Latest News

With Fractions, Common-Core Training Goes Beyond ‘Invert and Multiply’

“Who would draw a picture to divide 2/3 by 3/4?” asked Marina Ratner, a professor emerita of mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley, in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Ratner meant the question as rhetorical—she’s an adamant opponent of the Common Core State Standards in math and spends the article arguing that they’re making math education in the country worse. Her point was that drawing such a picture is a waste of time and makes the problem overly complex. 

However, at a professional development session on the common core I attended last month, held by the Maryland department of education, a small group of middle school math teachers learned how to illustrate these types of equations. And as evidenced by the “oohs” and “ahhs” voiced during the hour-and-a-half-long session, most attendees found it quite illuminating.