The New Yorker: Louis C.K. Against the Common Core

By | May 1, 2014

Comedian Louis C.K. sends his daughter to public school.  Like most parents, he is struggling to understand the change to his child’s schooling experience under the new reforms made by NYSED.  The following article, written by Rebecca Mead of The New Yorker, explains his recent frustrations and his attempt to vent some of them on Twitter…

On Thursday morning, thousands of children who attend public school in New York City will be sitting down for the second of three days of standardized math tests. Among them will be the offspring of Louis C.K., the comedian. Earlier this week, he took to social media to express his frustration at his daughter’s math homework, tweeting the questions she was required to solve to his more than three million followers. “My kids used to love math! Now it makes them cry,” he wrote.

Math looks different these days from when Louis C.K. and his contemporaries attended school, and many similarly aged parents have found themselves puzzled by the manner in which math concepts are being presented to this generation of learners as well as perplexed as to how to offer the most basic assistance when their children are struggling with homework. If you are over the age of twenty and not yourself a teacher, it is unlikely that you will have an intuitive facility with a “number line,” or know how to write a “number sentence,” or even understand what is meant by the omnipresent directive to “show your work.”

In several of his tweets, C.K. blasted the Common Core, the federally approved (but not nationally mandated) standards that most states, including New York, have adopted. Parental critiques of Common Core math problems have gone viral before. At the same time, defenders of the Common Core have argued that the standards themselves are not the problem so much as the poorly conceived or badly expressed curricula in which they are often embedded. This defense sounds reasonable enough, though parents whose children come home with worksheets presenting obscurely worded or illogically presented problems and bearing the words Common Core can hardly be blamed for conflating the two.

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