Education

With Common Core, Fewer Topics Covered More Rigorously

By cutting back on a hodgepodge of topics and delving deeper into central concepts, the hope is that the children will understand it better.
September 3, 2013

If the new mathematics standards adopted by New York and 44 other states work as intended, then children, especially in the lower elementary grades, will learn less math this year.

 
But by cutting back on a hodgepodge of topics and delving deeper into central concepts, the hope is that the children will understand it better.
 
So, for Mayra Baldi, a kindergarten teacher at P.S. 169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that will mean focusing on numbers. “You have to deepen their understanding,” she said. “You have to get them to think more.”
 
Under the previous New York math standards, kindergartners were expected to learn to orally count to 20 and write the numbers from 1 to 10. Under the new standards known as Common Core, they are to count 100, both by ones and by 10s, and to write all of the numbers to 20. To make time for the additional numbers, the new standards drop rudimentary introductions to concepts in algebra and statistics.
 
“Historically, in American education, we have done every concept in the world a mile wide and an inch deep,” said Kate Gerson, a senior research fellow at the Regents Research Fund, a privately financed group that advises the New York education department.
 
The earlier New York standards also called for mastery of math knowledge. But, Ms. Baldi said, “It wasn’t realistic. Now each grade has a focus.”

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