California Schools Teach Skeptical Parents the Common Core ‘New Math’

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

California teachers are attempting to lure parents into supporting Common Core by teaching them how to do the program’s infamous “new math” themselves.

The effort comes after Common Core supporters have been unsuccessful inducing reluctant parents to embrace the program through pamphlets produced by California PTA, county offices of education, or individual school districts,

Patty Scripter, vice president of education for the California State PTA, told, “We all want students to be successful and part of that involves parents understanding and engaging in what happens in the classroom.”

A poll last spring from the Public Policy Institute of California found 40% of parents admitted they had not received information about the program; another 16% said the information they had received was insufficient.

Edsource reports that the Alameda County Office of Education organized a math night to educate roughly 70 parents in the workings of Common Core. Parents were asked to solve the same problems their children in 6th through 8th grades faced. In San Francisco’s Sunset District, roughly 60 parents attended a Common Core math lesson taught by former classroom teachers from the San Francisco Unified School District.

Common Core was started in 2006, when NGA chair and then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano
(D) began her Innovation America campaign. It was followed by a 2008 report titled “Benchmarking Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World Class Education,” put out by the NGA, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and a leftist group called Achieve Inc. The report called upon states to “upgrade state standards by adopting a common core of internationally benchmarked standards in math and language arts for grades K-12 to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be globally competitive.”

The Common Core State Standards were created by that same group. Bill Gates became involved, investing heavily in organizations supporting Common Core. In 2009, Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $4.35 billion for Race to the Top, which provided monetary incentives to push educational reform. One criterion was to use a “common set of high-quality standards” that have been adopted by a “significant number of states.” Voila: Common Core.

Lindsey Burke, from The Heritage Foundation, told Townhall:

There is a looming deadline in No Child Left Behind that states are facing in the 2014-15 school year. No Child Left Behind says that every child has to be proficient in reading and math, and that’s a wonderful goal, but states are nowhere near meeting that goal, and there are a cascade of sanctions that will fall down on states if they come up short. So the Obama administration comes along and says, ‘we’ll waive that requirement from you, and we’ll ostensibly provide you relief from No Child Left Behind, but again, if and only if you agree to adopt common standards and other reforms that the White House prefers.’”

Dr. James Milgram, professor of mathematics at Stanford University, has slammed the math standards of Common Core, according to, “By the end of fifth grade the material being covered in arithmetic and algebra in Core Standards is more than a year behind the early grade expectations in most high achieving countries. By the end of seventh grade Core Standards are roughly two years behind.”

This post has been updated.