Point of View

A Common Core-inspired Tar Heel test on cookies, voter ID

July 15, 2014 

Since it appears that North Carolina is going to abandon Common Core and establish its own standards, I would like to offer a couple of test questions reflecting recent events in our state. As with lots of things in life, there may be more than one right answer.

1 There is a parade outside Pat’s window, but the people look angry. Pat would like to make them happy so he decides to bake some of his favorite cookies to share with the paraders. His recipe will make 20 cookies and calls for 2/3 cup of chocolate chips, ½ cup of sugar and 1 cup of flour plus some other ingredients. Pat counts 150 paraders, and he would like to make two cookies for each person. How much chips, sugar and flour does he need?

A. 5 cups of chips, 4 cups of sugar and 7 cups of flour

B. 10 cups of chips, 7 1/2 cups of sugar and 15 cups of flour

C. This is a hard question. He should buy cookies from the Piggly Wiggly.

D. This is a bad idea. Turn the oven off. The paraders will not respond well.

2 Thom wants to run for the student senate. The last time a candidate with a similar platform ran for the student senate, she lost, and she did not draw many votes from the incoming sophomore class. Previously, incoming students could register to vote in their last year at middle school. Thom is a current member of the Student Council, and he passes a bill that does away with middle school registration. Further, it requires that incoming students have a letter signed by both parents and notarized in order to vote. In the last election, 1,000 incoming students voted in the largest turnout ever, and his candidate captured only 30 percent of that vote. Overall, she lost by only 200 votes out of 3,000 cast. How many incoming students will Thom’s Voter ID bill have to prevent from voting for him to win the election?

A. 200

B. 800

C. 500

D. Didn’t Thom learn in civics class that the Constitution says the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of age?

Now some short essays.

3 Traditionally the senior class has presented each teacher with a small gift at the end of the year. With the downturn in the economy, teachers have not received a gift for more than five years. Nelson is on the senior class budget committee, and he would like to resume the tradition. Alice comes to him with an idea: A bake sale can raise the needed funds for the gift. But Alice says there must be a budget for advertising the bake sale. Nelson is in a quandary. He needs the money in his budget for the teacher gifts, but he believes that cupcakes are not nutritionally sound and that students should not be encouraged to eat sweets. He comes up with an ingenious plan to include the bake sale revenue in the budget but denies the advertising money. Alice is sad. With Nelson’s plan, will the teachers get their present this year? Why or why not?

4 A panel of scientific experts warns Thom that climate change would likely cause a rise in the sea level on the North Carolina coast. Thom, who is more politically astute than he is scientifically savvy, rejects this report. He realizes that he might lose support from segments of his party and in a debate denies that climate change exists. Today, he receives a bill recommending that swimming proficiency be required for third-grade students in coastal counties. Just in case he is wrong about this climate change myth, should Thom support this bill? Why or why not?

Paul Dreyer of Raleigh is a consultant in the pharmaceutical industry and a math tutor in a Wake County high school.

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