Bad Dad vs Common Core Math

For those of you who haven’t been exposed to Bad Dad before, he’s my husband and he’s a little fresh. We usually don’t let him out around polite company, but once in a while he finds a way to sneak onto the blog and horrify me. If you haven’t met him before, I apologize in advance…

Bad Dad vs Common Core MathI’ve always been a fan of math. There, I said it. My wife may have mentioned it once or twice, but behind this persona of raw rugged ba—hey, stop laughing—whatever. Nerd is not something I’ve never been called.

Algebra in high school made so much sense to me. Logic? Proof? It’s the thinking man’s dream. I may or may not have taken a course in college called “Philosophy and Lord of the Rings.” Anyway, nerds are cool now from what I’ve heard.

Math is good shit. One might say:

 “Todd, trust math. As in Matics, Math E. First-order predicate logic. Never fail you. Quantities and their relation. Rates of change. The vital statistics of God or equivalent. When all else fails. When the boulder’s slid all the way back to the bottom. When the headless are blaming. When you do not know your way about. You can fall back and regroup around math. Whose truth is deductive truth. Independent of sense or emotionality. The syllogism. The identity. Modus Tollens. Transitivity. Heaven’s theme song. The night light on life’s dark wall, late at night. Heaven’s recipe book. The hydrogen spiral. The methane, ammonia, H2O. Nucleic acids. A and G, T and C. The creeping inevitability. Caius is mortal. Math is not mortal. What it is is: listen: it’s true.”

Great quote from a great book.

Bad Dad vs Common Core MathMy point is, the other day my kid sat down to do her homework. She’s learning division. I was pumped. Then she showed me how she had to work out a problem and show her work and I got so mad I punched our cat directly in his cat face. Or maybe that was a dream.

I don’t know about you, but I learned pretty much everything I needed to know about multiplication and division from the back of a composition notebook. There is literally a table on the back inside cover.

There are tricks to remember when confronted with a problem of course, and so when Sam had her problem—45 divided by 5—I said, “Well Sam. 5 times 10 is 50 right? So this is easy. 45 is 5 fewer than 50 so it’s 9.”

Boom. Easy right?

NOOOOOPE. Show your work. And by “your work” apparently the common core means “show some dumb ass shithead the way to do math like a goddamn lunatic.” So instead of saying “Well, 45 divided by 5 is 9 because I understand math,” she has to write:

45 – 5 = 40. 40 – 5 = 35. 35 – 5 = 30. 30 – 5 = 25. 25 – 5 = 20.  20 – 5 = 15.  15 – 5 = 10. 10 – 5 = 5.  5 – 5 = 0.

Now, count up the subtraction problems you just wrote for no reason. 9! And I can’t even give her a damn composition book and tell her to study the table so she doesn’t need to do this crap because if she doesn’t do this on the stupid state tests she’ll legally be a dullard or whatever.

I won a math bee in elementary school and the whole premise was that they asked you addition/subtraction/multiplication/division problems in quick succession in an increasingly complicated manner. You had to answer quickly.

The common core math bee would be like 24 hours long. 6 x 7 – 2 / 5 + 2 x 7 = ?  HOLD ON GIVE ME A PIECE OF PAPER AND LIKE FOUR HOURS.


I am going to teach my kid how to do normal and good math like a goddamn human being and tell her that her test is stupid and that, although she has to do it that way for the test, she should know that this is vile subhuman bullshit and she is better than it.

(I may phrase it differently.)

Written by Jennifer Garry
Jen is a freelance writer and girl mom from New York. When she's not knee-deep in glittery crafts and girl talk, you can probably find her sprawled across her couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon with dark chocolate smeared on her face. The struggle is real.