Comments about ‘Critical thinking a hallmark of Common Core class’

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Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31 2013 4:50 p.m. MST

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Salt Lake, UT

critics — mainly tea party-aligned conservatives. Well of course! Who else will fight the scourge of evolutionists and scientists if we teach our children not WHAT to think, but HOW to think? How to differentiate fact from fiction?

Starting Point - Learn to tell the difference between fact and fiction
“when puzzled, it never hurts to read the primary documents—a rather simple and self-evident principle that has, nonetheless, completely disappeared from large sectors of the American experience." - Stephen Jay Gould

READ - "The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True" (Critical Thinking Skills)

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

Funny my son graduated last year. He only attended schools in the Alpine School District. He memorized his times tables and learned how to do long division as assigned by his teacher and supported by us at home. He also learned math through the investigations math program. It is an excellent program when done correctly. He got the best of both worlds. He scored a 31 on the ACT with the math portion being at 34. He was a bit weaker on the english portion.

I've been nothing but happy with the math he has learned in the ASD. There is a reason the ASD scores at the top of almost every test given in the state. I'll take the education my son got here in Utah over just about anything else I have seen.

By the way my son was accepted to BYU and received several scholarships based on his math and science knowledge. He earned enough to cover at least the first 2 years of school.

Not bad for supposedly attending a district that some claim to be teaching math incorrectly.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@BYUalum – “… frustrated by some of the content in Common Core especially in Math. I find a lot of ambiguity, gobbledygook, and unnecessary pages and pages of explanation of a simple concept and strategy!”

Is that the fault of Common Core or a poorly written text book?

As a former teacher I can say that students who more completely understood the concepts behind the operations were far better at handling unfamiliar complex problems down the road – and life (and most jobs) is filled with complex problems that do not look exactly like a quadratic equation (but need the same “cognitive muscles” to solve them).

@Oak – “Under Common Core, we now SLOW DOWN math and complete algebra by 9th grade so most students will only get to pre-calculus by 12th grade.”

This may be a good thing for most students, especially those who will not use high level math on a daily basis in their future jobs (see above comments). They will be served far better by thoroughly understanding the basics rather than moving too quickly into advanced math (calculus) before the foundation (algebra) is firmly set.

Rhonda H.
South Jordan, UT

For any of you who think this is about right-wingers complaining about federal control but being OK with micromanagement on the state level...
The people I know who are against federal involvement with education are also against state micromanaging education, as well. It's not about right versus left; that's something someone made up to pit us against each other. It's about finding the right spot between anarchy and tyranny, where liberty can be maintained.

One of the teachers quoted in the article stated, "We need some sort of evidence that they're learning," to justify extensive testing. Nearly half of all American households today have at least one person relying on government entitlements.
I'd say that's a pretty strong statement against how we've been taught. We don't need near-constant testing to see if they're learning.

East Carbon, UT

I find it hard to believe that Utahan's of all people don't see what Common Core is.. it is to dumb down our children and grandchildren. Unless we all wake up we will soon be a communist country and everyone of our freedoms will be gone!

Mamma C

For those who don't know much about Common Core, please know that it's not about what is in the standards, but about how they are governed, that is the danger. They are governed not by Utahns but by unelected D.C. groups who have copyrighted the standards and retain the right to alter them as they see fit without input from the states. Arguing about the standards themselves is akin to listening to a sales pitch about the quality of the chairs on the Titanic. Doesn't matter if they're made of pure gold. They are on a doomed vehicle. For Common Core, the doom is in the governance, not in the standards themselves. Look for yourself: the official Common Core website says the standards are a "living work" that will be changed. It also says that the "sole developers" are the CCSSO and NGA, who copyrighted the standards. They have authority over them. Not the state of Utah. That's why it's unconstitutional and must be opposed. Look at the framework, not at the temporary picture inside.

logan, UT

There is no evidence that Common Core (CCS) will do anything it has claimed; no empirical data, pilot test or study to verify claims that the standards will improve learning. In a recent interview at Harvard Bill Gates , CCS biggest architect and briber, (using 5 billion dollars to push his liberal agenda) said the following about CCS “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade. It is unbelievable that something so secretive and experimental has been adopted by Utah Educators. Common Core is not about standards, college readiness or critical thinking. These are buzz words and smoke and mirrors. Common Core is about control, money and power. Can we have reporters perform real investigations instead of regurgitating what the media elite dictate? It is time for journalists to do their own homework. Scrutinize who’s behind CCS. The main architect, David Coleman, refers to children as “Human capital needed in order to fill the needs of the managed economy”. I think educating individuals with local control not federal is more important. My children are not for sale. No test or standard can determine the worth of my child.

JJSullivan Sandy UT

One need only read liberal educator, Diane Ravitch's blog to understand that standards opposition is not mostly "tea party patriots." But, the focus should be on the intentions of the standards creators, not who opposes them.

Achieve Inc. is the policy group that facilitated the creation of the standards, and used their relationship with the National Governor's Association (State Governors) and Council of Chief State School Officers (State Superintendents) to coordinate education reform in States. Their founder, and the former CEO of IBM, Louis Gerstner, admitted in his Dec. 2008 Wall Street Journal article that his intention was to throw national standards together and use them to dismantle local control over education.

The architect of Common Core, David Coleman, admits that he was part of a "collection of unqualified people" who created the standards. He now heads the College Board.

Rather than using this series to convince Utahns of the integrity of the standards, it would be advantageous for journalists to help provide the Due Diligence and Due Process that Utah taxpayers have been denied by our State Board. Help vet the goals of the standards creators, along with the four other reforms in 2009 Federal Stimulus.

Steven S Jarvis
Orem, UT

I would suggest those who are upset go and read the common core standards. They are standards of the minimum proficiency level students are expected to learn. Schools and teachers choose how to meet those standards so the control is in the hands of local people not the federal government.

If you want to get upset about something involving the federal government telling Utahns what to do, get upset about Day Light Savings. That is true government control that the State of Utah should finally do away with.

Stafford, VA

Common Core, as simply explained -- in this case, teaching critical thinking -- is hard to argue with. I might even go a step further and say we should teach the Platonic Method (i.e., scientific method) throughout.

The problems: 1) Much decision about what constitutes critical thinking is controlled by government bureaucrats with a particular viewpoint; .... leading to ...

2) Often when some one tells you (at College/University or earlier) to "think critically" and challenge your basic assumptions," they really only mean to challenge YOUR OWN or your PARENTS basic assumptions --the principles you grew up with. They (academics, etc.) often get very upset if you challenge THEIR basic assumptions. They don't say, as Elder Uchdorf said last October, to "...doubt your doubts..." at least as much as anything else. It's often very one way.

If the critical thinking is presented so that it "cuts" in ALL directions, I would favor it actually.

But also -- there are some things where memorization (in ADDITION to critical thinking) is appropriate. Multiplication tables, etc., are examples -- some things need to be in your head in order to speed processing.

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