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RICH IN THOUGHT - Crunching The Core Numbers
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15-7=8 Or is it 15-5=10 and then 10-2=8?

I’ve never been shy on confronting politically correct causes.

First, it was taking on the “Everyone Gets a Medal” mentality becoming prevalent in younger formative years where no one can fail and rewards are for participation over winning.

Then it was taking on the anti-bullying trend of holding others responsible for the actions of those who somehow don’t like what was said to or about them.

Now in my sights is the new cure-all wonder drug of Common Core Math being used to dumb down our youth in school systems and hold back those not only with calculator-like minds that can compute basic math in their heads, but anyone who understands basic arithmetic.

Initially, Common Core Standards were touted as a “voluntary program,” but actually if a state did not adopt them, then the state would lose funding and be punished.

That screaming in households every night now are local parents trying to help their kids with their homework of Common Core mathematical word problems set in place by educational systems not wanting to lose funding.

As a result, the relative simple math equation of 15-7 now turns into something far more challenging.

To solve the equation, the Common Core-taught student splits the 7 to 5 and 2, then subtracts the 5 to make 10, then subtracts the 2 to get to the eventual answer of 8 that nearly all of us had when took the straight route and did it simply in one move.

Double digit formulas are even more confusing.

Instead of being able to look at an equation and solely do the addition or subtraction, students now have to make columns, guaranteed to make your brain hurt in all the wrong places.

Take the basic math problem 32-12.

20 right? 2 from 2 in the one’s column is 0 and 1 from 3 in the ten column is 2, thus 20.

But if you were a Common Core student you would be marked down because you couldn’t explain how you got the answer.

Whatever – I had this many and now I have this many, no need to explain.

Now solve 32-12 the Common Core way.

Simple arithmetic isn’t so simple anymore because somehow in Common Core, numbers that aren’t tens are deemed too difficult and don’t matter.

First move is to take the 12 that’s being subtracted but count up to an “easy” number like 15. You’ve gone up 3 so put the 3 in the column you’re required to have. Then take that 15 and now go up to 20, an easier number since it’s a ten, and since you’ve gone up another 5, put that in the column now. Then jump to 30, another form of 10 and since you jumped ten more digits another 10 in the column. Then, finally, to 32, the number you started with – that’s another 2 in the column.

Now Common Core scholars, add up the 3, 5, 10, and 2 you have in that column for 20 and there’s your answer – the one we had a long time ago.

Confused yet? See a lot of unnecessary steps and a waste of time? Understand how advanced kids are being held back?

Following these methods has created problems and makes no sense whatsoever.

I’d hate to see what a checkbook register or ledger are going to look like via Common Core.

Some Common Core advocates have gone so far to state that getting the right answer in math doesn’t matter initially as long as pupils can explain the necessarily faulty reasoning they used to get to that wrong answer – i.e. show their columns and what they added.

The lack of space my editor allows prohibits me to explain and get into the absurdities of Common Core multiplication approaches.

Let’s just say what normally takes about 5 seconds to compute now is about half a minute with Common Core’s “box methods.”

Education officials state they use the Common Core method to get the students to think, I believe they themselves need to use that process – THINK – when they select programs for our youth.

Teaching math this way intentionally handicaps our children, making it even less likely they can compete with children from other countries who are receiving a real education.

I’m grateful I grew up before the Common Core Era with my basic addition, subtraction, multiplication skills taking me to be somewhat successful down the road.

Thank you, Roosevelt Elementary School in San Leandro for teaching COMMON SENSE over Common Core.


Richard Paloma is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.