Please refer to William Zachary’s Dec. 10 letter supporting Common Core. He argues Common Core is the right choice because it places each student in every state on a scheduled path and focuses on understanding rather than memorization. Zachary is wrong because all students do not learn on a scheduled path. Zachary is also wrong about focusing on understanding.
To understand something you have to “know” something else. And one cannot “know” this something else if it has not been memorized. Hence memorization is absolutely critical to learning.
The single biggest problem in educating high and middle school children is discipline. There simply is not enough of it. Additionally, today’s standards in most public schools are so dumbed down it is loathsome.
How do you teach pre-algebra to an eighth-grader who is still counting using their fingers? How do you teach algebra 1 to students who do not know their multiplication tables? How do you teach algebra 2 to a student who cannot work fractions? I have had the misfortune of trying to do this. These kids had been passed along without learning basic things required to succeed. This is still happening.
retired engineer and teacher