4th grade CCSS math problem
Can you guess what 4th grade math problem this is solving?


This Arkansas mom explains to the Arkansas State School Board how a math problem is solved in Fourth grade CCSS aligned curriculum:



I have a Math question for you board members, are you ready?  Get your pencils out.  I’m not kidding.  Are you smarter than a Common Core fourth grader?  Let’s find out.  The problem is:  Mr. Yamato’s class has 18 students.  If a class counts around by a number, and it ends with 90, what number did they count by?  I’ll restate the problem.  If a class counts around by a number, and it ends with 90, what number did they count by?

Does anyone on the Board have an answer?  (Board member says “5”).  That’s right!  And may I ask, Madam, how did you come up with that answer?  (Board member says she divides 18 into 90 and comes up with the answer “5”).  You know why?  Because that’s what makes sense, right?  That’s the way we were taught to do it at the fourth grade level.

This (holds up worksheet), however, is what the Common Core expects our fourth graders to do.  If they solve it in those two steps they get it marked wrong.  They are expected to draw 18 circles with 90 hash marks in exactly 108 steps.  Board members, this is not rigorous.  This is not college ready.  This is not preparing our children to work in a global economy.  Skipping rote memorization tables of multiplication tables is hindering their ability to master long division and fractions later on in the semester.

Now our children who were testing in the 80th or higher percentile in math last year are now coming home with Cs, Ds and Fs on their report cards.  Not because as Arne Duncan would put it, “it’s the white suburban mothers who think their children aren’t as brilliant as they thought they were”, but because….(interrupted by Board member for time)…thank you.

I encourage you to listen to us when we send you our emails despite the comments that were made by our Chairperson here today.  Our concerns are not based on hysteria or propaganda, they are based on fact and we are prepared to present those facts.

Can you see the trembling in my voice?  Parents have not had a voice here and you need to listen to our concerns.  We are moving forward with our legislature to make some very serious changes to this and all I ask is you bend your ear and take us seriously.  We are college educated parents and I come to you with 12 years of college education and a former member of the National Honor Society when I tell you this is not working.  It’s not what they told you it would be.  We will save the privacy concerns and our testing concerns for our legislature.  But when it comes to standards, that’s your ball  court, and we need you to help us with this, because this is dumbing our children down.  Thank you.


There is no video I could find showing the Chairman of the Board’s comment that the mom referenced.  The State Board Chairman is Brenda Gullett.  From the Arkansas State Board of Education website:

Brenda Gullett, a former state legislator, wants the State Board to do everything it can to “support and empower” schools as they implement the Common Core standards. “I believe that this board has taken tough stands to resist educational options that would not be in the best interest of the students,” Gullett says. “I am very proud of that.”








Gullett belongs to the National Association of School Boards (NASBE) and has been involved with the National Governor’s Association (NGA) in its support of the CCSS Initiative.  She was a moderator at a NASBE conference with attendees including Linda Darling-Hammond, David Coleman, and Missouri President of the State School Board, Peter Herschend.  The sessions were sponsored by such organizations such as:

  • AdvanceED
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • The Wallace Foundation
  • Mylan
  • The College Board
  • ACT
  • Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt
  • Wireless Generation
  • Pearson Foundation
  • CTB/McGraw-Hill

Could an Arkansas citizen obtain the video or transcript with Ms. Gullett stating that CCSS concerns are based on hysteria or propaganda? This mom shows what CCSS looks like implemented in 4th grade math.  It doesn’t look hysterical or like propaganda to me, does it to you?

Is Ms. Gullett relying on propaganda when she states her support of the standards?  Where is the research and data on which she bases her support of the corporate push of the standards?  Can she prove that the math problem the mom referenced is developmentally appropriate, ensure college readiness (for a 4 year university) and prepare kids for a global workforce?  Where is her data proving those claims?



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