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Misinformation or monopoly of thought? Common Core opponents, supporters square off

Published: Friday, Aug. 2 2013 2:20 p.m. MDT

Of the protesters around him, Harper said he was concerned about the loaded language they used – phrases like "leftist," "socialist" and "marxist" were common – and the misinformation they perpetuated.

"This is so retrograde," he said, gesturing over his shoulder to the painted "No Common Core" signs behind him. "This is backwards and we need to move forward."

Ellis said she appreciated the time parents were given to make comments to the board and speak with Menlove. But she said she would continue to push for an open debate, moderated by a third party, where parents could make their concerns heard.

On Thursday, the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, an organization comprised of professional societies in mathematics, released a statement praising the math standards of the Common Core and lauding the foresight of states who had adopted them.

"If properly implemented, these rigorous new standards hold the promise of elevating the mathematical knowledge and skill of every young American to levels competitive with the best in the world, of preparing our college entrants to undertake advanced work in the mathematical sciences, and of readying the next generation for the jobs their world will demand," the statement read.

The Utah Council of Teachers of Mathematics similarly released a statement last month expressing support for the standards. The council noted that adopting the Core is a massive undertaking that naturally places stresses on teachers during the transition period, but encouraged the State School Board to continue its support of the Common Core.

"Implementing the Core Standards has been challenging, but we view the effort as worthwhile – one that will lead to higher levels of college and career readiness for our students," the UCTM statement said.

Holdaway said he felt no progress had been made by Friday's discussion. He said the questions posed by opponents were effectively the same concerns that have been shared since 2009 and that the answers given by Menlove and other educators continue to fall on deaf ears.

"I'm dumbfounded that (they) are still opposed to setting standards that are common as a nation and then letting states decide what the curriculum in those states are going to be," he said. "I'm bewildered by it."

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com, Twitter: bjaminwood

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