Checking homework: Ohio dad's ridicule of Common Core goes viral

Doug Herrman posted his image on his Facebook account. His caption: 'Wrote a check to Melridge Elementary using common core numbers. I wonder if they'll take it? ‪#‎YouFigureItOut‬'

Doug Herrman posted his image on his Facebook account. His caption: 'Wrote a check to Melridge Elementary using common core numbers. I wonder if they'll take it? ‪#‎YouFigureItOut‬'

An Ohio dad frustrated with Common Core cut a check to voice his disapproval, and got more than his money's worth after posting a picture on his Facebook page.

Exasperated with a math style that has bedeviled parents around the country, Doug Herrmann, of Painesville, made out a check to Milridge Elementary, filling out the "amount" line with a dizzying array of zeroes and x's in boxes. Although he told that he tore the check up and later seemed reluctant to lead the charge against Common Core, it was too late after the photo went viral.

"I'm social media exhausted!" Herrmann wrote on his Facebook page after the image of the check was shared thousands of times. "I was just making a "funny" with the check. You want my real thoughts on Common Core...if you "have" to teach it, keep it in the classroom. Homework should be reading, writing, science, gym (I'm really good at gym) and art (I suck at art) but I can't help my kids with Common Core."

"I'm social media exhausted! I was just making a "funny" with the check."

- Doug Herrmann, Painesville, Oh., father

The Common Core standards, first proposed a decade ago by a coalition of governors and school superintendents, are math and English benchmarks describing what students should know after completing each grade. Supporters insist that the standards are needed to ensure some uniformity across the nation, but critics say testing for national standards indirectly dictates curriculum, which they say undermines local control of education. More than 40 states initially signed on to Common Core, but several have repealed participation amid pressure from parents. 

Herrmann was not the first parent to be flummoxed by math techniques that bear little resemblance to old school arithmetic.

One test question that garnered parental scorn asked, "Tell how to make 10 when adding 8+5."

The student wrote, “You cannot make 10 with 8 + 5,” to which the teacher apparently replied in blue ink, “Yes you can. Take 2 from 5 and add it to 8 (8+2=10) Then add 3.”

Glyn Wright, executive director of Eagle Forum, told last year before school began that math was one of Common Core's weakest points.

“The math standard focuses on investigative math, which has been shown to be a disaster,” Wright said. “With the new math standard in the Common Core, there are no longer absolute truths. So 3 times 4 can now equal 11 so long as a student can effectively explain how they reached that answer.”

Stanford Prof. James Milgram, the only mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to sign off on the math standards, calling the whole thing “in large measure a political document” during testimony he gave in May 2011 in which he advocated for Texas not to adopt the Common Core standards.

“I had considerable influence on the mathematics standards in the document. However, as is often the case, there was input from many other sources -- including State Departments of Education -- that had to be incorporated into the standards,” he said during the testimony.

Earlier this month, a federal judge rejected GOP presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s push to block federal officials from penalizing Louisiana if the state quits Common Core.

Opponents, including Jindal, said the standards are developmentally inappropriate and part of federal efforts to nationalize education. The Louisiana governor once supported the standards, but changed his position as Common Core became more unpopular in the GOP.

The Obama administration embraced the standards and encouraged states to use them.

Last school year, Common Core-aligned standardized tests marched forward, going from paper-and-pencil to the computer to allow for questions to adapt in difficulty based on a student's answer.

A new baseline of testing data was expected as a result. However, many states had technical issues with the electronic form that left them unable to complete the testing. Others saw an unprecedented spread of refusals. That means a new school year without complete testing data in many areas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report