Wow finally someone with the guts to call a spade a spade. I hope the
legislature stood up and took notice of the part where it is pointed out that
they are sometimes merely pawns to these groups that hide behind well sounding
principles but are really more a part of the problem than any meaningful
solution. As a teacher in Utah I welcome measures which will make me a better
educator and my students more prepared to face a modern workplace. Change is
always hard but change happens whether we ask for it or not. Do we not realized
how by rejecting what has been adopted by 45 states plays into other's
notions of us as a state being impossibly close minded and extreme? A child
moving in from other another state will now be better positioned to pick up
where they left off. A Common Core insulates educators from such groups as those
mentioned in this article. Those that throw rocks from the sideline with no
vested interest in public education in the first place. A bit ironic that theirs
is the shrillest voice heard. Thanks for the article. It took guts.
I’m going to make a wild assumption here, but here it goes…..Those who are AGAINST Common Core have never lived anyway else besides
Utah.The fact is, By having every State do their own thing,
And then having every School District within every State doing their own
thing --- As a parent, How can I assure my child’s
education will be consistent when work and travel requires 100’s of
Millions of America’s to move about the U.S. of A.?You
can’t.Hence a real need for standardizing education at the
Federal level.To assure Colleges and Universities, Businesses and
Foreigners – that a degree from one High School of College amounts to the
same level as another.
Owen, My facts and sources and your facts in the parking lot after school. Are
you up for it?
Last try:"1. Why does a non Utahan have to control 85% of what
is being taught in our Utah schools?" Utah decides what Utah teaches.
Wasatch High decides what Wasatch High teaches. See today's Trib for an
explanation of the process. "2.The numbers on the cost analysis are
puzzling, yea even astounding." Our district (Wasatch) is not spending one
additional dime - unless you count the wasted time district employees are
spending answering attacks. "3.The data collected by a federal
employee and others deemed worthy, is individualized to an uncomfortable point
(for me). (i.e. behavioral info, financial info and family info)" There are
strict controls in place, and districts can only share data they (not feds or
others) collect, which does not include the things you list. Your financial and
family info is already known (tax returns and census).
Dear JB, There are so many solutions other than Common Core to solve our
education problems. We can imitate the Massachusetts standards, which are/were
light years ahead of Common Core standards (before Mass adopted Common Core). We
could engage the best minds from state and outside the state, universities, etc.
to write OUR OWN standards that take from the very best but leave out the worst
of the CC standards. We could, at very least, withdraw from Common Core until
it's been PILOTED on the rest of the nation for five years, and then
decide. The anti-common core movement is not to be blamed for politicizing
education; common core is, by definition, an "Initiative" and is
politically, contractually, based. IT is the problem. Freedom and
self-determination is the solution. Texas and Virginia are still free from
Common Core. Study why and you'll understand so much. Texas rejected Common
Core because it would cost 3billion to implement while lowering their math
standards. Virginia created Sequences of Learning, which works better than
"If this isn't about curriculum than (sic) does the state or any local
school board have the freedom to teach something that isn't in the
standards if they feel like something in the standards is inadequate or
inappropriate?"Yes!! There are no lesson plans or suggested
reading lists in the standards - they are benchmarks. Please read them.
Individual states and local schools who have adopted the standards are already
teaching (curriculum) whatever they deem appropriate to meet the standards. Some communities think Reagan's inaugural address meets the
"informational text" standard; others satisfy it by teaching the
nation's founding documents; still other communities choose MLK's
speeches. In other words, local adaptation and control. Hopefully
they will raise the bar above these minimum standards. .
So this isn't about curriculum. There is no need to spell out what the
words curriculum and standards mean, I am aware that they are two different
things. Tell me why if this has nothing to do with curriculum is the State
wringing their hands on how to pay for the new textbooks that Common Core will
require. If this isn't about curriculum, why have we also contractually
accepted the testing requirements, something that every teacher knows directly
effects what is being taught in the classroom. If this isn't about
curriculum than does the state or any local school board have the freedom to
teach something that isn't in the standards if they feel like something in
the standards is inadequate or inappropriate? Don't parse words and say
that curriculum is separate because we all know that the standards dictate the
curriculum.To make my point clear, I have nothing against the
standards themselves, I have an issue with the outsourcing of responsibility to
those who have no vested interest in our children.
After rereading this article and comments below I have had a change of heart. I
see this article is better than the period ending it. So I scratched off
Taking over the world and Stop government takeover, off my bucket list…
Apparently I can’t go to Henderson Nevada, no work there because they are
ready for fear mongers and they would see me coming. And now I am left
with only 3 show stoppers of fear. They just so happen to be about cc. 1.
Why does a non Utahan have to control 85% of what is being taught in our Utah
schools. 2.The numbers on the cost analysis are puzzling, yea even
astounding.a.I believe teachers could use a little help and it is not
paying for tests. 3.The data collected by a federal employee and others
deemed worthy, is individualized to an uncomfortable point (for me). (i.e.
behavioral info, financial info and family info). (My family might be crazy
but we still want to go to college)Solve these and you got yourself a
convert to reality. Solve just one of these and I will burn my Ray Bradberry
The John Birch Society and Fluoride poisoning our minds in Utah.
Hum...considering the mental state of the right wing, maybe there is something
@ Anissa - a conspiracy theorist is someone who believes somethng is the result
of secret manipulation rather than known facts. this describes perfectly how
almost every opponent of the common core starts a discussion.@ Mamma C -
Neither CK or anyone I've heard speak about CC claims it is the answer to
all problems. Standards inform curriculum but do not determine it. Hence, the
difference in the way core subjects are taught across the nation and even within
states, destroying your "no local control" argument. @ Bounty
Hunter and Mamma C - Please name a single "right" you have lost. The
burden of proof or a claim falls on accuser, not on the accused.@ BobDean
- Not "that everyone else is doing it," but instead that most states are
finally trying to coordinate on doing something to compete in th real world.@ truth - please read the article again for a discussion of the speciic
"arguments"@ formetoknow - again, not about curriculum, which is
varied and local
People are confusing standards with curriculum. The Common Core is a set of
standards or goals that all students are expected to reach within a specific
school year. Here's an example of a fifth-grade reading standard found in
the Common Core:"Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or
stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story,
drama, or poem."Did you notice that this standard does not say a
thing about which stories should be used to teach this concept? It is still up
to the state, school districts, school administration, and individual teachers
to determine the curriculum they will use to meet this standard. While a lot of
fear is being spread about the Common Core, we are still not losing local
control in regards to the curriculum we will choose to teach our students.
@EJM: I don't disagree with the idea that the state education system is
micromanaged. The micro management however focuses on petty issues, more suited
for the political arena. They have been unnecessarily handsy with public
education, which makes the decision to adopt Common Core even more confounding.
Why would they want to be so specific with sex education and yet adopt a
curriculum that they haven't seen? They may have had a chance to review the
standards now, but the decision was made to adopt the standards before they were
even completed. So yes I believe that they are outsourcing our children's
education, something that I would think everyone would be opposed to.
The author is guilty of exactly what he is accusing the opposition of, i.e.,
"trying to influence the curriculum...the battle is on to control
legislators...." In fact the author sounds a lot like what Obama is trying
to do to Romney - make him look guilty of ulterior motives and a radical in
order to discredit him instead of listening to his legitimate concerns.
@formetoknow: yours is one of the few letters/statements I have ever seen on
here accusing the legislature and the Governor of "wash their hands of
importance of teaching our children". Our state's education system is
one of the most micromanaged systems in our state. You have legislators who, as
an example, required our students to take the old UBSCT test as a step in the
graduation process but refused to take it themselves. They have tried to ramrod
through school vouchers when the voting public told them time and time again no.
Senator Stephenson, and others like him, want to"starve the beast".
Choosing to accept without question curriculum they have not seen? They have
seen the standards and they know when they have met a mountain they should not
Is there something that has leached into the water in Heber City? As
a very ambitious student at Wasatch High 10 or so years ago, I never went
without an opportunity (within or outside of the curriculum). My PUBLIC SCHOOL
teachers were and remain as my greatest role models. Jones is right. This is a
fear thing-- I can almost hear the panting. Take a deep breath and get real.
Think back on your own education at any level. You learned as much from the
experience as you learned from any teacher. The culture in public school fosters
that growth and experience without sacrificing academics. The biggest problem
facing our country today is polarization in politics. Issues like this make
things worse. Let the teachers do what they get underpaid to do.
Regardless of who the messenger is the message that the State of Utah and local
school boards should do everything thing in their power to retain control of
curriculum. This is not about standards this is about ceding our responsibility
to bureaucracies that have no local interest. My questions are: Why is it that
Utah or any other state, must contractually agree to the standards? Why
can't we look at them, like them and use them or change them to suit our
needs, without contractual acceptance of the whole ball of wax? Most
importantly, why are the State School Board, the Legislature, and the Governor
so anxious to wash their hands of importance of teaching our children, choosing
to accept without question curriculum that they haven't even seen?
I find it odd that the people who support common core, attack groups and
indviduals and NOT their arguments, and coall thme names lie
"fearmonger"We have extreme leftests here that reject any
argument from any conservative or conservative group just based on fact they
they are conservative!And then they mock them severely t and name
call them to try and minimize the conseravtive opposition..So who is
really spreading ignorance and fear (for conservatives and their ideas) just
to impose a bad program and everyone.Conservative have come up with
great arguments, and serious concerns, what has the left got say?We
don't more head-in-the-sand-support from the left-wingers.Anything the imposes a one size fits all answer is bad and dangerous.It
is extreme socialism, even communism, to impose social equality at the expense
of the loss of local control, individual freedom and responsibility, but that seems to be the answer for everything from the extreme left, in
healthcare and now in education,and if an argument comes from the
right or a conservative attack and destroy the individual or group.How about listening for once rather than hating the messenger?
Mr. Jones - Thank you for having the courage to share your opinion. It is not
easy to do so when the people against this are not afraid to lie, bully and
attack character. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I have been very
suspicious of the groups that are against the common core. I have done a lot or
research and discovered that most of the "facts and research" being sent
out by the groups against the core are gross misrepresentations of the truth. I
hope our legislature learned a lesson from the sex education bill veto and Rep.
Wright losing his re-election bid. This very vocal group does not represent the
majority of Utahns. The core is not perfect, but it's a start toward
improving educational standards. We need to work together with our school
districts and legislators to ensure the common core continues to work for our
For some pathetic people, fear is the only thing they have going for them.
As a current high school teacher, I think I am one to be able to see the
difficulties of common core. In the last three years, I have had to redesign the
three classes I teach each year. Any teacher knows that rewriting your lesson
plans is not an easy task. Especially when you are attempting to get kids to
learn things on an exit test you have never seen. This only gives me the
opportunity to research more, read more, and become a better specialist in the
subjects I teach. I had a student this past year that had to retake the same
class, wasting time, money on materials, and a desk space in my room because
common core was not yet practiced in my subject area. She was bored relearning
the same things just because she moved and was attending a new high school. I
believe Mr. Jones has this right, and that Utah will benefit from this great
program which has its focus in the right directon, the children. It allows
teachers and students to be flexible and adapt to the ever changing "real
Amen to this article. I am a teacher. No one says that the Common Core is the
answer or a perfect system. But its standards are a good start. Critics
don't want to cooperate with other states, but at the same time don't
offer any real solution to improve the educational system. Utah does well with
what we have, and I take offense as an educator to be attacked by those who
criticize the system that we are working so hard to improve.MammaC: What
is your solution??? What can we do better??? The reality is that it is
program designed by teachers, not politicians or bureaucrats with an agenda. Its
not perfect, but it is good, and its a million times better than No Child Left
Behind.Stop complaining and realize that we all want what is best for our
children. Stop politicizing programs that are in place to strengthen education,
especially until you have something to replace it with.
Issues like this are on my short list of things I don't miss about living
in Utah. It's so nice not to have to wonder whether the legislature is
going to waste time (taxpayer $) trying to send messages or placate a tiny
constituency. Thank heaven there's at least one school board willing to
stand up to the loud, but self-righteous few.
CK Jones, great article. You just get it. Lehi Mom's final
paragraph is right on point as well. Let me add to the end of her paragraph.
"Do you ever consider that you might be part of a very small vocal minority?
YOU ARE!" This is why I will never move my family to Utah. Even
though the majority of it's citizens share most of my beliefs, they also
add a whole new meaning to the term, CRAZY!
@Mamma C and Bounty Hunter. Your comments are exactly what the article is about.
Scare tactics. Specifically what “rights” and “freedoms”
are being taken away by having educational standards in common with other
states? Local school districts will still approve curriculum and
budgets. Individual teachers will still decide how to achieve goals. Nationwide
testing and data have been in place longer than most of us have been alive. How
else would we have constant stories about how the states compare to one another?
And what personal information do you think your local school would share that
isn’t already known by the state or federal government – besides
test scores and grades that are already shared? Finally, we are more
conservative than any state. Virtually everyone you accuse of undermining our
“rights” is as conservative and wary of the feds as you. Do you ever
consider that you might be part of a very small vocal minority?
What is not based on reality is any legitimate research or basis for the many
claims made by those who support the Common Core Standards. Incredibly, the
biggest reason given by governors, state school chiefs, and school board
members, including CK Jones, for adopting the CCSS is that everyone else is
doing it.There certainly is a conspiracy to have national standards
in this country. That conspiracy was not hatched by the federal government but
the federal government is certainly complicit in that conspiracy by way of
requiring adoption of the CCSS by states seeking Race to the Top funds, and by
funding the national assessments that will measure state progress on the CCSS.
The CCSS are not about higher standards or increased learning as
claimed. They are about taking away local control and giving it to unelected
and unaccountable people who have their own agenda. The CCSS have legions of
supporters like CK Jones who believe it must be a good thing because everyone is
doing it.Supposedly the CCSS will increase the ability of students
to think deeply; an incredible claim when you consider the CCSS have been
adopted using the shallowest thought process imaginable.
This was the best piece I have read in the Dnews in a long time. Well said my
friend. Our schools are better than ever and we get that with the worst funding
in the nation. Anyone that has complaints about Utah's
education system needs to go live in another state for a few years and realize
what a bargain we are getting. The teachers here are amazing and
dedicated to what they are doing. If you, as a family, put education as a top
priority, your child will be very successful and totally prepared for college.
Believe me, I know. I have lived in other states and we have it
better than anywhere else I have lived.
Speaking of Mony Python and the Holy Grail, dear LDS Liberal, there's also
a scene in which the knight is being slaughtered, limb by limb, and the whole
time, he insists it's "just a scratch." This reminds me of those
with their heads in the sand, believing that the fact that Common Core's
lopping off local educational freedom, autonomy, and rights to privacy over
student data, are "just a scratch" on the armor of the Constitution,
when really, we are losing limbs we can't afford to lose.
The Conservative extremeists like those mentioned in this article - Eagle's Forum, Sutherland Institute - as wll as many many others
here in Utah kind of reminds me of that scene in Monty Python and the Holy
Grail.The one where the ignorant village people are making up ridiculous
stories accusing an inocent young girl of being a Witch.Facts,
reality, logic mean abolutely nothing to them -- They somehow got
it so ingrained in their heads to burn a witch, if they don't have
one, they'll make one up!Silly...
Contracts are signed now, words are penned. We are out of the
conspiracy’s theorist’s imagination here, this not a trending a fad
in fashion at issue, these are your rights and they are hard to get back. At
the end of the day, do we have more rights or fewer rights with common core?
The answer is already signed and approved by the Gov. At this point, the burden
of proof is on Gov. and school boards to explain these statements of how they
“believe” common core does not take rights away. Those same leaders
will have to explain how they even considered this.
CK: when it comes to the Eagle Forum and the Sutherland Institute conspiracies
abound. That is their agenda. When you can promote fear rather than solutions
you will always get your 30 seconds of airtime and 15 minutes of fame. I was
just hoping that people would finally realize this.
The writer, like many, unfortunately, assumes Common Core will solve our huge
education problems; the common standards raise only some areas, while they lower
many. Mr. Jones cites Obama's support of Common Core as the main thing
opponents have against it; not true. Binding governing documents of Common Core
make the loss of local control to consortia and feds extremely clear.Jones is right about Common Core not being a federal curriculum and not being
initiated by the Dept of Education; but the feds now do control both. The test
system of PARCC/SBAC is run by the authority of the Dept. who gave PARCC/SBAC
its grant to write the tests. High stakes tests and common standards DO
determine curriculum, even if that curriculum wasn't selected by those who
control the tests/standards.And the standards are not amendable by
Utah; they're under NGA copyright. No matter how smart the NGA is, should
we trust our educational future to that group, who has not even given us an
amendment process should we disagree with a strand of the common standards?So yes, local control is gone, and that's no conspiracy theory.
These women you talk about ARE NOT conspiracy theorists. You may not agree with
them, but they are not making this up, they have proof/evidence to back them up,
what does USOE have? I thought that you Chad were a much more upstanding and
good person, but this shows me that you are listening to one side and not the
other side. It is very evident that you are not the kind of person that I would
elect to represent my children and it makes me (along with reading your
wife's communications back and forth) that your wife should not be in her
position either. This is not a popularity contest, these are our children's
lives.School Board members are voted in by the people to listen and
to actually do their own homework on issues, our board has shown that they do
not do their homework on many of the issues placed before them. When a board
passes a budget that they do not fully know what is contained, when they only
read an abridged copy...they ARE NOT doing their homework and they are NOT
representing the citizens.
People capable of believing in one provably untrue story (the biggest in Utah)
find it easier to ignore contrary evidence and believe in a whole range of
conspiracy stories and theories.