The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics present a once in a generation opportunity to radically improve mathematics education. They are a framework to support childrens' engagement in "juicy" math - problems and activities which are interesting, beneficial, and fun. "We say fifty-seven; why don't we say fifty-twelve?"; "Why is 35x27 equal to 27x35?"; "How can a graph tell a story?"; "Which of these choices is a better deal in financing a car?"
There has been plenty of juicy math out there before the Common Core. Dan Mayer is all about juicy math through his Three-Act Math Tasks. Deborah Ball's approach to fractions was developed in the nineties, and it is really juicy in its demand of understanding fractions. (It was essentially picked up by the Common Core). What the Common Core does is consistently promotes and supports the teaching of juicy math (also known as Rigor) by letting us spend more time on fewer topics (Focus) and helping us put things together so that learning now is serving further accomplishment later (Coherence). For some further information, see this handout I put together for local parents.
I became involved in supporting the Common Core's implementation, through work at the national, state and local levels, after attending a workshop run by Bill McCallum, a lead writer of the Common Core. I realized at the workshop that the Common Core's aim to support the development of mathematical reasoning was in line with my career-long aim along similar lines, with which I've had some success (for example in bridge courses, courses for preservice teachers and even some graduate workshops). When Bill invited me to get involved with Illustrative Mathematics, I jumped at a chance to start working with teachers and other educators to serve childrens' learning of mathematics.
The work has been interesting and rewarding, and there's so very much to do. I could easily fill my days working in the K-12 venue, but I won't because research and teaching at the university level hold such deep meaning for me. In these Common Core Math related pages, I share some personal perspective, which I hope will be useful to others in the various communities of which I am a part, in particular the Eugene/ Lane County community and the community of college and university mathematicians.