Letterman Heir Colbert Mocks Convoluted Common Core Math

Barbara Boland
By Barbara Boland | April 11, 2014 | 2:41 PM EDT

Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, just named the successor to David Letterman, mocked the absurdity of Common Core math homework on his show "The Colbert Report" this week.

"But folks, as much as I didn't expect it, I may be coming around to the Common Core because it turns out that Common Core testing prepares our students for what they will face as adults: pointless stress and confusion," Colbert said.

He showed a Common Core curriculum math problem that complicates a simple subtraction problem with a number line. The question asks the student to find the error and "Then write a letter to Jack telling him what he did right, and what he should do to fix his mistake."

"That's a great question. Teaches two important work place skills: math, and passive aggressive note-writing," Colbert said. "We all know it's going to come in handy when you have to leave post-it notes about proper yogurt etiquette in the break-room fridge."

(The father of the boy who actually received this homework, an electrical engineer, took a different approach in real-life.)

"That's what I do when I get the check at a restaurant," Colbert continued. "Draw a bunch of shapes and tell the waitress to find my error."

"Here's a question given to a second-grader in California," Colbert said:

"Mike saw 17 blue cars and 25 green cars at the toy store. How many cars did he see? Write a number sentence with a [ ] for the missing number. Explain how the number sentence shows the problem."

The second-grader's response:

"17+25= [42] I got the answer by talking in my brain and I agreed of the answer that my brain got."

"Folks, this child has a bright future. He is only in second grade, and can already explain what it feels like to think," Colbert said.

"Now we just need to get him to explain what that feels like to whoever wrote the Common Core questions."