N.C. math standard prove stressful

Published 6:49 pm Thursday, January 16, 2014





The North Carolina Common Core’s math component for high school students is proving confusing and frustrating for some Beaufort County parents and students.

The situation is not helped by the fact that students taking the math courses have no text books.

“One parent concern is that there is no physical textbook,” said Ashley Padgett, K-8 curriculum director of Beaufort County Schools, during Monday’s Board of Education meeting. “When you pick up your geometry textbook your teacher usually follows the chapters. There’s not a textbook that’s complete with this.”

To replace the physical textbook, teachers pick and choose what to teach out of the common core material, which covers algebra, geometry, advanced functions and algebra 2.  The goal of this is to teach the math in sections rather than teach each subject as separate courses.  There are major drawbacks to this though.

Students who wish to attend a community college or university are expected to know algebra 1 and 2, geometry and functions before taking additional math. In total, students enrolled in the common core curriculum enroll in four math courses. This can prove to be problematic for students who may not do well in math or have a learning disability, according to officials.

Padgett addressed this concern by pointing out that students can take basic foundation courses prior to enrolling in the common core math classes.

“Common core is designed to get kids college ready. The common core math is a rigorous curriculum. Everything has been bumped and pushed to career readiness.

It was written and divided into pieces or things that had to be taught prior to high school or during your first three years of math,” added Padgett.

Padgett went on to say that the push for more rigorous math courses isn’t singling Beaufort County out: The state mandated the common core curriculum.

To address the issue of textbooks, Padgett emphasized how teachers are moving towards e-books and by doing so, students will have an easier time navigating through the math covered.  She did note that many students don’t have access to the Internet or computers and stated that the county is looking for ways to have PDF files and printouts available for teachers to hand out.

Despite the opposition to the curriculum by parents, students and teachers, Padgett said that when it comes to career and college readiness, the expectations have gone up: “As leaders from the state talk to college and University presidents and the military, they feel like for kids to really be successful, they need some course past algebra 2.”

The issue of common core has one local legislator taking notice: Senator Bill Cook (R-District 1) is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting so that Cook can hear firsthand his constituents views on the recent implementation of Common Core Standards. The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 3, at Beaufort County Community College. According to a press release from Cook’s office, Lindalyn Kakadelis, from the John Lock Organization, will start the meeting by giving a brief review of Common Core Standards. Becky Taylor, State Board of Education member, will be present. The event is free and open to the general public. For more information contact: Jordan Hennessy at 252-619-3606 or jordan.hennessy@ncleg.net.