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Comments about ‘In our opinion: Common Core’

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Published: Saturday, June 22 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Again, no evidence, just slippery slope fear tactics.

E & EE
Ann arbor, MI

"They [Common Core standards] do not dictate curriculum."

Then why did my brother-in-law's 9th grade math class morph into something so terrible? My wife has never seen my father-in-law so worked up as when he talked about trying to help him with his math homework. He said that if these kids don't have a parent well-versed in math then they'll be sunk in these classes (my father-in-law is a respected engineering professor). And why do 1st grade English workbooks now encourage 6-year-olds to use emotion rather than reason to win arguments?

I have yet to hear anything good about the actual curriculum being used. Specifically in math, Utah students will be years behind other states and nations. Students won't even be prepared to do the math on the ACT until they finish 11th grade. It will be much harder to fit in calculus in high school which is critical for prospective engineers and mathematicians.

I think you'd find considerably less opposition to common core if the resulting curriculum were even halfway decent.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

I'm not sure that I agree that Utah should "sign on".

Standards are necessary so that we can "measure" progress, but who should set those "standards"? What is the role of the Federal Government? Each duty that has been assigned to the Federal Government is listed in the Constitution. I don't see a "Common Core" duty on that list. If a duty is not listed, then that duty is to be left to the States or to the people. The Constitution is clear on whose duty it is to educated our children - it is to be left to the States or to the people.

If we would simply stop looking to Washington as our savior in all things, we could start thinking for ourselves and solving our own problems. Education is a huge problem. Our children are not being properly educated. Washington has no solution. Why look there when those who are responsible to educate our children are here?

one old man
Ogden, UT

EE, perhaps the reason is because your brother in law had not been properly prepared in earlier math classes.

Common Core will help ensure that doesn't happen.

FreedomFighter41
Orem, UT

"He said that if these kids don't have a parent well-versed in math then they'll be sunk in these classes"

Sounds like this child needs to pay better attention during class. Or take on some accountability and go before and after class to get some help. This is one of the problems in America today. Rather than work and stretch ourselves to achieve we would rather just "blame" the system. This is what's leading to mediocrity.

"And why do 1st grade English workbooks now encourage 6-year-olds to use emotion rather than reason to win arguments?"

Please state the common core standard which directs teachers to encourage students to use emotion rather than reason to win arguments.

It's funny that you would bring this up. Because after your post which was lacking severely in facts, it seems like you are really the one who is attempting to use emotion rather than logic.

"but who should set those "standards"?"

Swing and a miss.

If you had read the letter from the President of our Board of Education earlier this week you'd know that Utah is free to adjust the standards.

E & EE
Ann arbor, MI

In response:

The problem is largely with the materials being used and the way they are being used. They're so terrible that many teachers don't know what to do with them. I know that good teachers will be able to succeed regardless of the materials used but teacher quality is not an element of common core so don't waste time talking about it here.

Here are more details: in my brother-in-law's math class they spent four months on the equation of the line. Four months! Completely unnecessary and a waste of time thus putting our kids further behind. Second, the materials used to teach the concepts were terrible. Little to no examples were given. Explanations were confusing and largely useless (to my father-in-law as well who has a very extensive mathematical background). They didn't use common terminology such as "point-slope" form which will leave kids confused in later years. Hard to work with rubbish like this.

Google "1st grade social justice worksheet". It's not a standard but a resulting curriculum.

My other statements are based on Utah's implementation of the standards. I can elaborate more if you wish.

Syd
Salt Lake, UT

@E &EE, The text books are purchased by the district in which you live. The decision on which text is used is decided by your districts text book committee and is in no way mandated by the core, Persuasion and argument writing is a large part of the core but how it is taught lies in the hands of the district and the individual teacher. Also, the math core is a year ahead of where it was. That's not a bad thing. Hopefully we will have fewer college freshman being forced to take math 98 and math 99 and more able to start in math 1010 where they are actually earning college credit.

Syd
Salt Lake, UT

@Mike, Utah has always had core standards, this is not a new thing. What is new is that Utah is now on the same level as many other states rather than a year or two behind. For those of us who have lived in Arizona or other states with a more advanced curriculum, you know what I mean. I moved from Arizona to Utah in third grade and was shocked to find that things such as cursive, fractions and multiplication were only just then being taught when I had learned those things the previous year in Arizona. I was placed in advanced classes, but I still felt like I was repeating most of what I was taught the year before.

tagen22
davis, UT

So far, I've been really unhappy with the changes made. My daughter has gone from loving school to being so drowned in homework she cries at least once a week about how overwhelmed she is. I find it really odd how they have changed so much of the math terminology, as well. When I help her with her math homework, a lot of times I will need to do an internet search to remind myself of how to do certain things before helping her. Now when I search, all I get are links to full common core pamphlets. It's made it much harder to help her. Many other instructions are incredibly poorly written and confusing.

School should absolutely challenge children, but if it becomes too overwhelming for their ability we're going to be seeing many more children just dropping out.

If Syd is correct that we need to increase our standards to keep up with other states, it still isn't a good idea to try to cram two years into one to the point of crushing children's love of learning.

tagen22
davis, UT

An additional comment to those stating that these standards are necessary to get kids college ready by graduation: I went to school here in Utah, aced my ACTs, and subsequently took the required College Algebra and an additional class in Trigonometry, receiving easy As in both. The problem isn't that sixth graders aren't learning advanced enough math. At least one of the problems is motivation.

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