The Pedagogical Agenda of Common Core Math Standards | Education News

Barry Garelick is a provocative fellow. I can appreciate that. I can appreciate that he's willing to take a careful look at how we teach math and arrange our standards. I can appreciate how he seeks out weaknesses that we should all be aware of. But what I have a much harder time appreciating is his willingness to make very bold claims with few citations and little evidence. For example, Garelick says, "Common Core ... redefines algebra as 'functional algebra', which does not prepare students for STEM careers." Is there some study supporting this? Perhaps a qualitative analysis of workers in STEM careers that indicates we don't need to be stressing functions in algebra? Or a pseudo-experiment comparing graduates of "functional algebra" programs versus other algebra programs, and tracking their paths to and success in STEM careers? I try to make decisions based on evidence, and I'm pretty good at recognizing when knowledge is being tangled up with beliefs. Like so much in the math wars -- often from both sides of the debate -- the latter gets stuck in the way of the former.