Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Deficiencies of Common Core Geometry

Unlike most English teachers, I loved math, in fact double-majored in it. Analytic geometry was one of my favorite courses, and who can forget proving theorems? For most high-school students, it is their first introduction to logic. 

Now it turns out that the designers of Common Core standards for geometry think the latter is nonessential. Here's what Diane Ravitch reports in her blog:

Roy Turrentine writes:
I would like to relate my experience with Common Core. I am a classroom teacher in Tennessee. I have advocated more rigor in education for over thirty years.
In Geometry,which is my main focus, Common Core seeks to unite the Cartesian approach and the traditional approach to the topics studied. The unfortunate aspect of this approach is twofold.
First, the development of the traditional Euclidian approach to Geometry goes back to Euclid himself. His uniting of these concepts created a body of knowledge that has remained intact for centuries. Common Core essentially rejects topics that may only be approached in a Euclidian fashion. Not that they say this. To read the standards you wouldn’t think so. But all the testing depends on the Cartesian approach.
Due to this approach, and due to the nature of the testing, only topics that may be approached in the Cartesian manner are treated. Teachers will surely be teaching less, not more. This brings us to the second point. High stakes testing will restrict teachers to practicing in a very specific way. In our training in Tennessee,the emphasis is more on technique in the classroom than it is on what is to be taught.
Those of us who teach in high schools across America have long desired rigor. To go to meetings where people seem to feel that this rigor is their idea is nothing short of insulting to those of us who have been trying to unite the disciplines for decades. Every good teacher knows what the ideal is. We have been trying to do this for all of our careers. Having Bill Gates give me his opinion does no one any good. Having his opinion become national policy will not serve anyone.
Roy Turrentine
No doubt Cartesian (analytic) geometry is easier to test on computer. After, it's all about testing, right?

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