun. A real life Commie bitch. The 50s and early 60s were a tremendous time in America. Full of two things……..Hope and logic. When "They" killed JFK they took away our hope, when they forced things onto us like Vatican 2 and the New Math, they took away our logic.

  13. He is right, Common core is the 60's new math. I had no problem helping my kids through it, but I still think that it is a poor way to teach math. Some kids get it, but others struggle. My son struggled and my daughter didn't as much. After I explained it, they both excelled. It is more likely the teachers. My brother had the same problems with his daughter back in the 80's. He ended up teaching the entire class. It was the teacher not the information. When the teacher asked for early retirement for medical reasons, he agreed quickly and argued for it to his fellow school board members. My daughter introduced her math teacher to Tom Lehrer and she loved it.

  14. Gwendolyn Bowman says:

    We homeschooled our four children. One graduated a year early from high school and when all three of the oldest ones were in high school together they all three finished in the top quarter of their classes. We taught them SAXON math! If some of these inept math provider search committees would do their ¨ homework¨ they might discover that Saxon is the best method for math that exists!!! Our oldest son by the time he was in 11th grade was already tutoring some adult men that needed math skills in their work place.

  15. The method shown above to get the answer to 9 + 6 is not representative of new math or common core. It is an algorithm used to quickly add numbers in one's head, so the newsclip that purports to show how easy is Common Core math is misleading people. I'll show you part of the new math that they're teaching kids:

    Multiply 173 x 5. Then, using rounding to the nearest 100, estimate the solution and see if your answer is reasonable. Ready?

    173 x 5 = 865

    173 rounds up to 200. So 200 x 5 = 1000. Since 865 comes close to 1000, then the answer is *reasonable*.

    Got it? I didn't understand the point, either. I suppose it could be a way to make quick calculations in your head in case you need a quick answer, for instance how much money should I need to take to buy 5 concert tickets at $173 per ticket – the kind of quick calculation one learns to do in time anyway. Except that my 9-year-old is being confused before he can even learn how to be accurate in his answers.

  16. 1baronrichsnot1 says:

    I challenge you Oleg in a mathematicscompetition! I will use Saxon and old school versions of math, you use common core, and rounding with an incorrect answer counts as a wrong answer! Wanta play? We will have a neutral person give us the same test, with a time limit, whoever finishes first and is the most accurate wins!

  17. 1baronrichsnot1 says:

    Oleg, rote works, the same figures used over and over in the same format as equasions are always the same answers! The answers were true yesterday, as they are tomorrow! -x-=+, +x+=+ -x+=-. Robots are computers! Common core allows fingers and hands and toes! Common core takes too long, rote stays foreever! Or at least until we croak!

  18. Oleg Gielman says:

    Baron, some people can calculate as fast as computers, it’s a talent …what really counts is applying the right or most efficient equation to a project.

  19. Bumbershoot says:

    I understand what the thinking behind this is, but I know addition facts. I saw this coming 8 years ago. A 2nd grade math curriculum presented many ways to think about calculations. Good! People have different ways of thinking about numbers. But the curriculum required that students master all the ways instead of whichever is best for them. I knew that soon, one person would demand the method that works for them be the only way taught.
    Mike, it is true that memorizing facts does not guarantee comprehension, and without number sense, Algebra is impossible. Just because you know that 9+6=15 does not mean you know why.

  20. IIRC, 1960s "New Math" had a lot of work not in base 10.

    I've used octal & hex in computer programming, but they don't belong in basic math.

  21. On the other hand, quite a few pupils missing out on entry on their Aspiration University however, not purchasing the essential care about compose which essay or dissertation, a great entry essay or dissertation. Bonuses for you with quality writing and on time delivery.

  22. Empty Pockets says:

    Progressives never quit. They never stop or give up on their agenda. If they hit a stout enough obstacle, one they can't go over, under or around, they simply regroup, rename and try again. Like New Math, Common Core was never about education.

    Everything…every single thing…progressives do is about gaining total control. It's a totalitarian statist agenda.

  23. Unfortunately, this woman does not explain why the 6 was decomposed into 1 and 5. If students decompose 6 into 1 and 5, how will they add 8 and 6?

  24. Phillip the Bruce says:

    "Too Many Songs by Tom Lehrer with Not Enough Drawings by Ronald Searle" – good stuff.

  25. I didn't find it incoherent either, but certainly a confusing method of communicating the concept. I was a math major in college, so would just explain to the students that our number system is base 10 because we have ten symbols to represent numbers 0-9). when we are trying to express an amount more than 9, we adopted a way to represent that amount by placing the number of sets (or groups of ten) to the left of a zero. Every time we need to express more than 9 things, we just put a 1 in front of a zero. So 1 group of ten is written as 10, 2 as 20, etc. When we move from 9 groups to 10 (100), just write it as, of course, 100. It also works that way in the octal system (0-8), hexidecimal system (0-9, a-f). I would like to see this teacher explain common core with the hexidecimal system. Based on Gary's article, it might give us a few laughs to see it explained. I'm not in favor, however, of memorizing anything except basic concepts in math. Memorizing something doesn't allow for logical formulation. Ever hear of a "logical liberal" – it's an oxymoron.

  26. I do not understand the several post which argued against memorization in maths. It's essential to memorize all values which add to 10. The gal in the video did that with 9+1. She didn't explain it because virtually all of us over 5 years of age have memorized those. It only doubles the memorization to go to 20 – and from there up it's intuitive.

    Newmexican is right about the latest craze in math teaching. It is a way to come up with an approximation. In my pre-calculator (slide rule) math lessons, the slide rule approximated the answer. It's akin to how we calc a tip. Say dinner is $29.45. You round up to $30. Divide by 10 for $3.00. You halve that for $1.50 and add it to the $3.00. The tip is $4.50. All in your head. Poor service? Just do the division by 10. Great service divide by 10 and then double it.

    When I was single I rounded my checking account and carried a mental, unwritten approximate balance. All checks written were rounded up to the next 10. All deposits were rounded down to the next 10. I never bounced a check. In fact the account would accumulate an appreciable balance above my approximation. In November I'd perform an actual balance. The overage covered all my Christmas shopping! When I married my wife was appalled at such a practice, demanding accurate and current balance to the cent. Her Christmas presents since have never exhibited the largesse I had under my approximation system.

    There are lots of good uses for base 10 approximating. But, yes, one does need to first know how to determine the actual answer. Or that November suprise can never come.