This story caught my eye, partly because it’s from the town where I was born in southern Idaho, partly because it deals with education issues, specifically the Common Core State Standards on the ground — er, in the classroom — and partly because of the way it could be spun into silly and inaccurate controversy by radical right-wing people, who have spun similar stories worse.
In Burley, Idaho, junior high schools are teaching values. Not just any values, but “absolute values.” Just wait until the “values coalition” wackoes hear! (Somebody should alert Eric Bolling at Fox News!)
What? Well, yeah, it’s in math class. Still, absolute values? Do the parents know?
Burley Teacher talks about Common Core
By Brittany Cooper
Story Created: Sep 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM MDT
Story Updated: Sep 8, 2013 at 11:57 PM MDT
Math teacher Cindy Tolman enjoys Common Core because teachers can focus on specific areas. She tells us she can use more real life examples and show illustrations of how to do the problems.
In her seventh grade class, she is teaching about absolute values.
“And instead of just saying the absolute value of any number is positive, now we’re teaching them it’s the distance from zero and we actually got a string out and put it on a number line and we compared that the absolute value of a –3 is the same as the absolute of 3 because that’s the distance from zero on a number line,” adds Tolman who teaches at Burley Junior High School.
Tolman says sometimes what parents don’t understand is the Common Core builds a stronger foundation and as early as the kindergarten level, youngsters are receiving a more hands–on education than perhaps before.
Will anyone notice the teaching of absolute values in Burley, Idaho? If they notice, will they avoid embarrassing themselves with a demonstration of their ignorance of mathematics?
More, and related information:
- Magic Valley (Idaho, including Burley) one subject of CBS TV movie, “Teach”
- Task force wades into politics, backs Common Core (sfgate.com)
- Statement from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics on Common Core in math