Checkmate! Common Core math is uncommonly hard, some parents say. To wit: This father’s check, written out to an Ohio school, is representing a sum of, well, we’re not quite sure. We know that Doug Herrmann is sending a numerically sarcastic message to the Melridge Elementary School, we just can’t figure it out.

The frustrated father took to Facebook to snap a photo of his Common Core check. Although he did not actually mail in his check to the Painesville school, he set up the befuddling educational initiative for some well-deserved social media ridicule, and an outlet for exasperated parents to hole up in and have a good laugh – undoubtedly preferable to the near-tears experiences many of us have attempting to assist our eye-rolling kids.

Herrmann’s nonsensical string of Xs and Os does represent a value of nothing, but it’s expressed in the proper tape diagram format, showing the extreme arithmetical minutiae of trying to oversimplify the concept of nil.

Tons of news outlets fell for the mini ruse, falsely reporting that Hermann, who works at WJW Channel 8 in Cleveland, actually mailed the check. “I think it’s officially gone viral,” Herrmann wrote on Sept. 18. “4,000 shares and an article in the Independent Journal. Too funny! BTW, I didn’t actually send the check in. It was just a slam on common core.”

Nonetheless, his Facebook post has now been shared over 25,000 times, and a landslide of disparaging comments about the core standards initiatives closely followed.

Another reason why Herrmann didn’t actually send the check in? Explains the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Meldridge is an elementary school in the Riverside school district, where his wife Marlo is a secretary for the director of curriculum and instruction – the person directly in charge of what standards and teaching style the district uses.”

The “long road” approach in Common Core has spawned numerous witticisms, social media posts and hilarious parent responses. For example, it’s not enough to simply perform a standard subtraction problem. Children must then express the reasoning by way of a sentence, explaining why they know something is correct or not.

Oh the simpler times when we could just carry the one and be done with it!

Remember this gem? An elementary-school age boy brought this problem home to his dad, asking for assistance: The math problem asked “Jack to use the number line below to solve 427-316. Find his error. Then write a letter to Jack telling him what he did right, and what he should do to fix his mistake.”

In response, the dad wrote:

*Dear Jack, Don’t feel bad. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering, which included extensive study in differential equations and other higher math applications. Even I cannot explain the Common Core mathematics approach, nor get the answer correct. In the real world, simplification is valued over complication. Therefore, 427 – 316 = 111. The answer is solved in under 5 seconds — 111. The process used is ridiculous and would result in termination if used. Sincerely, Frustrated Parent.*

Kids like to get in on the bash as well, taking hearty swings at the Common Core piñata with some simple, Spock-like logic.

A second grader was presented with: “Mike saw 17 blue cars and 25 green cars at the store. How many cars did he see? Explain how the number sentence shows the problem.”

The student’s written answer, other than 42? “I got the answer by talking in my brain and agreed of the answer that my brain got.”

Enough said. Common Core or common sense? Common Core… you’ve been checked, and found to be deficient.