A few days ago North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer posted his son Abel’s “Common Core” math homework on Twitter, criticizing the method being used to teach subtraction.
Now he’s back again, this time on Facebook.
Here’s the thing about the Common Core debate, or any debate over teaching methods in general: There’s really no way to resolve it. Some may look at the method above, which Rep. Cramer doesn’t like, and think it makes perfect sense. Others may find that a different approach is more illuminating.
There’s nothing wrong with that. My wife and I differ on the proper method for teaching our daughter how to tie her shoelaces (I’m a fierce proponent of the Bunny Ears Method, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees). Is there really any way to decide a “right” and a “wrong” when it comes to this sort of thing?
There isn’t. Which illustrates the absurdity of top-down, one-size-fits-all education policy in the first place. You can’t treat schools like factories, where we stuff uneducated kids in one hand to have them spewed out the other side as intelligent adults.
It doesn’t work that way. We must allow room for customization and flexibility. To the extent that I have a problem with Common Core, it’s that it represents yet another rigid, technocratic education fad that’s supposed to improve education but will really accomplish very little because it’s just another method.
I really hate that the brawl over Common Core has sucked so much oxygen out of the debate over education. What we really need is school choice policies that empowers parents to choose from a variety of teaching methods, rather than locking them into a public school monopoly where the only method available is whatever the latest fad is in educrat circles.