Despite – or, perhaps because of – the fact that Dr. James Milgram once served on the program’s validation committee, he is now a vocal opponent of the federal education guidelines known as Common Core. The Stanford mathematician delivered a scathing rebuttal of the plan’s ostensible benefits in a recent podcast address.
His comments were directed specifically to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s recommendation that the state adopt a similarly constructed version of the federal program after officially rejecting Common Core. The Indiana native noted that laudable inclusions in the state program were rendered unattainable by a lack of reinforcing standards.
Lamenting the existence of a system that facilitates higher mathematical skills, he said that future generations will be relegated to a subpar field of career opportunities.
“If you don’t have a strong background in mathematics,” he said, “then your most likely career path is into places like McDonald’s.”
He recalled the great advantage that California students – especially minorities – made in the 1990s after he took an active role in encouraging students to successfully complete Algebra I in eighth grade. Plenty of other countries competing for high-paying jobs are training their children to comprehend and master mathematics courses.
In the U.S., however, he lamented that Common Core standards and their clones in various states fail to accurately teach the subject or demand students grasp the fundamentals of Algebra, Calculus, and other such courses.
“How can you have mathematics problems that don’t have a single answer or correct answer,” he wondered, “—any answer is correct?”
As America continued down its current path, he warned, other states will continue to take its place as the world’s leader
“In the future,” he said, “if we want to work with the top level people, we’re going to have to go to China or Japan or Korea.”
His overall opinion of Common Core is that its proponents promise much more than the program can deliver.
“This shows that, from my perspective, Common Core does not come close to the rhetoric that surrounds it,” he said. “It doesn’t even begin to approach the issues that it was supposedly designed to attack. The thinks it does are completely distinct from what needs to be done.”
Combatting the destructive potential of the program, he said, will entail the cooperation of those upset with its structure.
“The only way you’re going to get rid of it is state by state and parent group by parent group,” he said. “And if you’re lucky, industry will join you because high tech is ever a more important part of our economy.”
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom