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Common Core: Both Sides of the Debate

A local mother raises concerns about the common core standards.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Proponents call Common Core -- used in all Arkansas schools -- a set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade.

But a local mother says that's not the case...specifically with math.

Karen Lamoreaux calls it caveman math.

She says instead of just figuring out a problem, students are required to draw out each step, which she says makes the process much more difficult for some.

So, Lamoreaux recently talked to the Arkansas State Board of Education about the issue.

In the December 9th meeting she said, "And now our children testing in the 80th percentile in math last year are coming home with C's, D's and F's on report cards."

Lamoreaux has two children who go to Pulaski County Special School District.

More than 300,000 people watched the video of her as she met face to face with board members after she says she went weeks without any real answers.

"We're on the front lines of this and we're the ones working these standards at our kitchen tables every night at home and we are trying to tell our State Board of Education these standards are not working", Lamoreaux said.

One of the math examples she gave to board members during the meeting, was this: A class has 18 students. If the class counts around by a number and ends up with 90, what number did they count by?

You could divide 90 by 18 and get the number 5, but Lamoreaux says to get the problem right, students must draw out 18 circles, representing the students, and mark each circle until they reach 90. There would be 5 marks in each circle, which would be the correct answer.

Lameroux says student must do more than 100 steps to get that problem right.

But folks with the Board of Education say that's not the case and they're just teaching children different ways to solve the same problems.

Dr. Megan Witonski, Asst. Commissioner of Learning Services,  said, "We want children to be able to think in multiple ways, yes that is one way you can answer the problem, there may be another way you can have the same answer with the same result and still work with that same problem."

Dr. Witonski says Common Core prepares students for life in the real world.

But Lameroux doesn't agree.

She and a group called Arkansas Against Common Core are working with legislators to try and remove it from the classroom.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas State Board of Education pointed out Common Core is a list of standards to follow and teachers still get the flexibility to create their own curriculum.

Dr. Witonski says if parents have concerns about the curriculum they should talk to their child's teacher first.

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