Comments about ‘Politics, misinformation feed Common Core debate, education official says’

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Published: Tuesday, April 17 2012 3:11 p.m. MDT

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Carolyn Sharette
Sandy, UT

This article mentions that misinformation is a major piece of the anti-common core position, and I agree. I am responsible for 3 public charter schools in Utah and these improved standards (the CCSS) are a GREAT step forward for Utah schoolchildren.

As a charter school, we have been able to teach to higher standards for the past 9 years. We chose the Core Knowledge Sequence for our content sequence, and our parents always ask us "why don't the public schools teach to this level"? And the reason has always been that our state standards determine what teachers are to teach and they are doing their best, but the state standards are too low.

I applaud the USOE for quickly adopting these new, greatly improved standards (the CCSS). Students will benefit immediately. We are not "locked in". We do not receive money for implementing them. The language arts standards are measurably better than Utah's previous standards. In math, it may be more of a "toss up" but the new standards are in no way inferior to our prior ones and will allow for continuity from state to state.

Carolyn Sharette
Sandy, UT

Once we adopt the CCSS, if we find the results are not what we hope for, we can get to work developing even better standards. There is nothing stopping us from doing so.

As we watch the achievement gap grow in Utah, and as we recognize that our children are not learning to read at rates that are breathtaking, it is so discouraging to me to see that we are unable to focus on "what is best for kids". There is a real emergency, and that is the achievement gap. We must stay focused on teaching students successfully and not allow false and "sky is falling" "emergencies" such as the fight against the CCSS to distract us.

Carolyn Sharette
American Preparatory Schools

Oak
Highland, UT

Funny how the state office accuses others of finding their information on blogs. I guess the CATO and Pioneer Institute/think tanks are just blogs now. I guess a former Utah appellate judge reading the actual documents the state signed and stating that we've entered into contractual obligations is just a misinformed parent. I guess State Superintendent Larry Shumway just misspoke stating on Rod Arquette's show March 6, 2012, "Well, I’m bothered by things I hear the secretary [of education Arne Duncan] say in speeches and the President say in speeches where they take credit for these standards. And I’m bothered by the Department of Education making requirements that are associated with these standards. They’re not their standards, and so that offends my sensibility and it pushes against our states’ rights of sovereignty in public education." Oh, but they are making them their standards and they did fund the assessments. Anyone concerned should sign the petition at utahnsagainstcommoncore dot com.

Steven S Jarvis
Orem, UT

I am very surprised that people would sign a 'Christmas tree' petition asking for Utah to reject 2/3rds of its educational funding per student. How on earth do they suppose we pay for education if we cut out the federal dollars? We are already last nationally.

joeyslaptop
VANCOUVER, WA

Just remember, if you get stuck with a crummy mandate like teaching your kids about homosexual/alternative lifestyles, etc. it's a lot easier to shoot it down at the state or local level than it is at a national level. Nationalizing education standards, and funding it at the national level gives the Federal government more power than it should have. It would be very easy for a small special-interest group to get awful stuff mandated, and very tough for someone going through proper and honest channels to get it changed back.

Don't sell your birthrights and liberties for a mess of federal pottage. The state can survive on its own.

Owen
Heber City, UT

Here we go. Yet another attempt by a small, misinformed special-interest group to send the Feds a "message" that will end up costing us and our children. The irony here is the common core development was driven by the states precisely because they were fed up with federal efforts. And it's totally voluntary. And teachers like it because it's flexible. And local school boards like it because it leaves them in control. It will be a shame to watch this discussion be driven by political agendas rather than what benefits students.

Oak
Highland, UT

Ms. Dickson said opposition is "perpetuated by blogs instead of factual data" yet denies the facts. State Superintendent Larry Shumway gave Rod Arquette (KNRS radio show 3-6-2012) this reason for writing a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan during the legislative session where Common Core was getting some attention for violations of state sovereignty: "Well, I’m bothered by things I hear the secretary say in speeches and the President say in speeches where they take credit for these standards. And I’m bothered by the Department of Education making requirements that are associated with these standards. They’re not their standards, and so that offends my sensibility and it pushes against our states’ rights of sovereignty in public education."
It's time we all woke up and had a good discussion about the documents. The waiver we just filed with the feds to get out of No Child Left Behind obligates us to fully use Common Core in Attachment 4. We've just shifted our funding mechanism from NCLB to CC. This is just getting started.

Steven, federal dollars only make up about 10% of our education budget, not 2/3rds.

News enthusiast
Orem, UT

There are two issues with Common Core. 1) Political power, 2) Mediocre standards

Anyone who hasn't seen a shift in power from the local level to the federal level hasn't been paying attention. It's done first by promising unfunded benefits (who would be stupid enough not to take free money!!), second by requiring "minimum standards" for funding (we must ensure "fair" and "equitable" distribution), and third by higher taxes. The cycle perpetuates itself by those in political office seeking power and those who "fairly distribute" these funds from those looking for a money grab. Anyone who has read the fine print knows that Utah has now signed up for federally-mandated curriculum. Note that many states have NOT jumped on this bandwagon. This is the "core" problem. Remember the maxims, "nothing in life is free", "you pay [a price] for what [freedoms] you get".

News enthusiast
Orem, UT

Utah continues to accept mediocre K-12 education, which is perpetuated by those claiming our system is "better" (at 51%) than average, and "improving" (at a painfully slow rate). My company off shored tens of thousands of jobs for lower labor costs. The first or second reason (depending on the country) for keeping these jobs off shore is the shortage of an educated workforce in the US.

Our teachers teach to minimum standards set by administrators. Although lagging students should absolutely be assisted in achieving their greatest potential, so should our top achievers. Our society's movers and shakers are created from the top 5% of students.

I'm not disparaging teachers. I fault the parents of this state for not being more directly involved in their children's education. I frequently work in states around the country, and in other countries. The parents I work with do not accept "average" education for their children. Read the news. States from Texas to Florida, and even labor-heavy states like New York and Michigan are making radical changes AND improvements. Our state must work harder and make smarter decisions if our children are to compete.

Owen
Heber City, UT

By all means, let's have a discussion based on facts. However, in just the last few weeks the rhetoric on this subject has spiraled out of control in Utah. In my own community, neighbors have gone from "needing information" to writing letters and blog posts about the eventual need to spill blood to regain our "rights." Seriously.

Condoleeza Rice. Chris Christie. Mitch Daniels. Jeb Bush. Ring any bells? All supporters of adopting the common core standards, which, again, are fully voluntary and locally adaptable.

We have the nation's most conservative legislature and state school board. Those who seriously think that in an election year they would risk "our rights" should spend all their extra energy volunteering in the schools instead of activating their phone trees. If, after seeing our public schools in action, they still aren't satisfied, they have options for their own children.

mommaof7
Heber City, UT

You may be surprised to hear this but when I and another mom met with our superintendent to ask for his help in getting our questions answered regarding Common Core; our Superintendent said that he could do nothing. He has to do what they tell him to do. We told him that we’d talk with the school board then because they represent us. He told us they don’t represent you anymore. “We have no control”, he said.

mommaof7
Heber City, UT

“WestEd which is an arm of the US Department of Education has asked for some that are in that (ADP) to come together to create some common standards. All is coming to a peak moment with the stimulus package for national common standards.”

In one meeting Brenda starts off by saying this is moving forward more rapidly because the NGA and CCSSO had received money to create CCSS.

And talking about all of the organizations willing to write the standards (ACHIEVE, ACT, etc…)
“they’re all willing to do this for free but ONLY if we sign on by Monday – but no pressure there” – Brenda Hales

jtp626
Centerville, UT

When I was introduced to the common core during registration,I knew nothing about it at the time.It was explained to me that it was a wonderful new program that was just adopted and now if my child had to move to any of the other 26 states that had adopted this common core curriculum she wouldn't be left behind..she would be right where she left off.The first thought that came to my mind was, great,now all the nations children will learn the exact same curriculum at the exact same time and no one will ever be smarter than any one else and no one will be less smart.We will graduate a nation of children who all know the exact same things.I don't care how high the standard is or how low the standard is.This IS Federal control of education standards .We have to be able to let those who excel be challenged and those who have difficulty have access to something other than special ed.Increase educational standards, yes. Do it by way of the Federal government mandates, no.

Mamma C
HEBER CITY, UT

The USOE's focus solely on the standards is like focusing on not messing up your nail polish while the house is burning down outside the bathroom door.

Standards have only temporary value or meaning without political freedom.

And, Common Core doesn't give Utah money; it costs Utah money. We never got any extra funding or grants when we adopted it, and never will. States who rejected Common Core (Texas, Virginia, etc.) are still getting federal educational dollars.

Mamma C
HEBER CITY, UT

Since when does moving Algebra I from 8th grade to 9th grade represent RAISING educational standards? Since when does marginalizing classic literature in favor of info texts create rigor? I feel that the USOE is lying.

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