In Common Core math, it often is not good enough to get the correct answer. Instead, students are required to show “higher order” thinking skills — in this case, use of the associative property. Yes, the associative property is important and should be taught at some point. Unfortunately, we suspect that many 7-year olds will not be able to understand this particular assignment.  With limited days in the school year, wouldn’t second graders — second graders! — be better off spending their time attempting to master the traditional subtraction algorithm?


In case you were wondering, the use of the term “friendly numbers” by the teacher above bears no relation to the use of the same term in number theory.

  • QueenB

    Well, at least the “corrections” to the correct answer was written in green. We wouldn’t want any unfriendly ink colors.

    • FreedomRecon

      That is a thing now! I couldn’t believe it when I heard that they were encouraging teachers not to use red ink anymore because red is scary, or intimidating, or unfriendly. My daughter was in high school when we heard this, and she said, dang, I love red on my paper because it’s always a big fat red A!

      • lukuj

        The ” no red ink” thing was also big about 12 years ago. I was required to use another color. The obvious happened – the green or purple quickly produced the same reactions as the red ink had before. The rule was abandoned with a year or two.

        • Riverboat

          We must have gone to the same inservice.

          • lukuj

            They were all so boring, irrelevant, and doomed to failure that they all just run together. I even went to one where a presenter asked us to close our eyes and think of ways we had mistreated anyone close to us who was dead. Teachers left the room then. Many who stayed ran out crying. The district took lots of criticism for allowing such nonsense.

        • Frustrated Teacher

          Just another in a long list of hair-brained ideas by the edumacation people. Here’s another one. My state thought that they would raise students’ level of work by raising the grade scale. At one point, kids had to get a 70% to pass. Of course, all that happened was teachers adjusted their scoring scales. Stupid is as stupid does.

        • Jeff McLeod

          This is exactly the same thing that happens with “politically incorrect” words or phrases, such as “retarded.” The word retarded means “slowed down.” People who are mentally handicapped have brains that work more slowly than the rest of us, so “retarded” should not be offensive. It’s just that the word refers to such a person, and people perceive that condition as something negative and so the word becomes negative. Midget became dwarf which became little person and so on and so on. How many times do we have to experience this sort of phenomenon before we realize, you know what, maybe some things in life are just not all positive and bubbly. Not everything is rainbows and unicorns. I can’t stand all this soft crap. Every generation gets worse and worse. Some people are smart; some people are dumb (example: the person who decided green ink instead of red makes any difference). Some people are physically attractive; some are not. Different people have different qualities and flaws. Embrace your qualities and try your hardest to correct your flaws, if possible. It’s really not complicated.

          • Bnutz

            Awsome. Couldn’t have said that better myself

          • lukuj

            Great comment well- expressed!

    • Thevelvetkitten

      Shouldn’t the colors be equal?

      • Lamontyoubigdummy

        Well…some colors are more equal than others; any color that is not white is more equal than white.

        Yet…the rest of those colors bicker about their ranking in the preferred colors bracket…and they fight and, with some colors, kill each other left and right.

        Alas…this is obviously all the white color’s fault.

        Crayons…white crayon sold separately.

        • gridlock2

          The Federal Government has gone to great expense to issue “Smart Card” IDs to all employees. On the face of the ID there is a color bar to indicate certain things. For instance, government contractors have a green bar. Foreign nationals have a blue bar, etc.

          Well, generic Federal Employees did not have a bar, since the ID was designed for them in the first place. This, of course, could not stand. You see, IDs without color bars were perceived to be of higher status, which might make other people feel uncomfortable.

          How do you think the Federal Government solved this problem?

          They did it by putting a “G” on the green color bar, a “B” on the blue color bar and a “W” on the same spot on the Federal Employee ID. The “G” is for Green, and the “B” is for Blue, and the “W” is to indicate that there is a White color bar on the white background of the card, which is, of course, invisible.

          So, next time you see a Federal Employee, which should not be long, because there are an awful lot of them, look at his ID. Ask him what the “W” is for. You’ll get any one of a thousand answers, but very few know the right answer.

          The sad thing is the government spent an awful lot of money replacing everybody’s card early to put these “W”s on the face.

      • ScaryCheri

        I was raised not to see colors, lol

        • Thevelvetkitten

          You must miss a lot of beauty in the world surrounding you then.

    • Bob Anderson

      I had a chemistry teacher in high school put a big “O” on the page and write “Red” in it; in red ink of course. It meant re-do. I can’t say that his bit of humor intimidated me in the slightest, but then we weren’t worried about offending someone’s sensibilities then. It also let us know that real life can be filled with failure and you need to work harder.

    • Ed McDowell

      One can only imagine how that kid would feel if the idiot comment was in red ink. Green is so friendly.

      • Thevelvetkitten

        Till green gets associated with criticism/correction…then it will be frowned upon as bad…smh. Maybe teachers should just stop grading papers and just handout “A” trophies.

  • FreedomRecon

    What the heck is a “friendly” number. This would lead a child to assume there are “unfriendly” numbers”? And how is the teacher’s answer to the first problem even close? Doesn’t that say 400-280=? And the teacher’s answer is 300? Really?

    • Mead

      What the teacher is referring to is using the associative property to effectively make the problem 420 – 300. 300 wasn’t the answer, it was the ‘friendly’ number that’s supposedly ‘easier’ to subtract.

      Unnecessary horseshit, imo.

      • FreedomRecon

        Who thinks like that? Just subtract the damn number.

        • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          Well, if you have a price like $12.95, you add a nickel in your head to make it thirteen bucks, right? So you expect $7-and- change back, if you pay with a twenty or two tens. You’ve learned to do it by force of habit, from having to do it everyday. It HAS a limited application in the real world where the round-off is that small, but to overcomplicate it in this way does kids no favors.

          • SpencerChaffin

            On the example given I would expect $6 dollars and a nickel change immediately. I so often state what I expect back from the cashier, which usually confuses the person if they are under 25.
            EDIT :::: Thanks to those that caught my mistake. Now for an excuse, at 77 and big fingers I apparently used the wrong finger and hit the 6 instead of the 7. If we were having a real exchange I would not have left without 7 dollars and at least 5 pennies

          • JimB

            SIX dollars and a nickel? How did you calculate that one?

          • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            I believe he was saying that unless he told the cashier it was $7.05, he would expect the cashier to give him $6.05

          • SpencerChaffin

            EDIT :::: Thanks to those that caught my mistake. Now for an excuse, at 77 and big fingers I apparently used the wrong finger and hit the 6 instead of the 7. If we were having a real exchange I would not have left without 7 dollars and at least 5 pennies

          • Joseph

            I’d just assumed you have THAT MUCH sales tax. :)

          • Joseph

            Sales tax? 😛

          • JL

            I don’t get it….. You often use this type of calculation and STATE to the cashier what your change would be, but in this case, you have SHORTCHANGED YOURSELF BY $1.00! I think you are confused yourself.

          • Ranba_Ral

            That makes more sense than what I got when I looked up Friendly Numbers in my old textbooks from college. I got basically what was on Wiki:

            Still roundabout and odd way to go about it for anything that’s not small change rounding though.

          • Zakasnak

            When I would take my kid thru the McDonald’s drive-thru for breakfast before school (this started around 5th grade), I told him that if he could tell me the change I would get back from the dollars in my hand vs our order at the window before the cashier, he could have the change. He got to be pretty good at everyday math problems like that! :oj

          • Annette

            Great parent skills.. McDonalds is just as damaging as common core.. Pshhhh

          • The mom

            Hey, my daughters first grade teacher told me she did not care what I fed her, just be sure she ate breakfast b4 school. And that she started the day using her brain. Read, even if it is a cereal box. Put something in front of them. Looks to me like this mom was doing her job. She was feeding her kid, and using his mind teaching him math, and talking to him.when did you converse with your kid last?

          • Annette

            Your child’s first grade teacher needed to tell you to make sure your child eats breakfast?? I’ll rest my case with that!!

          • Guest

            You don’t know me, chucklehead. STFU

          • Zakasnak

            You don’t know me, chucklehead. I’m sure you made your kids (do you even have kids?) a homemade breakfast every morning. I’ll bet you’ve NEVER eaten fast food….. EVER, amirite? You are sooo much better than ever’body else.

            Nice judgey attitude, Judgey McJudgerson. LMAO!

          • Annette

            If I were to eat fast food.. I would be the educated person… Making the decision about what I put in my body… A child is at the mercy of adults and must eat what they are given… I don’t have a problem with them eating there once in awhile… But you said it like its a morning ritual… So that is just laziness on the part of the parents… I usually find that its the parent that wants McDonalds for breakfast.. And so the kid eats it too.. If the only time you have to teach your kids math is during a drive thru at McDonalds.. Then that’s a problem.. Sorry.. Don’t mean to sound like I’m bashing you.. But geez.. Raising kids and being a parent is so muchmmore than what I’ve seen lately.. The easiness of our society is teaching our kids to be lazy.. Which is a big part of the problem too

          • Zakasnak

            How do you get *routine morning ritual* from the word “when”??

            I have successfully raised him, mostly single-handedly, to be a productive member of society & he’s healthy as a horse.

            Pshhhh, your opinion of me means nothing to me, might as well keep it to yourself. Probably shouldn’t sound so judgey then, if you “don’t mean to sound like” you’re “bashing” me.

            Again, you don’t know me………….

          • Guest

            You don’t know me, chucklehead. I’m sure you made a homemade breakfast every morning for your kids (do you have kids?) and you NEVER, EVER had fast food a day in your life… EVER, amirite? You are sooo much better than ever’body else. Good for you! LMAO.

          • SFTOBEY

            Now THAT’S what I call incentive! Great job.

          • Zakasnak

            I changed it up, too… I would sometimes have the exact change with overage of dollars (to get back paper money), sometimes I would round up the change in my hand (so I wouldn’t get so many pennies! :oj)

          • Thevelvetkitten

            That is a great idea.

          • Kay Headley

            But you mentally know that adding 5 will round it to the next whole number, because you learned basic subtraction. This math, as you said, is overcomplicating it. I can see having kids who need to understand why certain numbers are determined, but for those who don’t have that need and can already understand 400-280= 120, why confuse them with extraneous thinking until they’re ready for algebra?

          • 56patty1

            I have been a teacher for 31 years and am so sad to say I feel as if we are no longer teaching!!! These kids are coming out of schools without common sense skills on how to do any type of math!!! They need practical skills to learn how to survive in life! Just over it????? Who are these people creating new ways to teach, evaluate, and expect miracles to appears! They start a new program, then after a couple of years, someone else comes along touting a new way, and there goes our tax payer’s money to procure a new mandated “experiment”, causing everyone to learn a new way to teach using more money and the wheel is still trying to be invented!!! I really feel as if there is a lot of money involved with someone’s pockets being lined every time these curriculum are changed! What do you think?

          • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            You’ve heard of Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands to fill the time allotted to it”? Well, the financial equivalent is “BS expands to fill the amount of money allotted to it.”

        • ChiTownExPat

          The education lobby, that’s who…

      • FreedomRecon

        Well I’m a complete moron then. I see the +20 over both numbers, so my brain went to making the problem 420-300. And then the teacher’s answer being +300 to that. Unbelievably confusing.

        • Mead

          No, you’re right, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I don’t know why she wrote +300, maybe it’s some notation they use, might have referred to bringing the 280 up to 300 for all I know (and that seems like a likely reason for it to me)

        • Mark81150 Never/Trump/Hillary

          I was stunned to learn, they don’t even teach times tables anymore. Something every kid had to master. I asaw my son’s math homework, the questions and instructions were senseless. ? So I simply showed Nate the old school way, and had him show the work.. he brought it home the next day with instructions to do it over in the expected new style.

          I called his teacher,… the answers were correct, why not accept them, it’s math, not an essay, and if he showed the work, he clearly understood thinking a problem through. Her answer was , we don’t do it that way anymore….

          so math is no longer simply getting the correct number answer…

          you have to learn their convoluted mess, correct answers, don’t matter… getting the number right doesn’t matter, just the method for getting there, even when it gives you wrong answers, which is nonsense,.. think NASA could have done lunar landings with this half assed method system?

          I doubt it..

          • FreedomRecon

            No times tables, no cursive….dumbing them down!

          • Janice LEE

            No red marks on the papers either. Obamao needs all the red pencils for his red lines.

          • FreedomRecon


          • C David Brown

            It’s really embarrassing unless you can “dumb” your students down to your level. If you doubt me, look at all the “college” trained talking heads on the major information/news net works.

          • Stacey Borenstein Clay

            Most of the teachers don’t like this either but are being forced by the state to do it.

          • RealityObserver

            You’ve seen nothing yet! Coming soon, the Roman numeral system will come roaring back.

            The Regressives know very well that slaves who can read, write, and do common arithmetic – don’t stay slaves.

          • Vickie Imacosmetologist Carter

            I tried the same thing with my children years ago, long before it got this complicated. Their teachers told them the same thing, basically the right answer doesn’t matter anymore. HOGWASH

          • C David Brown

            Let’s bring this a little closer to home. You had best count on your Anesthesiologist/Anesthetist to arrive at the correct answer, or you are in a world of hurt.

          • ImTheNana

            If your school isn’t teaching it, they aren’t following Common Core standards for third grade: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.OA.C.7 – “Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.”

            The “convoluted mess” that you are talking about it not a mess; it’s preparing them for more advanced maths, and teaching them critical thinking skills, which is sorely lacking in modern society as a whole.

            The worst argument anyone can make is to relate every bit of primary instruction to adult usage. It’s dishonest and stupid. It’s like criticizing training wheels because adults who ride motorcycles shouldn’t use them. Sometimes the lessons are training wheels; sometimes they are the first steps to more advanced learning that is down the road.

            And if adults can’t figure these lessons out, that should actually scream for a need for a reform, not status quo.

        • johnnycab23513

          So now “Close enough for government work.” is the official government school policy?

        • Peakview

          The answer is off to the right in pencil, not in green. What they are teaching are tricks for doing arithmetic in your head. Tricks should come after rote memory and after understanding. Common core is placing tricks up front.

      • Joanie Bartelson

        This is not the associative property. Associative property is (a+b)+c = a+(b+c). It is a property that is more easily associated with addition and multiplication, not subtraction or division. What this is is rounding up (or down) to quickly find a close number to verify the answer. This is [email protected] for this age of the student. Fire the teachers who have no idea what they are teaching, while they make $100,000 a year. And definitely fire the @$$hol3s in Washington who came up with this. Math can, and should be, fun. I taught for over 40 years and what I learned in grade school should be brought back..BTW…IQ = 160 and member of MENSA.

        • SFTOBEY

          I agree. But it’s not just the teachers. An awful lot of human rubbish that should have absolutely NO say in educational standards are going to the mat for this crap: Soros (and all of his various paid groupies), the useless Chamber of Commerce and the racketeer Business Round Table groups.

          That should tell you all you need to know right there.

      • M. Leslie

        Glad you explained that. The “new math” in the late 1950’s was equally dumb. Hopefully this will go the same way.

      • brotherStefan

        The associative property? That is a real stretch. I guess that problems like this would explain why my students in remedial math (in my college we refer to it as “developmental” math) have no idea of what the associative property is. [There are two associative properties — one for addition and a similar one for multiplication. I observe that the stated problem is a subtraction, and there is no “associative property” for subtraction, and if there were, it would be highly convoluted.]

      • JonS

        Shouldn’t she have subtracted 20 from 400 (she put +20) thus making her friendly number a confussed crack head number. I feel sorry for the kids.

        But seriously this is merely a short cut and as the teacher’s mistake shows +20 and +20 she made a mistake in her work and she should be marked down (demoted reassigned etc.) for the use of a “crack head” number since it ain’t friendly in her intermediate work.

    • CO2 Producer

      Frankly, 280 can be a real prick sometimes.

      • ChiTownExPat

        420 is friendly to the wrong crowd…

        7 is sometimes friendly; it depends on whether you made a point first or it’s your come-out roll…

        In the Bible, 40 and 3 1/2 are VERY unfriendly numbers; 40 is the number of judgment, and 3 1/2 is the length in years of the two halves of the Great Tribulation, as well as the length of the ministry of the two witnesses in Revelation, and possibly the length of Jesus’ ministry (if you believe the “Born in October” conjecture)…

        By far, though, the MOST unfriendly number is 666; need I say more?

    • onlyabill

      An “unfriendly” number is π. That is one [email protected] of a number right there! All the other number hate that one. It is also irrational!

      • ChiTownExPat

        Celebrate my birthday by bringing cookies or cake, but DON’T bring pi(e) since we’ll never stop dividing it among ourselves!

      • SineWaveII

        It’s not only irrational it never shuts up.

    • AlCashier

      right now “44” is the most vile number in America….

    • Paul Icolano

      I am guessing anything that is not a prime number is a friendly number, as prime numbers keep to themselves, although it may be that they aren’t unfriendly, but extremely introverted. Perhaps I should apply for a government grant on the psychology of unfriendly numbers…

  • Thevelvetkitten

    Yea!!! Can’t be having” Bossy” numbers ya know.

  • bicentennialguy

    I hope the parent called this idiot “teacher” and asked it just what the hell are “friendly” numbers. Which numbers are unfriendly? How do we know? What are the consequences of coming in contact with unfriendly numbers? Are they negative even when they are positive?

    • bamadawg

      The teacher is just doing what they have to to keep her job. My wife is a rookie teacher and she is threatened weekly and her tests, etc. Are constantly checked to make sure that they adhere to the stupid common core standards.

      • alan

        Does not matter in the long run. Common Core either gets dropped or they just exponentially grew the home school and private schools. As long as that is in place, my grandkids will NEVER go to public schools. Quicker they go out of business, the better.

      • Michael Rice

        There comes a time when teachers who know this is wrong need to speak up..,.

        • bamadawg

          Very easy to say when it’s not your family, livelyhood, or dream on the line.

          • QueenB

            I’d say dream is out the window as I assume your wife’s dream was to educate children, not indoctrinate them with things such as friendly and unfriendly numbers.

          • Fedge

            If your dream is teaching this crap, no one needs you anyway.

      • 56patty1

        Absolutely even the veteran teachers are having a really hard time because they are ever changing the lingo and want us to use this jargon that makes no sense whatsoever! I have always worked ESE and when I went to a new school they were an “America’s Choice” school which meant they had everything done in a certain pattern and used certain jargon. They came in to see me do a “Reader’s Workshop” and I had to tell them I really didn’t know what that was but please watch me anyway. I was told at the end that I did everything right, but just not in the right order!!! LOL REALLY??? I work with Special Needs students and they are not round pegs to be put into round holes! We all learn differently! I was taught to find the “key to open the door” for each individual, and use what method works best for that student!!! Education has just gone so wrong! 31 years and I am over it!

    • lukuj

      Unfriendly numbers don’t believe in global warming, are pro- life, anti- union, anti- open borders, and pro vouchers. Simple, right?

      • Jerry Camp

        Mostly old, white, male Christian numbers, apparently…

        • QueenB

          No. That’s just what the people who honestly think there is such a thing as a friendly or unfriendly number tell people to think, and of course, they listen and repeat.

          • Jerry Camp

            Libs are nothing if not inconsistent…these may have been ‘white hispanic’ numbers, so they are to be feared.

    • Jerry Camp

      From watching the news, one might assume that the unfriendly numbers are Tea Party members and consist solely of old, white, male Christian numbers…I’m sure the next lesson will help the kids properly identify them and avoid confusion between minority (friendly) numbers and unfriendly but confusing numbers, like white Hispanic ones.

    • Apostic

      Some numbers can be downright hostile. Didn’t you ever see The Phantom Tollbooth?

  • Informed&Concerned

    And Greta wants to know why folks object to Common Core . . .
    Head to her blog with your thoughts

  • stuckinIL4now

    Yes, SpreadsheetAg nailed it with the word “convoluted” that to me means “convoluted thinking” or “brainwashing” which is exactly what they’re teaching. And “friendly” would be those numbers that are friendly to da’ gubmint which will likely be taking 80-90% of their earnings when these kids grow up to be taxpayers in the Obumuh-legacy work camps.

  • Evin

    WTF? The kid gets the right answer without having to use a shortcut/”help.”

    The kid is obviously smart enough to not need the math shorthand using “friendly” numbers so why does he/she need to use them?

    Basically you have to uneducate your children and then reeducate them at home.

    • FreedomRecon

      Because they are teaching them that everyone must think exactly alike. Easier to brainwash them on other things if you start them early with things like this.

    • gekkobear


      I taught (briefly) an introductory computer course in college in the early 90’s as part of my graduate work.

      For reasons I never understood, our University decided a core part of the introductory computers for business majors was… base conversion between bases 2, 8, 10, and 16… and the test could have any of those as a from-to for the conversions.

      I taught my classes 3 separate ways to do these base conversions.

      Not because you’d need 3 ways to do it, but because it doesn’t matter HOW you do it, just than you CAN do it.

      So I’d teach (and explain, and repeat any/all of the three, with as many examples as necessary) in the hopes that my students would be able to remember and correctly do one of those methods.

      And I’d do examples for all 3 for an entire class period; telling students if they understood one, to focus on that one… nobody (who isn’t teaching) needs 3 ways to do a base conversion from base 8 to base 16.

      In the real world, getting the correct answer is very important.
      Using the same process as other people is nice, but not critical.

      Fortunately I had a math degree so I could teach an introductory computer course.

      • JimB

        Once upon a time, way back in 1952, in a chemical engineering test, the professor left out a critical piece of information. I saw that it was missing, and calculated what it should have been using the depression of melting point as a technique (I think I recall this correctly). After the tests were handed in , the prof said we would ignore the results since he had failed to provide the info. Then he talked to me, said I had got the right answer but didn’t understand how I had calculated the datum. We both went over my paper and damned if NEITHER of us could figure it out. But I had the right results!

        And that was a LOOONG time ago.

        • floridavet

          I remember a few of those.

          “Well, you got the right answer, but you don’t know how you got it.”

    • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      “The kid is obviously smart enough to not need the math shorthand using ‘friendly’ numbers so why does he/she need to use them?”

      But is (s)he WISE enough to give the teacher what the teacher wants, all the time laughing up his/her sleeve at the silliness of it all? I’m not by any means encouraging parents to turn the kids into little cynics, but the way of the world, as they say with diplomacy, is to know how to tell the boss to go to hell and have him/her look forward to it. I’m telling parents to tell the kids that whichever way works to get the right answer is the right way, but there is the proverbial “right way and Army way,” and when in doubt, do it the Army way– or at least make sure that what you do looks like it’s the Army way to the Army.

    • Nate

      ‘The kid gets the right answer without having to use a shortcut/”help.”‘

      Have you ever noticed: ‘shortcuts’ are usually longer than the ‘longcuts’? And usually a heck of a lot more confusing?

  • Mead

    They’re teaching our kids not to talk to strange numbers…

  • BlahBlah

    Green pen is Muslim friendly.

    I object.

  • Joe_in_Indiana

    Indiana has formally dropped out of Common Core.

    • GaryTheBrave

      Good for Indiana. Only 56 states to go.

      • Michael Rice

        56 plus 4 is 60. 1 plus 4 is 5. 5 plus 60 is 65 states. The ink is black. You are racist.

        • renagle

          Oh, you just made me lol. Thanks for that!

        • Brian Roastbeef

          And with that we have the winner of Twitchy! Well done, Michael.

      • CO2 Producer

        Wrong. It’s 57 to go, not including Alaska and Hawaii. B+ for participation, though.

    • Michael Rice

      Saw that last night…..happy to be a Hoosier.

  • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    In other words, add enough to one of the terms to make it a round number, and add a like amount to the other term: “400 less 280 = (400 + 20) less (280 + 20) = 420 less 300 = 120.” Which begs the question that they know how much to ADD, in an additional step, merely to make the subtraction marginally easier!

    GTFOH before I slap you silly, you idiots.

    • carmenta

      PERFECT! You actually put into words what I was trying so hard to get my head around….CC forces unnatural additional steps in a misguided attempt to make the process easier….sounds horribly familiar to virtually all government management systems!

      The easier solution would be to count up – since these are 2nd graders, I would have a hard time imagining that they couldn’t count on from 280 to 400!

      familiar = similar

    • RealityObserver

      280 + 20 = 300; 300 + 100 = 400; 20 + 100 = 120.

      Different method, works just the same – if you are doing it in your head (and haven’t yet done similar mental calculations enough times that you just know the answer without having to think about it). Your method is perfectly fine too – if you are doing in your head.

      No written work should EVER use either method. Teach mental calculation as mental calculation. Teach written calculation when paper and pencil are available. In either case, teach that the calculator, or computer spreadsheet, can be wonky – always have a “ballpark idea” of what the answer should be (unless you really have no basis for that “ballpark” – in which case, solve the problem using at least two different approaches).

      • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Which, strictly speaking in the technical sense, is what I was taught to do in the early 1960’s heyday of the New Math, and they called it “regrouping”– only you have it the opposite way around. Since the “bottom number” in the tens column is larger than the top number, you break it down as 400 = 300 + 100; 280 = 200 + 80. Eighty from a hundred leaves twenty; two hundred from three hundred leaves a hundred. Then, 20 + 100 = 120.

        OK, to some parents who weren’t used to it, it looked strange at first, but it made intuitive sense, and it wasn’t relying on having to interpolate any numbers– you were just going with what you had, but lining it up differently. Trust me, any habit dealing with numbers where you interpolate numbers that aren’t there for ease of calculation can lead to (a) Bankruptcy Court (b) Federal Prison (c) the House Ways and Means, and Appropriations Committees.

        • RealityObserver

          OK, scratching my head, here – what is being “interpolated?” We both have the same numbers involved, except that my method involves three steps, while yours is five – and mine involves only addition, not addition and subtraction. I’m not going to claim that my method is more “intuitive” than yours, but I can’t see where it is the opposite, either.

          (Although we are both skipping at least a couple of steps that we automatically do, but a typical six or seven year old probably does not – the place shifting back and forth that lets us use the memorized tables.)

          FYI, I was in elementary school exactly at the time the “New Math” fad started up. My mother bought the books, and the Cuisenaire box of rods (the first of the “manipulatives” as they are called in school today), and I believe made an honest try at teaching me with them, hoping it would give me the “leg up” on the more advanced concepts of algebra, etc., that the “New Math” promised.

          Until she realized that I wasn’t learning a blasted thing with them, and actually thought to consult her mother who was a “normal school” graduate. Back on a sensible track, I was learning trigonometry before I was ten, and actual calculus (not “precalculus”) in high school. Darn it, wish that a couple of the “one” blocks hadn’t disappeared over the years – those old wood sets are worth a bundle on EBay these days.

          • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            What I was referring to, by saying that a number was being “interpolated,” was that the “20” being added is extraneous to the original problem, whereas “300 + 100” is merely the illustrative longhand way of showing what you really do when you strike the “4”, make it “3”, and put a small superscript “1” next to the tens-column zero. Past the first week or so, kids were expected to do it the “old-skool” way I’ve just described, I.e., “borrow the one,” but with an understanding of what was really being done. Hope that clears it up for you.

  • Squiddy

    So, lessee – 521 – 519 = um, ok, we’ll take the largest number, 521, round it up to a “friendly” number, that’s 600, now to get to 600, I have to subtract 521 from 600, which is 79, then add 79 back to both numbers, which makes it 521+79 = 600, and 519+79 = 598, so 600 – 598=2, so 521-519 = 2.

    So, in order to subtract one number from another, I have to compare, estimate, round, subtract, add, add, and subtract. Yes, that’s a far more interesting way to do subtraction than just, well, subtracting. I wonder what key on the calculator that operation is?

    When did we put IRS worksheet authors in charge of teaching 2nd graders?

    And what’s the random “+300” – does this mean I can’t even pass 2nd grade math?

    More importantly – do we know this stuff actually works, that this way is objectively better? Or are we just experimenting?

    • Mead

      300 comes from adding 20 to each operand.. 400 – 280 becomes 420 – 300.

      Doesn’t make it any less ridiculous, but that’s what the teacher was referring to.

      • Squiddy

        Right, but then shouldn’t they have written “420 – 300”, not “+300” all by its lonesome?

        • Mead

          Um… because ‘negative’ is unfriendly? I dunno :)

          • TugboatPhil

            “Negative” is probably racist and sexist too!

        • Mead

          If I had to guess I’d say that “+300” refers to the process of making 280 ‘friendly’ by adding 20. It’s counter-intuitive and just plain unnecessary.

        • ImTheNana

          It should have been -300, not +300. Teacher error.

      • carmenta

        But they still had to know to count on from 280 to 300 in order to get the 20 to add to each operand; why not just carry on to 400?

    • Clorinda

      Now multiply the time it took to do that one problem by the number of problems on a timed test ANNNNND. . . . everybody fails because the test was still only 3 hours long instead of the required 15 hours it would take to complete all the extra steps. So all the kids get through maybe a third of the problems and “white parents discover their kids aren’t smart”. This then leads to more hand wringing and wondering what is wrong with the children and how can we make it all better, yet again.

    • schveiguy

      As a software engineer, I just shuddered to think how kids taught this way will write their code. The calculators of the future will be damn slow.

      • RealityObserver

        Upcheck for you – but the coders of the future? Have you worked with any that came out of school in just the last ten years?

        I had one that had interned at Microsoft, fer goshsakes. Looked at his code after he was gone (contractor). He attempted, and failed, to implement an entire complex expression evaluator for an application where there would be six or seven terms at the maximum, used one of the most inefficient algorithms possible for tree balancing (which wasn’t needed in such a simple app) – and, somehow, managed to create a significant memory leak in a C# app.

        Which took me a long time to figure out, because he was apparently practicing for the obfuscated code competition while supposedly doing useful work.

        • Apostic

          And so, despite the efforts of some teachers, kids still aren’t documenting their code worth a damn. (Not that I expected people to remember the hard lessons learned while checking code to make sure it was Y2K compliant).

      • ChiTownExPat

        And probably wrong…

  • JD

    This isn’t the reason we started homeschooling, but it is certainly the reason we will continue to

    • Emily B


  • Wag_a_muffin

    Friendly? Unfriendly? So now we’re discriminating against NUMBERS?

    • TugboatPhil

      You don’t want “the children” to associate with the “wrong kind” of numbers do you??

  • Super Marsupial

    The libs must destroy minds before they are fully formed in order to cultivate more useful idiots.

  • keyboard jockey

    Setting children up to fail. These are the same people who insist on participation awards to bolster self esteem. I have an idea, don’t tear down their self esteem in the first place then you don’t have to artificially try and replace it.

    Who exactly in the educational food chain see’s a benefit from setting children up to fail? There has to be a pay off for someone – otherwise they wouldn’t waste their time using people’s 7 year old’s as common core guinea pigs.

    • Mead

      The publishers and authors.

      • (((The Sanity Inspector)))ن​

        And the remedial teachers, when the kids get to college.

      • keyboard jockey

        We ran into something similar in 2nd grade the math being introduced was years past our child’s experience. There had to be a reason for the policy. The school uses it’s test scores to brag about the school’s scholastic achievement’s – why set them up to fail? We supplemented with Sylvan. When we had to move to our new duty station “army” the new school was teaching age appropriate math. The math issues disappeared.

        If they were fishing for the children that showed an aptitude, they could have just tested and given those children a different math curriculum.

        There are just bad decisions being made in the public school system with little thought to the unintended consequences.

  • walterc

    This is what giving people advanced degrees in mathematics gets us. In order to get recognized as something special, a math doctorate candidate needs to wow the board with his/her thesis, so they come up with some “new” way to teach basic math to children. I think it started with the “new” math I learned in school in the mid to late 60s. Been getting worse ever since.

    • gekkobear

      Makes me think of the Tom Lehrer song… and yes, this dates me.

      • Finrod Felagund

        “Base 8 is just like base 10, really– if you’re missing two fingers.”

    • Clorinda

      Actually, it isn’t the advanced mathematicians who are coming up with this crap. Many real mathematicians HATE this stuff because the kids won’t fall in love with math and see the beauty of it because it is so obscured by all the rigamarole around it. Real mathematicians love the beauty and simplicity of mathematics. And VERY few Masters and PhD candidates will study how to teach math to young children. They are too busy extending knowledge, solving yet another part of a problem that has bugged mathematicians for centuries, and figuring out how to apply math to engineering, science, etc.

      They WANT people to understand how to do math. They can see how confusing kids while young will stop STEM advancements because fewer will want to try it out.

      You are thinking of Elementary/Secondary Ed people who don’t understand math and try to come up with “cool, fun” ways to make math better because they couldn’t grasp it themselves.

      • PNWShan

        I finished my response above, and then scrolled down to see yours. Well said.

      • walterc

        Thank you for clearing that up for me. I was obviously targeting the wrong group. I guess it’s the education people and the people that get paid to write/publish this crap that I need to zero in on. Thanks again for the great response.

      • RealityObserver

        Quite right, which I was about to observe myself. The very few mathematics PhDs who participate in this BS have sold their souls for forty pieces of silver.

        Look at any of these textbooks, and the vast majority of the authors have PhDs in “Education,” or perhaps “Mathematics Education.” They are always the principal authors, too – any of the aforementioned Judas’ are tacked on to make the claptrap look like it came from a reliable source.

    • PNWShan

      I agree, with the substitution for doctoral candidates in education, not math. My son is a math major and they don’t think about teaching simple math to kids. His classes are all way up in the stratosphere.

      Teachers are definitely in love with fads, I’ve found. And school boards are always jumping on the latest UNPROVEN methods, such as whole language and ‘integrated’ math.

  • bytchwhoknits

    What are friendly numbers???? Everyone wants to blame Bush for our failing schools….Common Core is ALL Obama! When are people going to start blaming him for this debacle that doesn’t help students…just his book writing and publishing donors….I mean friends.

    • RealityObserver

      Well, Bush does have a fair amount of responsibility for this – just not (either) of the Georges. Jeb is just crazy about it, though.

  • princepsCO

    Government schooling is the soft-core route of child abuse.

  • lhogan

    I think it boils down to this: Stupid people write Stupid standards and teach Stupid principles because they are Stupid and think everyone is Stupid as well. And if your child is Not Stupid, Stupid people will make him or her Stupid, just like them.

  • Conservative First

    Teach them young that there’s only one way to do things, the government way.

  • doubting_rich

    Funnily enough I think the problem is the opposite of what it seems. It is the kids who are excellent at math and will work closely with numbers that need this, and it will be good for them. The ones who will never study advanced physics or number theory will never need it. They should be taught the simplest way, which is not this.

    Of course the good mathematicians will learn the essence of numbers anyway.

  • Dd1055

    Don’t worry about learning math kids. Just remember everyone is a special snowflake that is a winner for showing up. When you are 18 register as a Democrat and get on the dole. As we all know it’s the 1%’ers fault…

  • Nick Berio

    I just realized that this is a system I intuitively developed for myself to do simple calcs in my head If it gets more complicated I write it out or use a Calc.. However, this was after years of using the basic math formulas +–*/ . The question really is are they teaching the Basics first or are they trying to teach this without the foundation in the Basics.
    So I found that this works for me to a limited degree, but is it a teachable concept or does your brain have to be wired a certain way?

    • FreedomRecon

      Most of us develop this over the years, but like you said, only after years of using basic math formula. And if you’re like me, just to get a general idea. To me, it’s teaching children to be average, as in eh, close enough, everybody wins. No need to know the exact answer. Try that with the bank or the IRS though!

      • Nick Berio

        My guess is that like you and me a bunch of educators realized that they could do this too and decided that they would try to incorporate this into the math curriculum. But did they test this to see if it was universally teachable?

        • FreedomRecon

          Doubtful. More likely part of the “dumbing down” of our children.

      • ImTheNana

        You do realize that this method still gives them the correct answer, right?

        • FreedomRecon

          After having someone explain how common core math works to me, yes. Silly me….I think the child should learn to subtract 280 from 400 to get 120. rather than adding 20 to the numbers then subtracting. What’s the point? How is one number friendlier than the other?

          • Stephen L. Hall #NonquamTrump

            It winks at you . . . has this sly, come hither look . . . you know the type.

          • ImTheNana

            The ‘friendly’ (stupid name) method teaches the students mental math. Instead of problems that need paper and pencil to borrow, for example, they can learn this method (in addition to ‘borrowing’, not instead of) to subtract in their heads. 280 becomes 300, which is mentally very easy to subtract.

  • j p✓ʳᵉᶠʳᶦᵉᵈ

    So applying a totally different terminology to the process makes their generation and any before speak a different language when it comes to math. Another great way to divide and conquer.

  • Ghee!

    Indiana is the first state to turn away Common Core… the first of many.

    *looking at you, Tennessee*

  • marcellucci

    I chewed my unfriendly number into the shape of a gun to make it extra-specially unfriendly…….

  • /sarcnado ☠

    This child was probably using “bossy” numbers, hence the need for correction.

  • Tom Armstrong

    My God!! They’re profiling numbers now!

  • lukuj

    This is what happens when you try to force higher level thinking skills on kids who are still mastering regular thinking skills. When the child is ready a few years down the way, the associative theory will be easily understood. I know of what I am speaking. I taught 4th and 5th grade for 30 years añd even the poor students understood it well with minimal instruction.

    • Squiddy

      Yes, I actually see the sense underlying this exercise, but it seems premature at 2nd grade to be teaching it this way – it seems like it’ll be frustrating and counter-intuitive for someone that young. If they’re already at a place where they’ve mastered 3-digit number subtractions, and are now being exposed to the associative theory, ok. But I have my doubts they’re ready for it.

      I’m no Luddite – this may well be an approach that pays off in the long run, that years down the road, kids will be much improved vice more traditional teaching methods. But I’d hate to think this is all experimental – that we have no idea of this will improve math abilities down the road.

      And what of the “slow” kids – is this just going to add to their misery, make them fall further and further behind?

      You ask me, you *really* want to make a difference in k-12 achievement? Shorten the summer break by 6 weeks – I can pretty much guarantee the achievement gaps will tighten up, and overall test scores will go up significantly – the opportunity cost of the extended summer break, plus the two months of dead-time while kids are brought back up to speed in the Fall, we lose nearly 6 months of every year of learning time.

      • RealityObserver

        Sorry, but I cannot agree with you about adding more hours to the school year – doing that is just making the pile of BS bigger, not any sweeter smelling.

        In most cases, I do agree with shorter breaks, which would (in theory) allow the next “session” to start right where the last one left off. Unfortunately, “year-round” school is being touted as yet another “solution” for sorry schools that papers over the fundamental problems.

        My wife is a teacher, so I know where you are coming from about the two months of “dead time” – although that was actually two weeks when I was a kid. (When they moved the start of school to before Labor Day is when my father decided that family vacation time was not going to change, and successfully fought that battle – as my siblings and I were always unutterably bored those first two weeks, anyway.)

        Mine are just about out of school, now, so I really don’t worry about it all that much on a personal basis, except for the bad moods my wife all too frequently brings home. But if they were still in elementary school, I’d be more worried about the fact that most schools in this district are about to lose between 1/3 and 1/2 of their fields – to make room for installing solar panels. Sigh.

      • lukuj

        The NEW MATH tried this approach years ago and no, it didn’t pay off in the long run and was abandoned.

  • Maren

    I’m looking forward to Calculus, differential equations, trig …

    • Dexter Alarius

      The way I remember it, there weren’t any “friendly” derivatives.

  • Chris Ballard

    what does she mean by a friendly number……420?

    • ImTheNana

      Adding the same amount to both numbers to make the second one easier to subtract in their heads.

      For instance, 440-280=?. With a pencil and paper, you could ‘borrow’ and do the abstract problem. However, without paper/pencil, you could add 20 (the amount to bring 280 to 300) to both, changing the problem to 460-300=?, negating the need to ‘borrow’, and making it easy to solve mentally.

      • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Which you would have figured out because? How shy of 300 is 280, in other words? Twenty? Well, don’t you know that, because when you take twenty away from 300, you carried down the zeros in the units column, and took eight from zero– oh, wait, you can’t! You have to “take one from the hundreds”– and it all amounts to the same thing, fercrissakes!

        • FreedomRecon

          In other words, you have to subtract to add to subtract. Which makes much more sense than just subtracting the two numbers in the first place, right?

      • Stephen L. Hall #NonquamTrump

        You can borrow in your head just as easy. Pencil and paper are not required either way.

        But it is 2nd grade, you are required to show your work on paper, and borrowing requires less paperwork.

        • ImTheNana

          I can, yes, but I am an adult, not a primary school student.

          Showing the work on paper shows the mental process they used, and with that practice, they can solidify the learning and continue mentally once mastered.

          Think about when you might hand someone x-dollars plus some change. Similar principle, except you are looking to get back the larger coins or full dollars.

          I can’t say I’m a big fan of this one, and it has a stupid name, but it isn’t as difficult as the adults are making it.

  • Jennifer Quail

    My father (30+ years an engineer in aerospace and automotive, physics degree) once came to my high-school open house and sat through my Advanced Algebra teacher’s presentation on the class and it’s U-Chicago series textbook. He came out of it saying “NOW I understand why you hate math and don’t understand it.” And NOW I know exactly how he feels.

  • Resist_Tyranny

    We gotta get rid of the leftist fools.

  • RJ

    How will kids do math once it gets more complicated (trig, geometry, etc.)? Starting out with this terrible method is only going to make it worse down the line.

  • Vision Rider

    Reminds me of the day, more than 30 years ago, when I went to purchase a $100 clock and the kid behind the counter had to use the calculator to figure out the 4% tax to add to the $100. It looks like things have only gotten worse since than.

  • ImTheNana

    “we suspect that many 7-year olds will not be able to understand”

    And yet the student did the first problems as instructed. How much do you want to bet that was about the time a parent stepped in and said to do it the “faster” or “easier” way, ignoring the lesson is to teach mental maths?

    • Jaime Havard

      As a parent that just covered this material a couple of weeks ago I disagree. After subtracting three digit numbers via numberline, easier numbers method, missing parts via mental math, models w/ workmats and regrouping my daughter can’t do it anymore. The mistakes she is making are crazy but they come from confusion – she knew how to do this before it was covered in school – she is a “math” kind of kid. I put a note with her .7 test grade saying that I would let it rest for a few days and then recover the material. She will pick it back up but jeez, the time that has been wasted to obtain negative results. I hate it.

      • RealityObserver

        Part of the problem is that they try to teach every method to everyone. Completely ignoring the fact that every child learns differently (of course, people with “differences” are not allowed in the Regressive utopias).

        I have three children, all of whom learned differently. Getting basic concepts across took different methods for each of them – but after that, they also learned the easiest computation methods for everything (from me, not their teachers).

    • RealityObserver

      Mental maths require mental exercises – not written ones. Just as public speaking requires speech exercises, not written ones.

      • ImTheNana

        Mental maths first requires written AND mental exercises, then adapts to mental only once they are mastered, just as public speaking usually involves written notes.

  • JJay278

    what the hell is a friendly number? What are these people talking about? I wonder if they even know at this point. Look people it’s time, the lunatics are running the asylum, enough is enough.

    • RealityObserver

      Yup. I just hope that they don’t appropriate “imaginary” next for some idiot concept – square roots of negative numbers are used in many disciplines, like electrical engineering, that some will hopefully take up later. (The real “friendly” and “solitary” numbers are part of rather esoteric number theory – as are “sociable” numbers and number “clubs”. Pretty much only of interest to math “geeks” like myself, not useful out in the real world.)

      • JJay278

        That’s cool, the farthest I went was Trig. I never had a “real” math teacher, if you know what I mean. Higher Math is a language. There are a lot of people who understand the basic lang. of it but very few who can translate it to others. Seems like even less now.

  • Mickey O’Brien

    Teacher’s comments made in the “friendly” color green, instead of that “angry” color red that was traditionally used. How long before green becomes an angry color?

    • RealityObserver

      I only recall a fear of one color in my school days – and it wasn’t red, it was what we called “diarrhea brown.” The color of the casing on the pens that my high school English teacher used. When we saw that color, and heard that click, we knew that we were about to have our latest exercise in grammar or composition torn into tiny little ego-deflating shreds, whatever the color of the ink happened to be.

      Yes, we always saw the color, and heard the click – she corrected each piece of work right there in class. The only homework we ever had was the reading assignments.

      (By the way, our graduation gift to that teacher was an entire case of the terrifying things – cheap click pens were getting harder and harder to find by that time. Best teacher I ever had, hands down.)

  • alan

    Wonder how long till the public school system goes bankrupt??? My grandkids will never go to public school as long as this is the crap they want to teach. PS. that is coming from a math major…

  • Daniel Reinhardt

    Wow wtf I don’t want common core bullshit in my sons classes.

  • Paul Alvarez

    Couldn’t create shovel ready jobs, so they are creating food stamp ready kids.
    Sticking with what they know best, entitlement.

  • petervq

    How about letting 6-7-8 year-olds throw stones over the water, get dirty in the mud, and climb trees instead ! – As for education… I would suggest some mandatory reading for those self-acclaimed bureaucrat-experts of education: be it Montessory, or Rudolf Steiner on how to raise a human being, quite insightful about how our brain evolves and grows through phases in childhood, and how expose the kid to age-appropriate environments and schooling topics and methods – just anything to open their narrow-brained thinking of knowing-it-all

  • in_awe

    Didn’t Piaget map out the early childhood Stages of Cognitive Development in the 1950’s or thereabouts? It showed that not matter how hard you try, presenting materials and concepts too advanced for the child’s stage of development is fruitless.

    It reminds me of the 3 reasons to never try to teach a pig to sing:
    1. It is really tough to do,
    2. The sounds the pig makes are awful, and
    3. It annoys the pig

  • JAR07

    I was told by a former college classmate who teaches elementary in Ohio that she uses the “old way” as a sort of differentiation for struggling students. Ironically, I struggle to understand this thought process. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Teach the old method that worked for so many adults for so many years; and for struggling learners, find a differentiated approach, like making the numbers “friendlier.”

  • Jim P

    Is this why the grade scores for kids in the US have been steadily falling???

  • West Marcus

    Number numeral ? Frienldy division, they are not teaching, as Subtraction is division, chew on that ,”Friendly Numbers” numerals !! I think 69 is a very friendly number or a numeral , or social interaction, “what ever”. I always taught conservation of number and sets of 10 …

  • Marc Jobst

    I think numbers like “280” are being profiled and discriminated against. Someone should protest on behalf of “280”. If “280” can be treated like this, just think of the abuse “713” would have to endure.

  • FlatFoot

    Common Core adopted a pedagogical philosophy that eschews factual knowledge and standard algorithms for a discovery approach that is not at all helpful in teaching students the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary for success. 1%’er Limousine Liberal so-called intellectual elites, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, and their precious snowflakes, will never even know the impending inevitable disaster that awaits the Children of the Common Core as they grow into intellectually dysfunctional adults who will possess zero-to-none commonsense and can’t even balance their checkbooks much less get jobs that require actual knowledge and the ability to sense and divine truth versus fiction.

    Common Core literally dictates — ‘Best Guess’ will be the pinnacle of their knowledge and abilities.

  • Stephen L. Hall #NonquamTrump

    How is a 2nd grader to know if the number is really friendly? It’s not like he can discuss this over a beer with the number? Even if the number is over 21!

  • ARJ190

    This whole “Common Core” thing is a load of BS!!! The teachers all know it and the Govt. knows it too, they’re just to freaking stubborn to admit it. I know several GOOD teachers who are going to retire early because they’re tired of the paper work and other stupidity associated with this…… :(

    • FreedomRecon

      My mom did retire, after 35 years of public schools. She’s now at a Catholic school and loves it.

      • alan

        Soon the public schools will go away and private and home schools will be it!!!

  • PFN92

    This is the crap I go through everyday with my 2nd grader’s math homework. Haven’t seen a recognizable math equation yet.

  • Todd A. Lindquist

    ridiculous…yes that’s what future colleges/employers will look for ‘friendly numbers’

  • Franklin Crittenden

    Friendly numbers?

    Has the world gone Mad?

  • RealityObserver

    This is both right… AND wrong.

    I learned add and carry, borrow and subtract, in school. That is what I use when I have paper and a writing instrument (and care about exactitude).

    The “friendly numbers” method being taught here (like others, I’ve never heard it called that) is for mental arithmetic, for a quick, “close enough” answer. That is what I learned from my mother and grandmother, and use in places like the grocery store (where I still usually come within 1% of the “true” answer, even with mental multiplication for sales tax mixed in).

    The methods for mental calculation should never be used in a written assignment. Especially in second grade, they should still be learning the tables – which are the basis for BOTH paper and mental calculation. If they want to teach the mental techniques, it should be homework for the parents to do with their children. I know, I know, good luck getting that to happen with the majority of parents these days…

    • cheeflo

      It used to be called rounding up or down for quick mental calculations. It seems to me that this is a technique learned after learning actual arithmetic, not before.

  • Jack

    no one, and I mean no one at McDonalds can count change back w/o the machine doing it for them

    • RealityObserver

      Sometimes not even with the machine…

  • rambler

    I can’t wait to see what a bridge or a building would look like using common core math for building specs.

    • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
      • rambler

        Probably worse than that. :-)

        • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse of 1940, before the days of computer design, where they failed to take crosswinds into account and how heavy the bridge deck would need to be, or alternatively how wide open (to allow the winds through) the side of the bridge deck needed to be, to counteract the effect of the wind. But I’m sure that kids growing up with common core would know that the force of winds at various speeds, amplified by the canyon effect of the surrounding topography, would be friendly numbers they could count on their ten-sticks to make number bonds.

          • rambler

            And all those friendly numbers would correct for any math mistakes.

  • $7329248

    Could you be arrested for providing hate numbers..? Just curious…

    • Jack

      only if you(the parent) called the teacher Bossy

    • disappearing moderate

      That would be digital bigotry.

  • H50 ✓RAT

    What is it going to take to abolish Common Core for good? We are raising ANOTHER generation of idiots.

  • kbielefe

    Now that most adults carry a calculator (on their phone) with them everywhere they go, schools start teaching people how to do math in their head, using a method that most people figure out on their own without needing to be taught.

  • Joninwm

    How do we really know if 200 is actually “friendly”? I heard that 200 pushed a kid down at lunch, and took his tofu and brussel sprouts.

    • Steve__Jacobson

      I heard that 200 is also kind of bossy.

  • Burly Bergeron

    1 + 1 = 2, thats friendly enough for 2nd graders

  • blder

    You obviously don’t understand what the goal of the assignment is.

  • Scott Snoopy

    As someone who went to elementary school back when teachers could paddle you and slide rules were our calculators; I only have one question….what the f*** is a friendly number? Who the hell came up with this convoluted concept? God save The Republic

    • prado4587

      Children shouldn’t be taught methods used by high scoring and efficient SAT test takers. America will only be restored to glory by our children wasting time figuring out math.

  • Mackie

    Common core curriculum has just been booted from Indiana by Governor Pence. Common core violates well established principals in education .

    ANSI) The American National Standards Institute was completely ignored and a private group of individuals was allowed to put Common Core together with the Federal Government doing the testing. We need to return education to the parents and the local neighborhoods and get the feds out of K thru 12.

  • Mick

    I saw an unfriendly number today when I was about to leave for work and had a panic attack…had to take the day off!

  • MarcusFenix

    Is there a reduction in score for using “unfriendly” numbers. I mean, 3, 7, and 17 owe me money, 26 is a jerk half the time, and 87 always parks in two spaces at the grocery store.

    • tedlv

      6 was caught in a compromising with 9.

  • Guest

    I wonder how many of you are teacher? How many of you have ever taught even one day in a classroom? Calling a teacher an idiot….and that is why children now a days have no respect for their teachers. I bet most of you have never looked at the common core. You just complain when your child doesn’t understand, well, I should also say when you don’t understand either. Maybe instead of bashing the teacher you take a moment to email them and talk with them about what your child is learning and why. How about you take a part in your child’s education!?!? Wait, did someone just ask a parent to be involved, ekk. Oh that’s right you all have jobs of your own and couldn’t think if taking up any of your time…yet the teacher grades, plans, emails, and makes phone calls after her/his work day is done. And I bet even buys things for your child on holidays, and for prizes for them with her/his own money. Yes lets all talk about the teacher.

    • tedlv

      You could really use an English teacher.

    • MarcusFenix

      Actually….yes. I have, both in a private school and also as a martial arts instructor.

      I’m going to glance over the roughshod treatment you give to the English language, as a kindness.

      Respect is something that is earned, not given because of a title or the position one holds. While it’s true that children should be mindful of where they are and why they are there (I’m stretching by saying school/there to learn, since we can establish that’s not necessarily the case sometimes) and be polite to the instructors, respect is earned. One should be careful to not give undue adulation to a person just because of their professional title.

      Personally, my children have zero problems keeping up or understanding when they’re taught properly. That includes being a part of the educational process, helping them where it’s needed, but also calling out the teacher for not doing their job properly when that is also required. Where the confusion enters includes examples like the one above, or strange word problems that ask how people would feel about an example, when the question is a math problem. Numbers, by their nature, are not friendly or unfriendly, and telling a child to use “friendly” numbers has no real point. The point of a mathematical exercise such as this is to arrive at the correct answer, not about how the numbers are “friendly”, or how someone feels about addition and subtraction. So the child used the long version of the problem, with the numbers in a columns format that was taught for decades, what is the problem? The answer was correct. The teacher should have recognized this, placed the appropriate check mark beside the answer, and moved on. If nothing else, the child should have been at least told that it was excellent of them to find the answer using a different method that was also mathematically correct.

      I can’t stop you from throwing a pity party for the entire teaching profession, and certainly one could make the case that there are mounds of valuable, respectable teachers across the board. Let’s be honest, though for a moment. One can also easily make a case that the activities in the classroom are simply “teaching to the test”, such as the SOL, in order to funnel children through and get more funding for their districts. The fact that the teacher, in the above example, is critiquing the student for getting the right answer, but not the way he/she wanted, is asinine.

      • FreedomRecon

        As a teacher, and the daughter of a teacher, and the niece of several teachers, I completely agree with the above comment. I would also like to add that the people caring enough to post on this thread are most likely very involved with their child’s progress, or lack there of, in school. Again, I would like to reiterate that at this age, it is ridiculous to skip the fundamentals of subtraction and jump to this method to find the solution to the problem.

      • RealityObserver

        I completely agree with your “respect is earned” stance. One of the teachers that I placed in my highly respected group was a college history professor – two PhDs, one in history, the other in criminology. He had (understandably) a draconian policy about absences and being late. Due to a bad scheduling of the faculty meeting, he was frequently late himself, though, when I was in his class. I confronted him (publicly, and I must admit, with some disrespect) after the fifth time I had waited around for a half hour after the class start time. He apologized – because he was a man, not a title. Promised it would not happen again (and it did not – I believe that he subsequently browbeat his department head, albeit somewhat more politely).

    • RealityObserver

      What they are teaching is idiocy. We should probably remember, although it is difficult in any situation, to “hate the sin, not the sinner.”

      Teachers of this idiocy fall into two basic groups – those who know it is idiocy, and those who do not.

      The latter group I excuse from responsibility, although they really should try to find another profession that they can handle competently.

      The first group subdivides into two more subgroups – those who know better, but have embraced the idiocy for some kind of ideological reason, and those who are trapped between highly educated idiots in the school district and ignorant parents in the homes. Again, I excuse the latter group, and empathize with them. The first group – idiotic and proud of it – should be fired post-haste.

  • David G. Mills

    It’s simple… Those who are against COMMON CORE should threaten to remove their kids from public school…The schools lose federal money, less teachers are needed. ..”It’s Really Not That Difficult”. I know.. this requires action on the part of parents. If Common Core is brought it to a child’s school, blame the parents.

    • Heather Ann Ryder

      Now I agree to a point with your first comment, and I did exactly that- pulled my children and am homeschooling BUT not all parents have that option-nor should they have to. You are really throwing me with the “blame the parents for the common core” comment though. Parents didn’t vote, request, or have any say whether or not the common core was adopted in their state. I imagine, even now, several parents don’t even know what it is or what it entails (which is sad, I agree) States adopted the common core before it was even written so I don’t understand how parents can shoulder the blame for the unknown. There is plenty of blame to go around, starting at the White house, the DOE, governors, SEDs, and we can’t forget the financial backing of the Gates Foundation..Corporate Greed… a lot of people and entities to blame, but parents shouldn’t be included.

      • David G. Mills

        1. Homeschooling… I know where parents have joined together to help home school … they created their own “school”, parents chip in to help. I know churches that have donated classrooms for the home school kids.

        2. Parents need to let the politicians know.. they will NOT be re-elected unless COMMON CORE is removed.

        3. When parents yank their kids from public schools, means less teachers…. The teachers union will think twice… they’ll hate to lose union members.

        We All know who caused this problems.
        Parents have a choice… Sit back and do NOTHING, which hurts the kids or band together and fight like hell to get rid of it.

  • Gradivus

    Note the green ink. Red ink is now politically incorrect for correcting papers.

  • Red Fred

    Bill Gates financing this little experiment is sending me to Apple.

  • Virgo826

    I’m a CPA and I couldn’t answer even understand the question — much less provide an “acceptable, i.e. a number friendly” answer. You can definitely tell this is a Democratic push because it is the math they used to make themselves believe that Obamacare was mathematically feasible.

  • renagle

    My 2nd grader is in an Intl IPC school in The Hague. As of this moment, he is doing column subtraction. And here I worried about their touchy-feely way of doing things. We have nothing compared to this common core crap. Good luck, America.

  • OfficialPro

    Common Core bullfeces is the culmination of the dreams of socialist “educator” John Dewey, who in the 1920s already had the idea that to make the whole country a bunch of passive, dumb people (via teaching the children such bilge as Whole Language reading, culminating in the dreck that is Dick and Jane) unable to function in order to get them to be more accepting of socialism.

    • RealityObserver

      I disagree. We are not yet at the culmination of Regressive wet dreams re mathematics education. Now, when they re-adopt Roman numerals, some time in the year MCDXXXIX or so (Muslim calendar of course), then we might be at their desired endpoint.

  • Steve Rodriguez

    We should dump all public school teacher unions, and arrest for treason whomever came up with common core.

  • Charles Stewart

    Common core teaches bullshit and should be done away with!!!!

  • Garry Butler

    Why would a government that is 17 trillion dollars in debt be teaching math…?

  • tomyj1

    What make 200 more friendly that 7 that’s racist………

  • Kay Headley

    How do they know what # amount to add or subtract to ge the “rounded” numbers in order to do the problem? Isn’t that extra mental math they have to already know?

    • Gnillort

      When subtracting, you add the same amount to each side. There is no set number, it’s whatever makes it easiest. They are rounding to the closest ten and hundred. Just like most people do when doing math in their head.

  • Gnillort

    I think it’s hilarious all the people claiming to have a degree in math or some other random qualification as proof of superior intellect, yet they can’t understand this stuff.

    Most people do this everyday but are too stupid to realize it I guess. None of you geniuses know how to round things for easier figuring? They are children. Calling something friendly isn’t an atrocity. Most kids could care less. It’s just a descriptive word to help remember something. The point of the lesson is to make the easiest way of subtracting numbers. 420-300 is easier for a child, than 410-290. Are you people really that ignorant?

    • FreedomRecon

      The easiest way is just to subtract them, especially at 7 years old.

      • cheeflo

        That seems to be too simple for some. You know, math is hard.

    • MarcusFenix

      Yet, the way such operations were taught before wasn’t difficult for generations of children to learn, without having to arbitrarily add numbers on each side to dumb it down.

      Take, for example the 470 minus 280 problem. While a 2nd grader may need a few moments, as adults, how long did it take you to get to the answer? 2 seconds or less? I mean, if the problem looked like this:

      – 365,320,356,934

      Maybe shortcuts would be worth something. I don’t see a benefit for teaching a shortcut to something that’s not incredibly difficult to begin with, when it simply adds another unnecessary step to the process that is easily defeated when you simply teach them how math works from the get go.

      • Vickie Imacosmetologist Carter

        And I highly doubt anyone would want you balancing their books with those numbers if you are using this type math either. Children have to learn to borrow numbers at some point. Now days, if you go into a convenience store or a fast food restaurant and the computers are down, there are a lot that already have no idea how to make change and most are in high school or have already graduated

        • MarcusFenix

          Precisely. I’ve run into that very problem here in our local markets. Some stores, like Safeway, have the automatic currency/change dispensers, which I absolutely understand. Cuts down on human error and problems with the cash drawer, totally fine.

          The other grocery store here (coughFoodLioncough) does not. The person behind the counter (mid 20’s male from the look of it) had to recount the change of our last purchase there (a bag of sugar, milk, coffee, and some creamer) 3-4 times before he could give us our change back. We only gave him a 20 dollar bill, and the total was something like 11 dollars after tax..not complicated, but the look on his face made it seem like he was calculating possible trajectories for the next Shuttle mission at NASA.

          • Vickie Imacosmetologist Carter

            sounds like coughFoodLioncough needs to get the automated cash/change registers too.

    • FreedomRecon

      I would also like to say that I was taught that math was the universal language. The answer is the same no matter what country you are from or what language you speak. Saying that some numbers are “friendlier” than others is ludicrous.

      • Gnillort

        If you stop trying to put it in a negative light you might realize it’s not about good or evil numbers. It just means easier numbers. There are no other labels for the rest of the numbers. Odd numbers are not referred to as evil numbers. A friendly number is just an easier number to work with. It’s not some evil socialist term to brainwash kids.

        • FreedomRecon

          That negative light you speak of shines all by itself. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10….none of these is harder than the other.

          • Gnillort

            I would bet many children would disagree. We aren’t talking about teenagers or adults here. The example in this article is definitely easier to figure out in your head when you just add that 20 to each. Kids have to do addition and subtraction in a timed test. This is the type of thing that will allow them to do it faster.

            It’s hardly perfect and has some foolish tendencies but stories like this make me think many smart people are pretty stupid. If people can’t see the logic of teaching how to round up in a useful way then there is something wrong. How many cashiers have you run into that struggle with basic stuff like this?

            Have people become so set against anything thought of being from the other side of the isle, they don’t even bother looking at what they are complaining about?

          • cheeflo

            I would hazard a guess that teenagers and adults who learn arithmetic in this manner as children still haven’t learned arithmetic.

          • FreedomRecon

            Other side of the “isle”? Really? Pretty sure you just proved a point I made somewhere in this thread. (See “dumbing down” comment) But I’ll assume you meant aisle and say this. They are 7 years old. It is infinitely more complex to teach them to round up to 300, then determine the difference between 300 and 280=20, then add 20 to the other number, then subtract the two new numbers to get the answer. Yes the answer is the same, but why add the extra steps?

          • Gnillort

            Whoa! You found that missing A in all of those words? Who’s awesome? You are!

            You also may want to refrain from using made up words when trying to call out grammatical errors.

          • CustomDesigned

            What has been lost is the knowledge that children develop in stages. At the Grammar stage, which 2nd grade is for all but a few geniuses, rote memorization is your best skill – one that wears off as you grow older. It is the time to cram facts (hopefully true ones) into your head – not try to wrestle with abstract concepts, which your brain is not yet fully developed to handle. That comes at the Logic stage – Junior high for most kids.

        • FreedomRecon

          Friendly numbers suggests that there are unfriendly numbers, and I said nothing about evil socialism.

    • Draconian Bruin

      Such comments are plainly not offered as proof of “superior intellect,” as you despairingly commented, but rather as a strong comment on the obtuseness of the lesson.

      In the end, Common Core is a mess. IF this is truly intended to help, maybe it should be taught only to those struggling with the basics, but not to all children.

    • cheeflo

      I don’t recall any problems subtracting numbers like 290 from 410 when I was a child. Why is it easier to add 10 to each number and then subtract?

      Instead of learning to subtract one number from another, let’s learn to subtract a different number from another different number to arrive at the same result? That’s just silly.

  • dreamkitten61

    Unfriendly numbers…
    One,Two..Common Cores after you.
    Three, Four..better bolt the door.
    Five, Six..grab a crucifix.
    Seven, can thank Bill Gates.
    Nine, Ten…You’ll never think again.

  • Eat2surf

    I had this type of difficulty in school… and I won awards in Math… If the test giver isn’t smart enough to write a problem where you need the property to solve it… then the kid should be able to solve it however they choose.

  • SideshowJon36

    There is nothing friendly about Math

  • bjeanthejellybean

    Okay, I’ll admit it… I had to look up Associative Properties….. here it is: In mathematics, the associative property is a property of some binary operations. In propositional logic, associativity is a valid rule of replacement for expressions in logical proofs.

    • ImTheNana
      • bjeanthejellybean

        Okay… so in other words no matter how you present the problem the answer is the same……. ?

        • ImTheNana

          For those that have that property, yes. 3+2= is the same as 2+3=.

          It’s a shame how some very simple concepts can be made to sound so complicated, isn’t it?

          • bjeanthejellybean

            Yes, needlessly so. No wonder our kids are struggling. Thanks for the link!

          • ImTheNana

            Is that definition from the book, or a worksheet?!? If so, I agree. If it’s just from some random website, or the sludge that is Wikipedia, then it is unrelated to why “kids are struggling”, right?

          • bjeanthejellybean

            It wasn’t from wiki…… My comment was intended to point out that, just as the the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, it seems senseless to make these math problems needless complicated.

          • ImTheNana

            The definition, as it was, was ridiculous, but that has nothing that I could see to do with the real understanding of associative property. It’s important for students to learn.

          • bjeanthejellybean

            I don’t agree. I don’t see a practical use for it.

    • CustomDesigned

      An operation is associative if it doesn’t matter what order you do it in. For instance. You can use parenthesis to show explicitly what order to do them in. So if addition is associative (as it is for natural numbers), then (a+b)+c is the same as a+(b+c). An operation is commutative if the operands are interchangeable. If addition is commutative, then a+b is the same as b+a.

      A group is a set of things with a binary operator that maps two group members to another member of the group. An Abelian group is one where the binary operator is commutative.

      Quiz: What is purple and commutes?

      A: An Abelian grape

      As an example of a non-number group, consider reflections and rotations in 3 dimensions.

      • bjeanthejellybean

        Okay… got the first part but you lost me at binary operator and Abelian group! As you have probably already surmised I sucked at math! LOL!

  • Daniel De Kok

    And when they grow up, they write tax laws and appropriations bills.

    • Bill Phillips

      Those are definitely NOT “friendly numbers”!

  • Eric Weaver

    just another reason we are behind other countries. Our system is set up to keep people dumb downed so the government can more easily control them.

    • SineWaveII

      The irony is that in the end they aren’t going to get what they think they’re going to get. By the time this is all done the federal government will collapse because there won’t be enough people left who can generate enough wealth to support a government of that size. And then when the welfare stops the ignorant masses they created will come for them, the capital will be burning and the politicians will be hanging from the lamp posts.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        But Marxist socialism is (in part) the idea that a few elites can run the place better and more efficiently than a bunch of “dumb” (free) people that have “false consciousness.”

        • SineWaveII

          ..which is why it’s doomed from the start.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Well, that’s the sane conclusion.

      • Eric Weaver

        well then we can start new with new ideas and new people.

  • iconoclast

    Another New Math fiasco.

    Children have successfully learned arithmetic and mathematics for more than 100 years without resorting to idiocy like this. If a child cannot work through simple arithmetic at 2nd Grade then maybe they are just retarded.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      It’s more often that the teacher (or teaching) is retarded.

      • iconoclast


  • Emily B

    This is my HOMESCHOOLED second grader’s math work. Simple arithmetic. And she can do it with no problem. No extra steps and crazy terms.

  • equal_rights_for_all1

    Trying to balance my checkbook. Can’t find any “friendly” numbers. That’s the problem with REAL arithmetic. Not creative enough. Same old right answers every time.

    • SineWaveII

      Yeah call up your bank and tell them that.

  • docscience

    Shouldn’t they be called gay numbers?
    Better than friendly.

    • SineWaveII

      Are you trying to discriminate against the tran numbers? Are you a tranumberaphobe?

  • Cibil A. Sesco

    When I was in second grade, you solved for the correct answer. Rounding wasn’t covered until later. If you solved for a “friendly” answer without being instructed to do so, the dried-up old bat who taught the math half of the class gave you a spanking.
    Of course, that old bitch would give you an ass whupping if she just thought it “was time you had a spanking.” No lie – she said exactly that to me once.

    • AZWarrior

      Some of today’s teachers give good spankings to cute little girls who look like they could use one, but it isn’t to improve their math skills. Perhaps your teacher needed you to have a spanking more than you needed it.

    • frenchexit81

      This isn’t rounding.

      And the fact that you learned something one way doesn’t automatically make a different way of learning inferior.

  • Larry Darling

    If you dont like common core Being taught to your childern .move to Indiana we teach the old fashen way that parent’scan help there kids with.

    • CustomDesigned

      Or don’t use government schools.

  • AlCashier

    this is the way democrat Detroit did their math for 40+ years. and we all see how well that turned out.

  • 66

    I have read reports that kids 30 years ago were better educated than todays. Why don’t we dig out those old text books and teach they way they did 30 years ago. That would mean rote memorization: Math, vocabulary, history, etc. Also, we wouldn’t have to medicate all the little boys to get them to act like little girls. Probably have to eliminate teachers unions to get back to real education.

    • pdigaudio

      And encourage little girls to act like little boys, thus creating waves of Janet Renos. But we must not call them bossy.

    • SonofLiberty

      I don’t know about that. I graduated with a bunch of dumb @#$.
      I had some real losers for teachers back then, no classroom control, didn’t care about the kids, and so forth. Things may have gotten worse but they weren’t all that good back then either.

    • CustomDesigned

      Classical education – for thousands of years, we knew that children develop their mental powers over time. Therefore, young children in the Grammar stage memorized – they love doing it too. Next is the Logic stage beginning around Junior high and Freshman for most kids – you can learn abstract concepts, like the associative property. *That* is where you might throw in some “new math”. Finally, there is the Rhetoric stage – where you learn to communicate what you know to others.

      Of course, some children progress more quickly, or slowly, than is typical – but they all go through these stages.

      I suspect the goal is to minimize the facts grammar kids learn – so they have nothing to work with when they reach the logic stage, and are easily controlled.

  • John Howard

    What are ‘friendly numbers’ — the remaining balance on your EBT card?

  • Gwynn Wright Guiliano

    Here’s the thing, as an “A” Math student back in the 70’s, who took advanced Math classes and taught an individualized Math class, I did that with Math also. I did it when I was attempting to figure the problem in my head, that way I could get the answer quicker. For instance, 400 – 320 would become 400 – 300 = 100, BUT I subtracted the 20 from 100 afterwards so I knew the answer was 80! Now I already know that the answer to that problem is 20, but as a 6 or 7 year old, I figured out that it was simply easier to do it that way in my head. Now, I can do Math problems in my head very quickly, surprising my friends and family. It appears to be the same as what they may be trying to teach, but they should learn to arrive at the CORRECT answer! Math is a definite science, no doubt about that! Its already bad enough that if the computer goes out at a gas station (for example), they can’t sell a package of gum or a gallon of gas or milk, because the employees can’t add three items together and figure the tax!

  • Bill Gaw

    First off, if the kid got the right answers, he doesn’t need to spend more time on that part. he needs to learn the concepts behind. And whoever wrote that needs to go back to school themselves. Equations are not algorithms. Don’t use big words to try to scare people that you don’t understand…it only makes you look foolish.

  • TrishD

    Forever 39? That’s a very friendly number.

    • SineWaveII

      One is the loneliest number, but does that mean it’s not friendly? How about 69. i would call that a VERY friendly number.

      • TrishD

        Knew someone would go there.

        • SineWaveII

          Yep it was inevitable :–)

  • CustomDesigned

    Stop using government schools.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    WTF is a friendly number?

    • SineWaveII

      A number that you know the girl won’t hang up on you if you dial it.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        So they teach kids how to contact “partners” in math these days? Not surprising.

        I was worried it was the toll free number for the Informatsionnoye Byuro Kommunisticheskikh i Rabochikh Party.

        • SineWaveII

          Now now that number is only friendly when you use it to turn in your neighbor comrade. Not so friendly if you ARE the neighbor though Jah?

  • Tom Novak

    So now the child has to do two addition problems before he can do the subtraction problem…Sounds like bureaucracy at its best!
    We all develop tricks to make math easier for ourselves, but we must still know the basics before we can get there!
    I had a math teacher whom I had great respect for tell me that math was as pure as it gets. There are few absolutes like that of mathematics!

    • MommaGator

      That is exactly right. You can’t learn the tricks until you know the basics.

  • Evie1949

    For a personality “class” at work, I was given a few pairs of words and was asked to point out which “one of each pair” I liked best. The words were not synonyms and were all perfectly good words – I had no preference toward any of the specific words…which I told the instructor. He insisted I pick one from each pair and I refused a 2nd time…he then said that “I had to chose one” so I told him to just select the first one…he said that would not right – to which I pointed out that anything else would not be right either, in fact all would be a lie as I had no preference. The instructor said that my choices were to be used to determine my personality type. I still refuse to play that game. Kids should just refuse to play.

    • SineWaveII

      “What a strange game. It seems the only way to win is not to play”

  • lcky9

    gee I thought ALL numbers were friendly unless they were a negative number ..OH how did I balance my checkbook without FRIENDLY numbers only??? No wonder Obama can’t figure out why all his spending is making the people mad.. he thinks negative numbers are FRIENDLY numbers..

  • themelios

    People think this is just stupidity. It isn’t. This is a program designed to indoctrinate children into blindly following instructions even when the instructions don’t make sense.

  • gjsmith_62

    What in the world is a “friendly number”? Is that the tax the Feds require for subservience?

    • Evan Dickinson

      They are teaching them an easier way to subtract numbers.

      • gjsmith_62

        Calling numbers “friendly” doesn’t make math easier. And since when do you criticize the correct answer?

        • Evan Dickinson

          They are teaching a particular method so they want to know that the kids understand that method.

          The method is that when you subtract two numbers you add enough to one of them to take it to the nearest hundred above it. Then you add what that required to the other number. It makes the subtraction part easier.

          • gjsmith_62

            since when do you criticize the correct answer?

          • Evan Dickinson

            It wasn’t the correct answer if you consider that the question asked for more than just the answer to a subtraction problem.

          • gjsmith_62

            LOL … that’s why the answer was marked correct.

          • Evan Dickinson

            Ya, the teacher wrote that to point out that the subtraction was correct. Nonetheless not everything was done that was asked.

  • Craig S. Bell

    At my elementary school, they had good old phonograph records with arithmetic drills. I’m not all that old, it was the late 70’s and early 80’s.

    The guy would start reading out “six times seven”, “twelve divided by three”, &c. He would talk faster and faster… then we would write down the answers.

    We were graded on the correctness of our drills. So we wanted to get them right. So we paid attention, and memorized some important basic stuff.

    We did these drills several times a week, progressing through more complex tables and larger numbers. It was a bit tedious, but no worse than other schoolwork.

    So we learned basic math with a minimum of fuss, and were able to figure out more complex problems using the basics that we learned. It worked pretty well.

    Later I took H.S. math while in middle school, and went on to study C.S., which is a sort of specialized math major. Good times… or *were* they?

    So, whom do I need to sue for retroactive insufficient friendliness? I didn’t know just how upset I was until just now. And I just forgot how to carry digits.

  • ChiTownExPat

    “Tape diagrams”? Whoever thought this up has a tapeworm on the BRAIN!!!

    I wasn’t around when the “New Math” came out, but from what I’ve heard about it, this smells awfully close–and putrid. I tutor grade-schoolers, and using manipulatives (e.g. poker chips, where the colors stand for different place values), the concept of borrowing is easily shown. Go old-school, everyone; drill and kill.

  • Pamela K. Cahoon Laub

    Traditional math worked for centuries, it gets straight forward answers. Then they tried and abandoned “New Math”. Now Common Core makes things more complex and the child doesn’t have to get the right answer. They just have to explain how the got that answer. Those poor kids! If they taught traditional math they’d have more time for other topics.

  • Evan Dickinson

    I don’t see the big deal with teaching this.

    • Chris Hightower

      The ‘big deal’ isn’t the fact that they are teaching kids how to do subtraction via the associative property. The ‘big deal’ is that this child can obviously do the assigned homework using a different method that makes sense to him/her, but was marked down for not conforming to the one-size-fits-all approach.

      • frenchexit81

        Look closely at the assignment sheet. The kid DIDN’T do the assigned homework. The assigned homework was to demonstrate mastery of a particular skill.

        This is what people who actually understand education call a Learning Outcome.

  • Ironside

    I can’t believe I actually received a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering without ever encountering a “friendly number”.

  • gridlock2

    Looks like the teacher adds points for every wrong answer. So is the paper graded on how many error points the student accumulates? Kind of like golf, where a low score is better?

    It’s a strange way to run a railroad…

  • Stacey B

    How many 16-30 year old young adults do you know that actually balance a check book? The “vague” idea of teaching, in my opinion only, is silly… but it’s what society has melted into. Even math is creating a “rounding curve” for the lazy. Life used to be based on hard work equals payout. Used to be if you were smart enough to understand this type of math (because we were all taught to find a definite answer) you created a blanket for yourself – ie: extra money in the bank. Now society is being taught to give yourself a cushion – ie: extra money you ideally didn’t know you had to cover your behind when you screw up financially. Perhaps it’s because money is spent so fast – actually knowing what you have isn’t ideal because you’ve already spent it?

  • walleye

    Common Core? Here’s some core values that really need to be taught, they’re called, “The Ten Commandments”.

  • John L. Krueger

    The real issue here is the “one size fits all” approach. Kids don’t all learn and comprehend math the same way. If a kid consistently gets the correct answer without the “friendly number” gyration, leave him alone.

  • Thomas

    Until “We the People” tke the schools back from the government and the unions America will continue down this path of failure

  • Russthecurious

    Child abuse!

  • Evil Otto

    If there are “friendly numbers,” doesn’t that also mean there are “unfriendly numbers?”

  • reaper_69

    A ‘math’ curriculum written by people who have never taught math! This Common Core is total garbage! It is nothing but liberal indoctrination! The proof is in the fact that the more these government programs are imposed on our children, the worse their results become compared to other countries! Even though we spend more per capita than any other nation! If your child is given a Common Core book, send it back to the school, if they give it back to you child, then burn it! Your kids will do better without it!

    • frenchexit81

      Really? Teaching a slightly modified version of subtraction that works better for some kinds of learners is “liberal indoctrination”? Do you have any idea how asinine and knee-jerk and unhinged this would sound anywhere BUT a right-wing message board?

  • Amieelea Louise Curran

    I don’t understand this. Is it just like rounding and estimating?

    • frenchexit81

      It’s more akin to finding common denominators when you start working with fractions, or to certain algebraic methods. It’s about methodically manipulating the numbers to make them easier to work with. It might seem silly to do it for simple subtraction problems, but it’s a skill that will come in handy as math gets harder and more complex.

  • Stephen L. Hall #NonquamTrump
    • Marvin Nelson

      I am going to reserve judgment until the new standards come out. Given the fact that the SAT is realigning to Common Core, they may just end up changing the name of the curriculum, not the standards. Typical political shell game.

  • Marvin Nelson

    As a mathematics educator, I have shown this method to children who were having difficulty subtracting the “regular” way, but certainly wouldn’t require all the kids to work the problems this way. This one size fils all method of teaching does not work because children learn different ways and some just won’t be able to process this. Common Core “graduates” will have the mathematical knowledge of a fifth grader from the old days. We are screwed.

  • RedSoloCup

    Thank the NEA!

  • RJohnston

    So are friendly numbers the ones who exhibit positive traits…so does that make all negative numbers unfriendly?

  • submandave

    There are a multitude of ways to solve a math problem, and fluency in different methods can make one better suited to quickly grasp and solve various problems. But, in my experience, these aren’t generally being taught as such, and many children (especially young children) perceive these as completely separate things and confusing. If one can easily do 220 – 190 = 30, then why, they wonder, should one have to first add 10 to each number only to do subtraction anyway? The right answer is that shifting (my word) the problem ten digits makes it easier to do in your head if you don’t happen to have a pencil and paper handy, but from my daughters’ experience this is not made clear, possibly because the teachers don’t fully understand “why,” they just understand “what.” The problem itself is a trivial example to allow the “why” to be clearly illustrated, but this is obscured by how it is presented. If I were teaching this class, I’d ask the kids to do the calculation in their heads using the tradition subtraction algorithm and then to try it again using the “shifting” or “friendly numbers.” I would then work up to non-trivial practical examples, such as 524 – 165 (works out to 559 – 200 or 359), where this trick to do mental math really does make it simpler.

  • danny b

    UNFRIENDLY NUMBERS? Why did 6 hate 7? Because 7 eight 9!

  • GrumpyCat

    “Friendly numbers?” Isn’t that how the Obama budgets were written?

  • sblawyer

    What are “friendly” numbers? Do we have number bullies now? I think the number 4 is a bully number. It looks like a hatchet. They need to get the number 4 out of school – it could be used as a weapon. Let’s get rid of the number 8 too – it looks like handcuffs. Number 6 has to go – it looks like a noose. After all, if a kid bites pieces off his pop tart so it looks like a gun, the kid gets suspended. If a pop tart is a dangerous weapon, why can’t a number be the same?

    • MommaGator

      You could poke your eye out with the number 1….

  • matjoe76

    The only friendly numbers I care about are the ones That Lower our Idiotic National Debt.

  • Lou Bator

    Time to home school or charter schools that teach children and stay away from common core and other teaching fads.

  • Dorotha

    common core = evil put together by a bunch of satan followers….bill gates jebby bush and many others bottom line in all,of it is MONEY and the ability to make commies out of our kids

    • frenchexit81

      Wow, you sound like a really reasonable, well-informed person.

  • scott

    It doesn’t get any better in 5th grade. My son had to do “Friendly Parts” for a division problem. Just said “NO”, there was no need for friendly parts. Just going to solve the division problem.

  • Rich Van Emburgh

    And society wonders why the young can’t do simple math!!!!! This Common Core is some ones “BETTER IDEA” it belongs on the shelf with the EDSEL!

  • Guest

    Preface: I’m not disagreeing with the idiocy of teaching this in second grade, that grade appropriate math should be taught. I’m also not disagreeing with most of the other points made, such as that the kid got the right answer, and counting off because he did it a different but also correct way.

    That said, it’s not a completely idiotic concept being taught. It’s probably about the equivalent amount of work to add (our brains tend to find adding a little easier for some reason) two numbers and then visually be able to subtract the result. In other words, they are teaching a method (that admittedly works in a pretty narrow case) that converts the problem to a different problem that can be more easily solved just by looking at it (no borrowing needed or anything).

    This type of technique is used quite often in higher math. Things like Laplace Transforms are designed to transform a difficult problem into one that is more easily solved, then transform the answer back to get the answer to the original problem. It’s designed to save steps. FFTs are similar but for computers, not humans.

    But yeah, kids in second grade aren’t ready to learn about transforms.

  • LaMorena

    Ok, why confuse the kids? I don’t know how math is being taught nowadays, but when I was in school, it wasn’t taught like that. I see what they are trying to do, but as the years passed by, I learned how to do this in my head. There is no need to teach kids this. Honestly, we should only be taught simple math because most math problems that we do as an adult can be solved by a calculator. You want to teach them something they NEED to learn? Teach them how to fill out a job application. Seriously.

    • LaMorena

      I also have a problem with this because they are teaching kids what to think instead of how to think. It’s a form of brainwashing.

  • stangbanger49

    I have a major in math and this is the stupidest thing I have ever seen? Friendly numbers? I live in Indiana and our Governor just signed the bill dumping common core from our schools we are not going to do this to our kids.

    • frenchexit81

      Do you “have a major” in elementary education? Educational psych? Instructional Design?

      The fact that you’re learning higher-level calc and number theory gives you no authority whatsoever to weigh in on how basic subtraction is taught to 2nd graders. None.

  • Yvonne Bongle

    friendly numbers opposed to unfriendly ones. lol What a joke. Poor second graders.

  • Rachel Ramey

    What the heck are they SUPPOSED to be doing? I thought I understood, until I saw that the teacher had indicated that 20 needed to be added to BOTH 400 and 280 in c.

    Clearly these Common Core writers understand nothing about human brain development. Young children don’t HAVE “higher order” thinking skills. Those develop later.

    • Gnillort

      Except the kids are understanding this. It”s the adults that are afraid of anything new. They can’t grasp rounding up, to make an easier problem. It’s about teaching a technique. It matters not how hard the actual problem is.

      In the example, when subtracting, you add to each side equally to get to an easier problem. Think of it like getting to a common denominator. 490-300 is easier than 470-280. Adding the 20 to each doesn’t make it harder. Most people do similar things in their head when doing math. This just teaches them different ways to do it. It’s also not the only way they are taught.

      It’s different and everyone thinks they should hate it, so they do. People need to get off the band wagon and look into it. You can find the entire course online. You can print out every homework assignment your kid will ever have.

  • idiotmitten

    I need to know what an “unfriendly number” is.

    • Gnillort

      There are none. It refers to even numbers like 10 and 100 that are easy to add. Calling things friendly for children is nothing new.

  • Billie

    HOMESCHOOL before it is too late…. spend your time fighting a system or spend your time nurturing your children’s educations.

  • Gnillort

    There are no bad numbers. The term friendly refers to easier to work with numbers. Nothing more. Even groups of tens and hundreds are easier to handle. They are called friendly numbers.

    You were given a direction of thought before you opened this story. The headline told you how to react. The author doesn’t understand it any more than you but you will take that knee jerk reaction and run with it. You are all so easily manipulated. Pretty dang sad.

    I don’t think it’s the best for everyone, but the people acting like this is hard are fools. Prefacing their remarks by stating they have a mathematical prowess just makes them look more foolish.

    Many people claim it’s about making America dumber. They complain it adds unnecessary work making it harder. Which is it? Is it too hard or does it make you stupid? Let me help you out. It’s not hard so maybe you’re just stupid.

    • Sydney


  • Vaughn Walen

    If you can’t even help your children with their homework , this is a doomed system and a doomed
    Country if this stays.

    • frenchexit81

      If you can’t take 5 minutes to learn the system that they’re learning – really, it’s not that difficult if you read the text – then you shouldn’t be helping your children with their homework anyway. You’d probably just slow them down.

  • Afterseven

    Is $17,000,000,000,000.00 a “Friendly Number”.

  • Antodav

    WTH IS THIS BS? Just subtract the numbers for goodness sakes!! “Friendly” numbers?? What are “unfriendly numbers”?!?!?!

  • Defend Liberty Philly Dude

    I’ve found this to be a useful antidote against the ancient manifesto worshiped by today’s liberals and progressives:

  • frenchexit81

    Oh no! Kids are learning something that looks unfamiliar to us! They’re using a method that I didn’t learn 30 years ago! I can’t be bothered to take a few minutes to learn it myself so I can help my kid with his homework, so I’ll just go on the internet and caterwaul about how Common Core is a communist plot! The Dept. of Education is trying to brainwash our kids, even though this is a state-by-state initiative! Even though I don’t know a thing about educational psychology or pedagogy, I know what’s best!!!111!!!