Perhaps I was being a bit extreme and I like the gist of your idea here.

The problem I see with the way things have been done, is they’re tying too many things together into one place, including self-esteem. Removing an “I *can* do this” attitude and trying to replace it with new building blocks is a dangerous process that needs to be handled carefully. I’ve seen people in the military that they broke down and remolded in the fashion… but they were over 18 years old.. and even some of _them_ cracked and couldn’t be put back together again. Thankfully, it _generally_ works, but I don’t worry about the “general” but the outliers. Our greatest resources for future innovations whose creativity is cut off to exchange it with conformity.

I don’t see the need for the exchange. Separate the steps.

That’s why I like your “simplify the proof” idea. Here’s how I would do it:

Instead of having to “show your work” (make it optional) for their OWN math problems, they should look at MANY MANY examples of _other people’s work_ and offer possible ways that it can be simplified.

Who knows? Perhaps by showing a LOT OF different math styles, a kid might find *their* logical process shown up there and _decide_ to choose a different way, or continue with the ways they’re comfortable with.

For example: I do math in my head. But I have my own ways to do it. It’s not what they taught in school. I have an intuitive math sense. If I was to break it down into steps that work – and they work *very very quickly* in my head – it wouldn’t look ANYTHING like the type of methodologies I ever saw in school, or even in some of the newer Common Core methods (going by 5s and 10s).

Even the institutionalized methodology for doing math, was once simply one person’s short-cut for math. The beauty of math is that it’s SO FLEXIBLE; you can get there by MANY MANY roads.

The “efficient formula” seems nice, and may work for some people and I _suppose_ it *could* be the “preferred way”. I just don’t like it being the EXCLUSIVE way.

I suppose, in that sense, Common Core is doing some of it better. Maybe I’ve just outlined the idealized Common Core; initially I _thought_ that’s what they were going to do, but they weren’t, and they’re not; they’re just substituting one dogma for another dogma.

Anyway, I like the idea of showing various ways to accomplish the same thing, so long as it doesn’t force a single method to dominate in their OWN WORK that’s tied to grades.

In Common Core literature, they say, “Expect the grades to go down for a few years. Since Grades are simply a measuring tool and not saying if you’re a good or bad student, therefore grades don’t matter”.

Nice if it was true, but it’s wrong. Grades DO matter. Kids/parents/aunts/uncles keep score. Can’t take the sports out of academics; and making it hard for EVERYBODY by removing all the working shortcuts doesn’t help things.

Ok.. looks like I started my common core rant tongue emoticon I should shush.