Another casualty of Common Core in NH
NOTE:  Sometimes kids think they’re dumb and stupid because the math curriculum confuses adults with advanced college degrees.  Blaming the emotional needs of children ignores the glaring problems that exist in the Common Core math curriculum. 

Greenland dumps accelerated math
Oct. 23 —
To the Editor:

Last week seventh and eighth-grade Greenland Central School students lost accelerated math as an option.

An email to parents from principal Peter Smith explained that students were unable to keep up with the optional Common Core “compacted pathway” that allows middle schoolers to complete high school algebra I.

His second email two days later further explained the change, stating that the “emotional well-being” of students was the primary reason the curriculum was dropped. It suggested that separating students by math ability had significant psychological implications.  

It read, “Hearing phrases such as ‘I am in the stupid class’ causes our hearts to break.”

The email went on to point to six articles that support the idea that ability grouping is “demoralizing” and “demotivating” for children.

Intentionally absent from this literature review is the overwhelming evidence that academically strong children need to be challenged.

The Common Core’s own website,, states that the best predictor of success after high school is the “highest level of mathematics completed.” Even more compelling is the admission that advanced math in middle school is crucial for students seeking to take higher level math in high school. Therefore, an optional “compacted pathway” is offered.

The problem arises when communities, unaware of the above facts, fail to advocate for this compacted pathway. When this happened in the San Francisco Bay community, Silicon Valley parents were irate. They knew from obtaining their own degrees in math and science that high school math in middle school is essential. Through parental pressure, the school district included the compacted pathway.

But what will happen in less knowledgeable districts with underprivileged students? Will parents know to advocate for the compacted pathway? Probably not.

Framing the argument for undifferentiated curriculum in a way that claims to support the emotional well-being of students is a travesty. The consequences of not being prepared for high school and beyond are what will deliver the biggest emotional blow to students.

An assessment of the current system is necessary to determine why enough students can’t keep up with advanced math.

Otherwise, parents of modest means who want the most options for their children will cross Greenland off the list.

Aida Cerundolo