The Tampa Bay Times isn’t living up to the standards of the Pulitzer Prize it received for its widely acclaimed PolitiFact series in their recent assessment of the debate over Common Core. In a much watched FOX News TV debate between Texas governor Greg Abbott and former U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett, Abbott pointed to the infamous YouTube video, “nine plus six Common Core.” PolitiFact unpacked Abbott’s claim thus:
Abbott said that under Common Core standards, it takes “more than a minute” to teach a student “how to add nine plus six.”
There is a video that shows a teacher demonstrating how to add nine plus six to make 15, and it takes just under a minute. But the method she uses is not explicitly required by the Common Core standards, though the standards suggest this approach for teaching addition to first-graders.
Abbott’s claim is misleading, though, in that it implies that this method takes an unusually long time or teaches something in a new way. These methods have been around for years and pre-date Common Core. In fact, they align with Texas’ own state standards.
The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context, so we rate it Half True.
The Times continues to leave out the 800 pound gorilla in the room in its cheerleading for Common Core. Its the high-stakes tests which are aligned with Common Core. Kids will have been required to have learned the “six plus nine Common Core” way in order to succeed on the end-of-year exam. Texas’ standards are probably quaint to Core-enistas as they allow the people who actually do the teaching. Common Core does not. Just ask any Florida parent who fails miserably in their efforts to help with homework.
The support for Common Core from the editors of the Times remains curious, especially with them being so firm on testing. Their inability to make the link between the two and Florida’s burdensome accountability system earns them an Incomplete.