crazy crawfish


Crazy Crawfish, a blogger from Louisiana who was previously employed by the Louisiana Department of Education, wrote an article on Common Core aligned curriculum in November 2013.  He explains the history of the adoption and implementation of the Initiative and its lack of transparency to the public.

He frames the argument that this is not a ‘right/left’ issue and presents a viewpoint of what Common Core looks like in the classroom by systematically explaining how a first grade math problem is expected to be answered via the Common Core standards methodology.  It’s a bit long but if you want to read an outstanding experience to ‘first grade math hell’, read his article on this homework assignment.  Ask yourself if anything is different in September 2014.

From My attempt at completing my first grader’s Common Core math homework – and a little historical CCSS context:


While John White and Chas Roemer claim CCSS give teacher more flexibility to design their own “curriculum” (which is really just the specific lesson plans, not a curriculum at all) this flexibility and freedom is an illusion. We are all free to fly to the moon, but that doesn’t mean we can do it.  If it was easy to design a daily curriculum then textbook companies that were poised to make enormous profits on this endeavor would have already produced them, but in most, if not all schools, no new text books supporting Common Core have been issued.  Louisiana implemented Common Core before we even had textbooks and have to rely on license free worksheets like the ones produced by EngageNY to teach our children.  But my first grade child in East Baton Rouge parish is not learning anything from these worksheets.  I am telling her what to fill in, after brainstorming with Facebook friends and family (some of whom are elementary teachers and mathematicians) to try and figure out what the hell I’m supposed to do.  I and my daughter’s grandmothers have no idea what this “math” is, how to help my daughter, or what it’s supposed to be teaching her except to listen to us tell her what to fill in a box.  There are many children that don’t have as many committed adults at home.  How do you think they are faring?

This first sheet is a little blurry, so I apologize. (My completed version of it is clearer.)

The first worksheet question states “Draw the 5-group card to show a double.  Write the number sentence to match the cards.”  Despite the fact that I still have no idea what a 5-group card is, I count a set of three boxes that equals six total boxes, not 5, I also have no idea why a “double” is significant and do not recall ever needing to write a “number sentence.”  This first problem was missing instructions which my daughter’s teacher thoughtfully provided and the third problem appears to have been incorrect and needed to be corrected by the teacher. I wonder how many kids tried working this worksheet out with incorrect examples?

To see the worksheets and read about this tortuous process, read more here.  And be sure to read the reader comments who claim the only reason for the problems encountered by the writer were the teacher’s fault for not sending information home on how to solve them.  Crazy Crawfish replies:

I pulled this as a random example but there are plenty more where this came from.    Does it make sense to teach this way if parents are not aware of this terminology or how to help, even in first grade?    Does this strike you as particularly rigorous, as CCSS supprters claim?    How is this a “deeper understanding” off math.  And what is a double fact that helped me solve a double +1. . . anyone?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Why the coloring?   Why the matching of 5 cards, whatever those are.  Why not call them boxes?   How does one color all the remaining items. . . twice!  What does that teach?    I see people tackling a few little snippets of my critique without addressing it in its entirety or addressing that any of the core claims made by Common Core, that this is rigorous, and necessary to compete in a global marketplace and to get a science or technology job.  I’ve had those jobs.  I have one now.  I still don’t need this and doubt i ever will.    Maybe some of this is explained in a textbook, but our district does not have them.  I’m not sure any district has them or that they exist.    Why does it make sense to rush this through if we’re going to do it so poorly, with untrained teachers, no materials or resources, untested and untried curricula? What exactly did they think would happen?  Only a fool would think this wouldn’t fail.  so our superintendent is a fool, or he intended for this to fail.  Since we tied high stakes testing for grading teachers and schools, and his goal is to privatize all poor performing schools he intends for this to fail, and he and Bobby Jindal are using our kids for their political and personal agenda. . .to create failing schools, which they can close and create more charters that do not get evaluated. . .  for years.

And then if you are ready for some flat out hard truth in plain talk, read the comment from reality chick:

Admittedly, the doubles argument tripped me out as well because I remember doubles in school. However, most parents problems have little to do with this. If you don’t see the problem with some of the common core teaching methods, then you’re a bigger idiot than you think. At no point should this be a concern after learning doubles:
Use number bonds to help you skip count by adding to seven or adding to the ones…
7 + 7 = 10 + 4 = ___

They have already learned their doubles, which by the way is so important as you so rudely let us know… so why do they need over complicated wording to get 7-8 year olds to dislike math even more. Why do they need to continue to learn something they learned the “right way” seeing as doubles are the hail Mary of simple math.

Why isn’t 32-12 equal to 20? If my child writes: 32
And gets it wrong, you are Damn right I’m going to be mad. Because it is right. If you get something right in the real world and some uppity asshole comes along and says, “no, sorry mam, try again, because you didn’t do the problem solving in a friendly enough manner to solve 20,” what the hell would you say to him? I frankly, would tell the weirdo that we aren’t working at chuckie cheese and my 20 can’t get any friendlier, unless I stick it to a clowns face before shoving it up his uppity ass. But if course I’d get fired. Then again, no I wouldn’t because this wouldn’t happen in the real world. In career and college readiness, the only friendly numbers are the ones from a bar or the ones on your paycheck (sometimes). You see, it isn’t helpful. It isn’t rigorous. Its simply stupidity. Its simplicity undercover to over-complicate in a way to only appear more rigorous. Then we win on international testing and state scores. Then government feels happy. Who isn’t happy? The students because you have efficiently confused, burnt them out, and killed their love of learning in one swoop. Do you get it, Mrs. Smarty-pants? Is that friendly enough for ya? Fyi: teachers are refusing to teach the bullshit for a reason. They are going to quit – they are the good and great teachers and our children, our future, will be stuck with the shit teachers, who are only there for the paycheck.






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