A few years ago, Andrew Stadel wrote a number of “elevator speeches” about Common Core Math. I really enjoyed reading them and have used many of the ideas in conversations with other math teachers about the Common Core.
I ended up in a conversation recently with a local woman who had been an English teacher for thirty years and has been retired for twelve. She asked me what I thought of the Common Core. While Andrew’s arguments for the Standards for Mathematical Practice really resonate with me, they didn’t feel like the right tool in this situation. Here is roughly what I shared with this former teacher, which I think is my go-to elevator speech for folks outside of math education, arguing for the Common Core on simple, broad terms:
I think the Common Core is great. We’ve had standards for what students should learn for a long time, and I think we always should. Seems useful to agree on what those standards are. They aren’t perfect — some people have an issue the way the Common Core standards introduce algebraic thinking in math, or emphasize non-fiction in English. There’s plenty to disagree about. But the standards that came before weren’t perfect either. The Common Core standards are, in general, fewer and clearer than previous state standards. And they make life easier for me, because I can more easily use lessons from teachers all around the country who share the same goals I do.