100-Year-Old Math Teacher Slams The 'Common Core' Method

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Madeline Scotto has gone through a lot of math teaching methods. At age 100, she still teaches at Brooklyn's St. Ephrem's School. We talked with Madeline and no other approach to mathematics has caused her more concern than Common Core. -------------------------------------------------- Follow BI Video on Twitter: />Follow BI Video On Facebook: />Read more: /> -------------------------------------------------- Business Insider is the fastest growing business news site in the US. Our mission: to tell you all you need to know about the big world around you. The BI Video team focuses on technology, strategy and science with an emphasis on unique storytelling and data that appeals to the next generation of leaders – the digital generation.

TickedOff Priest
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Vlad T
Respect your elders..... They lived through shit, so they know their shit
Zane Truesdale
Non American here. What's common core?
Ahriman 616
The concept of K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid) is dying in math.
In class: 4+4 On home work: 10=n+2 On test: Julie has 4 lollipops, she is driving 10 mph, whats the mass of the sun.
Albert Einstein," If You Cant Explain It Simply, You Don't Understand It Well Enough". I Agree
Katherine Butcher
The way math was taught during the 60's and prior to that enabled this nation to produce the engineers that got us to the moon and back.  Why would we want to change that?
I'm pretty sure the classical ways of doing math was utilized when building The Great Wall, nuclear bombs and space flight. No need to do the crap in Common Core. I think it is designed to confuse, frustrate and slow our kids down....on purpose.
Kimberlyn McMurray
She keeps it 100
See kids if you don't do drugs you'll look 80 when youre 100
Damn shes so sharp for being 100. I cant' even say "for being 100"..shes just sharp period. Its more like its unbelievable that shes 100.
The Laughing Rabbit
No child left behind... we can't make them all equally smart, so lets make them all equally stupid.
Passed Judgements
How to teach with common core: if Jonny ate 3 apples and Sally birthed 6 apples how many lines of coke will I snort today?
The Arcadinator
If you put 4+4 into a calculator, it's still 8. WTF!!!!
common core makes me question mankind's survival over the next 100 years
Jane O'Leary
common core math is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. someone's head should roll
Ajax Gordon
the problem with common core math is that it cares more about how you got your answer instead of the answer itself. for example some word problems will have missing information, how do you solve? up to you. the other thing is it's all about the right way, meaning the way they want it. for example one third grader during a test showed his work for 5x3=15 as 5+5+5=15. he was marked wrong because, even though I remember being specifically told the opposite, it's the second number you follow. so he got this problem wrong because he put 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. even though they are the exact same answer. a 5x3 rectangle and a 3x5 rectangle would look the same because x and y aren't specified. further evidence of my statement.
McKenzie Richard
Bless her soul! AMEN!!! AMEN!!! Common Core is ridiculous!! I am a senior is High School and my district just started common core. I used to be a honor roll student, now I barely have a 3.5 GPA. Yup common core sure did improve my grades!
A football coach came with his star running back to a meeting with the math teacher. The player had flunked his last exam and the coach was there to see what his options were. The math teacher, being a fan of the game, said, "Look, I will ask you one question and if you get it right, you pass the course. What is 2+2?" The football player thought long and hard, then venturing a guess, said "four". The coach blurts out "Give him another chance! Give him another chance!"
sushi dream
Making kids in the US less intelligent with common core.
only 90's kids will remember the easiest answer to this equation: 2 + 2 = ?
Common core is a conspiracy is to make maths seem confusing and harder than it really is so people are more inclined to pursue Genderfluid lesbian dance therapy as their major when in college as opposed to Electrical Engineering. Therefore, people go into debt and aren't able to pay their loan back sooner, as opposed to learning an employable skill or trade.
Hector Lamar
Common core is pure Orwellian agenda. 1984 stuff. Done on purpose. More to come.
Back in her day, this teacher was not required to deal with violent, disruptive monsters in the classroom.
Michael Lavigne
"If it ain't broke don't fix it. Back in my day it was just fine, why have new things." What a surprising message from a 100 year old. We have a whole generation of american adults who understand multiplication as "carry the one" and are lucky if they remember the admittedly cumbersome process of long division. When you believe math to be a long process where that involves nothing more than gathering formulas to use when called upon, then there will come a point where you either a) lose interest or b) can't fit another formula into your head.
I'm more impressed with the teacher who is 100 still teaching then the actual context of the video.  I'm changing my career at 44 and there is hope for me yet.  I hope I can live to that age and still work.
Azure and Paige
I totally agree common core is bullshit!! If it ain't broke don't fix it. They are making what should be simple math problems so complicated and making them do more work than necessary. It's so ridiculous.
Ace Acer
You know what they say? If it's not broken don't fix it. for centruries 4+4=8 and it's stupid to go thru complicated multiple steps to get the result. No matter the reason it should always be the same result. 4+4 will never give other results other than 8 period. So why complicate things while they are simple enough around the World. If it's working around the World while being simple why making it complicated? I'd like to say it's better here in Canada but it's not true at all. In the 80's till the mid 90's(the time i was in school from elementary to high school, it might still be in effect today but i'm not sure) the ministry of education tested a method called "normalisation". What it was is if a student had 57% or so in some matters (60% was the standard to be graduated) then due to the normalisation his score was normalazed to become 60%. At that time i personally had a 52% in one matter but to my surprise my score got raised to 60%, just enough to pass but did this normalisation improved my understanding of that matter? Of course not that's why the next year i had so much troubles with that same matter. Why they did that normalisation is probably to have better scores(and therefore less students who fail to graduate) and was looking better when our score as a country was compared to other countries. For me is't like cheating or at least manipulating the stats to brag about something that is purely actificial but in the long run the only losers are the students, victimes of the system that fails them in many aspects.
anna conigliaro
"Keep it simple stupid" this is what my dad says to do in situations that have an obvious answer that I unintentionally complicate.
Zachary Montana
This reminds me of the other kids in my math class. They don't understand the concept of a negative number; thanks to my math teacher: the only thing they "understand" is that the "–" is "just a symbol in front of the number". *Cough*. Stop explaining it like: "If you see this symbol you need to do this and that" and "reverse this (...)."- Explain it like this: Stop QUESTIONING IT; if you're questioning why 4 + 4 is 8, then you're in the wrong class! To English teachers: Stop ranting about the Odessey, a piece of literature (that was supposedly) not originally even written in English, but in archaic Greek! Instead, focus on the stuff you've forgotten about, like common sense, e.g.,: Don't people put two spaces at the beginning of sentences anymore too? Stop! "h" isn't a vowel! Ffs, "a" = indefinite article to precede a word beginning with a consonant SOUND ("honor", for example, begins with an "o" sound, so since the aspiration from "h" isn't REALLY there, you say "an" before this word, i.e., "an honor" ✅) "an" = indefinite article preceding a word that SOUNDS like a vowel, like, the last example "an honor" Also, THIS VARIES BASED ON DIALECT I'm from Long Island, where we tend to say "Historical" like "/'istoricuhl/" (silent "h", but rather an almost glottal stop), so in my accent I COULD say "an historical", that is, if I don't aspirate the beginning of the word. However most dialects should utilize the indefinite article "a" here. Don't capitalize the first letter of every noun you want to put emphasis on! Unless it is a proper noun, don't capitalize it! Also don't capitalize prepositions, articles, and conjunctions in proper nouns composed of multiple words: United States Of America❌ United States of America✅ And of course, yes still capitalize the article if it is the first word in a sentence. The United States is a country. Ffs people- The American education system makes me so dissapointed. We need more teachers like this lady.
A one legged man
'simplicity is the ultimate sophistication' - Leonardo Da Vinci
Noah Mathis
I completely hate common core mainly because it just makes things more complicated than they need to be.😒
Back in my day, we beat kids if they didn’t blindly memorize what we told them! We also kept the blacks in line. Old does not mean good. Understanding math is better than memorizing things because you’re told to. Common core teaches the more important question of “why” instead of memorizing “what”.
Abdelmelik Farooq Alwahid
So I'm guessing subtract 4 from 10 you have 6. Subtract 4 from 6 and you have 2. So then subtract 2 from 10 and you have 8? That's just stupid. All that is necessary is to define the digit sequence and just know where you on that scale. Adding 4 to 4 is going up the ladder of 5, 6, 7, 8. It's simple and logical. Why add all these extra steps to understand basic arithmetic.
Martin Gamer
I know people on most points of the political spectrum (excluding the far far left) who recognize common core for the BS it is. Time to scrap it.
I try
I never and I say never listen to common core. While teachers teach common core, I find a method around it to get it done. Common core is the reason people can't finish their sats. Students are smarter than common core if you let the student think.
Hate common core!!!!!
The root of the problem is that parents think their children are smart, and that school is making them look dumb. They demand that the government do something about that, and the government indulges them, because, hey, they're voters. No Child Left Behind, New Math, and now Common Core, are attempting to fix something that was never broken in the first place. The school system was perfectly adequate. It wasn't the school's fault that students are becoming lazier and dumber every year.
Bad Misty
I've failed math throughout school, from kindergarten to senior year, I never understood it no matter how it was explained. I felt very stupid. Now at 28 after studying common core math to prepare and help my child through school, I actually fully understand math. Common core is the full break down of any and every equation. It's not stupid or asinine, it's broken down math that explains the answer to an equation. Common core is the definition of basic equations, with multiple ways to get the answer. It's incredibly helpful and in no way a waste if time.
Rania Popper
Casey Vee
I know this is a bit of a stretch, but I bet if they get common core cemented into place, they will start doing things like saying I did not win the chess match by checkmate because the other player won more pieces than I did during the game, and showed what appeared (to someone who actually does not know) to be better strategy. Another example might be saying that a given army won a particular battle because they inflicted more damage, when they were in fact compelled to surrender to a larger superior force which had lost on a per man basis, but had won overall.
Complaints about Common Core are: 50% Change is scary. 45% I think Obama created Common Core and he is the Antichrist and eats babies so it must be evil. 5% Legitimate concerns.
Silver Chopsticks
It's a created administrative problem. Common core was forced down the teachers throats as well. No teacher wanted to learn it and no teacher that I know of believes in its' efficacy. The days of memorizing multiplication and division tables was an acceptable basic foundation for math. Not this crap their shoveling. But NOOOOOO, we can't expect our children to memorize?!! For heaven sake, it might destroy their self esteem.
Okay... how is this different from "Back in my day, we used an ABACUS!" ? You get with the times. Yes, an abacus can be used. But there are more efficient ways to do calculations. Teaching 4+4 in a new way isn't to get them to know what 4+4 is. It is getting them to look at numbers in new ways and understand the ways in which numbers can be manipulated. She is only thinking about math at the elementary school level. Anyone can do that. Common Core is about preparing the kids for later, when math gets "complicated". If you truly understand the nature of numbers and the processes behind these "easy" things, then it doesn't get more complicated later. The Common Core approach looks at something "complicated" and breaks it down into simpler things. That is a useful habit to instill in children. How do you measure off a distance of 30 feet if you only have a foot-long ruler? You measure a small part of it, then another small part, and then at the end, you add it all up. That's Common Core.
Well in order to become one hundred years old, you must ask yourself: how many years does it take to become 100 years old? Well, first you have to make 100 circles to represent 100 years of age. Now, mark each box until 100 boxes have been filled. How many marks did you make? How many boxes represent one hundred years of age? Explain your reasoning. Be sure to discuss how each box and mark represents the problem presented.
Willhelm Liebniz
"common core" standards are just a list of things topics. It doesn't say how to teach, that's curriculum. Whenever people say bad things about common core they are referring to a teachers curriculum. Uniformed people shouldn't be commenting on this.
Jinqiu Liu
Bottom line is, the government has no right in regulating how schools teach.
Daniel Ader
everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler -Albert Einstein. or in this case more complicated
Hermione Granger
I once met a woman who had to add 199 + 199 in her head. She couldn't do it. The reason is because she tried using this old crone's method of addition, which is "if you don't have it memorized, count it on your fingers." Those of us who are gifted in math would recognize that 199 + 199 = 200 + 200 - 2 = 398, but most people are stuck thinking of the way they learned in school because that's how they were trained. The Common Core Standards are fixing this by teaching students to think of math conceptually rather than regurgitating memorized procedures.
John Edwards
As a high-school math teacher, I am very much behind the THEORIES behind common core.  Most people disagree with me, but thats because they don't understand what is going on.  All most people see is somebody in Arkansas post his/her kid's math homework on twitter and because you don't understand it, it must be bad. Believe me when I say that the students and parents aren't the only ones struggling.  Teachers and administrators are trying to get a hold on it as well.  I will completely agree with the comment that we didn't wait long enough or do enough test runs before implementing Common Core.  Give it time, it will pan out. "But what about my kid who is struggling now...?"  The kids who are struggling now would have struggled with the old methods too.  Maybe not now, but they will eventually.  Sorry, but its the harsh reality.  Not every student is as smart as their parents think.  The students who actually UNDERSTAND math (there is a difference between knowing how to DO math and actually understanding it) will still be able to prosper under this 'Communist Core' as I have seen it called.  Stop being so lazy and actually TRY to not be so narrow-minded.
Acel Damia
It's pretty simple. You teach other methods to solve the easy problems as an intention of later using those same ideas, that are now taught into their heads, to solve more difficult problems. Methodology being taught at lower levels, on easy things, so that when you really do need those, the student is already familiar with that methodology, and just need to understand it's application to the new problem. It's simple and well designed.
Elliot Sherrow
I think people don't really understand what common core is or why we have it. I haven't made a firm position either way yet but I'm studying to be a science educator and I've learned all about common core and seen it in practice. Common core is designed so students understand what they're doing as they're doing it. They're not blindly solving problems without a deeper understanding of what is going on behind the scenes. For many people, within time as we learn and age our brains will pick up on these mathematical behind-the-scenes ideas themselves if we continue pursuing maths, but for some that doesn't ever happen. And common core is a solution to that. I haven't decided if I think it's the best approach for everyone, but there's certainly really good reason for it and it definiely stimulates cognitive growth. I think a lot of people who have very little maths and educational knowledge form too strong of opinions on common core without actually trying to understand why we have it.
Appeal to authority and appeal to tradition are not arguments. What if this video were "100-Year-Old Mayor Slams 'Racially Integrated' Schools"? How would you feel then? You'd say, oh, well that person is from a different time, things change, etc. Yet in this video, age is somehow an argument for correctness?
in time
She’s like the Judge Judy of Math📚 “Judgment for the plaintiff!! GOODBYE!”😂
Bonita Hill
This made my day.  Thank you Ms. Scotto
OwO What's This?
2 plus 2 is 4, minus 1 thats 3 QUICK MATHS
When I was in school back in the 90s and early 2000s, I never memorized anything, we learned how math worked without all the complexities of common core. Such as two numbers multiplied is one number added the other number of times, because that's how multiplication works. For example 8x7 is 8+8+8+8+8+8+8 and also 7+7+7+7+7+7+7+7. Then Division works by finding how many times you can add the second number into the first number, and what was left was the remainder, such as 10/3 = 10-3-3-3, so there are 3 threes and 1 left over, among other techniques that I have since forgotten since I don't divide stuff on paper anymore. I'm normally all for change, but this is not change for the better. The beauty of math is that it is as much created as it is discovered, there is no one right way to find a solution. It's an art as much as it is a science and it's limits are unending. To teach math in such a rigid way is to not only insult the very foundations of math, but take away it's wonder and beauty as well.
Teresa Pitts
Common Core = No Common Sense
Nancy Desch
4 + 4 = 8.  This is the answer and no other answer can possibly apply.  No wonder these kinds seem so out of it now.  How could they possibly make change when buying something if they are being taught some overly complicated nonsense like that?  How could they possibly teach any other answer.  You got 4 tomatoes on one table and 4 more tomatoes on another table - how many tomatoes do you have.  Well duh - you've got 8 tomatoes.
I don't agree with this common core but we also have to stop believing the older you get the better you know, her being 100 doesn't prove any point, as a matter of fact, it could very well be a disadvantage as she wouldn't be updated in recent techniques, not even the good ones.
reet reet
Honestly when I first started to learn what the common core was and how it worked I was like what the hell but as I educated myself I began to understand what they were getting at. This is new, and humanity really has a record of hating new things but I think we should try to endorse and nurture it instead of putting it down. Again I definitely think we still need to teach the old method for speediness, but there's no harm in trying to understand what your doing.
When i was in school, we were taught to use any method that works for us, as long as you get the right answers. Common core is trash and my children will never be taught it.
Tom Joad
I believe this is another way to make people reliant on outside forces. It seems to me they're trying to make people dumb. If something was to happen where all of technology is destroyed and humanity has to go "back to the basics" of mathematics, I think most people would not know what to do. I say learn the basics and master it and then venture out and learn other ways to solve a mathmatical problem. At least, if there is a power outage at a grocery store and the registers aren't working properly, you can still count out change and give out the correct change.
Austin Wood
When I first saw common core, several years ago, my first thought was, "Great! Now we can unify all the public schools in every city of every state under a new national curriculum and eliminate these huge state-to-state gaps between curriculums." Then I saw the common core math and flipped my shit. Why in the name of Joe Pesci would you change the feed of a winning horse and make things more complicated than they need to be? Post-arithmetic math, that is, pre-algebra, algebra, trig, calc, etc. are complicated enough already. Let's not over-complicate simple arithmetic here. Keep it simple.
If common core math is so great how come no one under 30 can count out change without the cash register telling them how much. God help you if you give them any coins you happen to find in your pocket after they enter what you already gave them.
Sir Poggy
Try using this method in anything other than base 10. And go......
daniel gunner
If she is 100, she turned 21 the year marijuana became illegal.
David Galloway
lol. 'if youre having luck one way, dont look for a better w-'. emphasis on the work BETTER.
J Hogue
When I was in school teachers always wanted you to show how you got the answer on the side of paper. That was so annoying.
Brandon Ritchie
The people who disliked this video are just so mean.
Jeff McNally
Do what works, not what's popular...spot on.
Teacher : What’s 1+1 Me : 2 Teacher : wrong it’s 0.50+0.50 +0.50+0.50 = 2.
Sanwich 121
Respect ✊. Gimme a hand slap. ✋️🙏
common core just makes my head spin
I love this lady.
4 + 4 = 5
Phillip Winkler
"If something works, don't try to find a better way to do that thing." Yes...this is the attitude I've come to expect from public school teachers
Vrinda Bawa
Can she be my math teacher?
Retonium Official
This is a real math teacher
Sabrina Rosa
exactly!! common core makes everything way more complicated then it needs to be..
What's the piano music adding to this, exactly?
Mala Virus
I understood the flaws in common core but it is well and could be helped. I Am currently a teacher assistant, I like that common core makes you question why you do that math, but don't like that it makes you overthink simple equations
It's clear she has no idea what Common Core is. I teach it every day to 4th and 5th graders. It's not a "method" - it's the 'common' (meaning all states have the same standards in common - which makes sense if you're comparing results across states) 'core' (meaning core basics every child should learn, e.g. times tables, double digit multiplication, adding mixed numbers) - it's a list of standards. She first complains that a teacher was teaching in a way that didn't make sense, but then she goes on later to say a teacher has to try different methods to see what works for each child - that's what that teacher was doing. The Common Core standards include suggestions for teaching it different ways to meet the needs of all students - just what this retired teacher said. You can tell a video is meant to sway someone a certain way when they don't include any facts. Nowhere in this video does it show how the teacher was teaching, nor any kind of data, nor and evidence from the Common Core documents themselves. Feel free to look up the standards yourselves, they're easy to find online. (One caveat - keep in mind the people who write the tests that kids have to take, which are awful, are not the same ones who developed the Common Core. You can't judge the Common Core by a testing company paid to write tests for things they didn't create.) Business Insider has made my list of sources not to trust.
Rachel Cactus
I love thos woman she is smart/adorable
James Walker
"To make the complicated things simple, sometimes you first have to make the simple things complicated."
Petting Everything
Common core is used for simplifying fractions.. if you have 3x + 3y/ 6x + 6y you can use common core to turn it to 1/2
As ridiculous as common core seems,the reason it is being taught is so that the answers arent being learned by memory but making you actually figure out the problems in your head in the real world. An example would be how we all remember multiplication by the times tables,but that is a system based on memory, common core is designed for you to not rely on memory and figure it out. My wife who is in college to be a teacher has had to learn it and she has said that is why its taught
I used to use Common Core in my school up until 4th grad or this year. They make us use so many unnecessary methods for some reason it's like they want to kill us with math lol. Like WHY do I need to know what a tape diagram is when I forget what I learned in 2 weeks once I take my tests! I won't ever use tape diagrams, because there are easier methods!
Joshua LaForge
“If some thing is working in a certain way don’t try to find a better way” but that’s exactly what we have to do. When this woman was born graduation from high school was below 20%. In order to continue improving we must always seek a better way.
lynn rathbun
If the traditional way is so great....why are most adults mathematically illiterate and proud of it. (how many square feet in 173 inches x 69 inches)...why are 75% of HS graduates precluded from any scientific or technical careers because they tank when the get to algrebra. And you know why they tank at algebra? Because it is actually MATH. Everything before that , in the old curriculum, is ARITHMATIC--rote memorization of algorithms to get a numerical answer, something that any cheap calculator c an do. Arithmatic is a terrible base for actual mathematical and logical thinking
Miguel Galindo
I agree with her I hate the new method I think the standard math was easier
Thomas Estes
Well if she's old she must be smart. That's how that works right.
I'm not advocating common core, i haven't seen enough to determine it's full potential, however it's goal as far as math is concerned, is to deconstruct things at a deeper level, so when kids learn it, they will be able to excel far beyond what we were able to do in the past. It teaches math at a fundamental level, not at a simple "here's the answer" level.
Brian Morris
Love this lady's view of it...lol. The old method was the KISS system....keep it simple stupid.
Do adults actually think we use the common core method for every problem? The teachers just explains it with common core to help us understand it. Then they show us the normal, faster method that we actually use, or at least at my school.
Mase Price
Shes his probably like a "Amazing" Teacher
But common core isn’t a teaching method, it’s a rule that everyone learns the same material so that everyone has a “common core” of knowledge
This lady clearly has not been briefed on the new methods. The old math that she is familiar with was not working. Students would struggle the further they got in their math studies because they had a poor basic understanding and a lack of number sense. This new method of teaching math exposes students to all the different methods to doing something and allows them to pick the one that works best for them as an individual.
"If it ain't broke don't fix it." "Common Core hasn't been around enough to produce exceptionally positive results yet." Both statements are true, but I say give it time. Common Core will prove useful in the near future.
Phillip Ech
The "stick with what's worked" or "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality just stands in the way of progress. We should be striving to improve constantly.