Robert Wood: Core thinking

March 31, 2014 

This school year I have had the opportunity to regularly help my third-grade grandson with homework after school. Having read the March 21 news article “ Common Core standards debated,” I was amused and a bit confused over all the fuss.

From what I see, third-graders in Wake County schools are learning how to read, do math and so on, as I did as a third-grader in 1964. The difference is mainly in approach: Under common core, students are learning to think as well as practice the essentials of the “3Rs.”

My grandson is spending more time thinking his way through an assignment rather than simply memorizing formulas and facts (as we did back in ’64). In this digital age where all facts are instantly available in cyberspace, it seems less important that students rely on rote learning and instead learn how to create ideas and solve problems.

I note that Indiana is “repealing” Common Core in their state, but replacing it with a new program with nearly identical standards and goals. Apparently, it is the label that Hoosiers find repugnant, not the ideals. I urge critics to withhold their comments until they’ve spent a couple of hours doing some homework.

Robert Wood

Cary

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