I don’t have a horse in this race, at least not yet, but I’m fascinated by how conservative resistance to the Common Core educational standards have swung 180 degrees since the Obama administration signed on to them. Common Core standards were originally put together by state governors, many of them Republican. But when Obama endorsed it, conservatives reflexively rejected it… because, well, anything Obama does must be evil. (Obama could discover the cure for cancer, and Republicans and conservatives would denounce it as a socialist scheme.)
I haven’t followed the Common Core standards closely, but the controversy over them reminds me of the New Math controversy in the ’60s and ’70s. I gather that the central issue is similar: an emphasis on understanding basic concepts, rather than rote procedures.
Here is an example: It’s Worth Taking a Full Minute to Learn How to Add 9 and 6: A Response to the “Common Core” Critics
His example: how do you add 99 + 47?
The smart people realize that 99 is 1 less than 100, and so add 100 to 47 minus 1, and get 146.
They don’t write down the numbers in columns, and ‘carry the 1’, and so on — the standard rote method for addition that is… traditional.
I gather that Common Core teaches such methods, that take a bit longer to learn at first, but that save much time in the long run. (Analogous to taking time to learn to type, rather than hunt-and-peck.) Yet, conservatives and right-wingers reject this reflexively. (See that post for links to examples.)