Comments about ‘George F. Will: Opposition to common core surging as skepticism takes hold’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 16 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Heber City, UT

"Progressive agenda" brought to us by Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie? George Will is funny.

"The rise of opposition to the Common Core illustrates ... healthy aspects of today's politics. ... new ... technologies enable energized minorities to force new topics onto the political agenda." Even more laughable.

The second most unhealthy aspect of today's politics (after unlimited, anonymous money) is that vocal, misguided less-informed minorities can use social media and aging, frightened talk-radio listeners to drive some topics (Benghazi, Common Core) onto the political agendas -- crowding out things that matter. Like Romneycare and NSA spying, Common Core was born in the Republican Party which now opposes it because the current president thinks it's a good idea.

Pleasant Grove, UT


It is a mistake to assume that all progressives are Democrats. Common Core is folly, no matter which party its proponents belong to.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

George needs to head back to Logic 101 at Oxford. This column is just one big exercise in the "thin entering wedge, slippery slope" fallacy. I'd expect more from an Oxford educated "rhetorician." Our schools have been designed around national testing for generations now, but it hasn't led to 1984 yet. If anything, people are more tetchy than ever--so much for everyone thinking alike.

Heber City, UT

@nate - being a non-democrat progressive, I've never made such an assumption. But Common Core has nothing to do with a "progressive" agenda , as Will states. It was conceived by conservatives and is still supported by many moderate conservatives. Including teachers throughout Utah, demonstrably the most conservative state. You will find some ideological teachers who agree with Will/Beck/you. But the vast majority don't recognize it as the "progressive" federal takeover it's being sold as by talk radio. And it may not work, but it's replacement won't come from folks who complain without offering alternatives.

South Jordan, UT

Why does this have to devolve into finger-pointing and blaming? Why can't we just have a discourse on the merits and demerits of Common Core? Are it's pros/cons a function of who happens to support it? It's insane that we form opinions based on which pundits or politicians are for or against something. That is a lazy man's way of coming to a decision without having to go through the actual process of thinking.

Providence, UT

George Will, bright guy that he is, shouldn't make the mistakes he does in this column.

Common Core, like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, is a response to the poor results in many states in national and international assessments. We had plenty of warning that things were going sour here in public education, the Carnegie Foundation's A NATION AT RISK (1983) providing it. The response, typically American, has been to "fix the problem" with legislation and initiatives, poorly funded when funded at all, instead of first seeing what nations that have been regularly passing us by have done. In every case, national planning and commitment have been behind success, and securing the best, brightest and most classroom-worthy teachers part of the problem-solving.

Despite what you might be hearing about the money that is poured into education in the U.S., we're still not attracting and retaining enough great teachers in our classrooms. Not all states are equal in ability to fund and produce excellent results, K-12, and until that's changed, we never will. Utah is a perfect example.

Northern Utah, UT

As a teacher, there are aspects of the common core that I like. However, it does not review material. A child is expected to learn it and know it! No review time is put into the model. Children are not machines, nor products. Each child is more like a painting. It takes time and effort to make a beautiful painting. It also takes time and effort to teach children. No two children learn the same way, yet Washington expects it to be so. I think that Washington should get out of the education business and let those of us in the trenches to our jobs within the confines of our own communities.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

I just reviewed my sons math homework this last week. It was the first time I had done so under the new utah core curriculum. This curriculum matches the curriculum approved by the Dept of Educations standards to qualify for the waiver from NCLB.

The math curriculum is awful! but the question is can UTAH change the math curriculum? NO. unless it wants to go back to NCLB. That will never happen and the Obama admin will not allow any changes to the curriculum they have approved.

So much for this being a great program!

Heber City, UT

Hammer: Something doesn't add up. Neither the Obama Admin or the Dept. of Education has approved a curriculum. The Common Core is a set of standards. A school's/district's curriculum may be awful. If you have a problem with the way math is taught in your school/district, take it up with your school/district. Our teachers/district is doing a great job.

I just reviewed my son's math homework this last week. It was the first time I had done so under the Utah Core Standards. Our district's math curriculum is great!

See how easy it is?

Saint George, UT

The bizarre "Washington knows best" mentality is once again represented by Common Core, or in other words, "You are incapable of thinking people" mentality, so we have to do the thinking for you, ala The Grand Inquisitor! When enough people recognize that they are capable of running their own lives, rather than the government fascist business complex, Common core will go away. Until then, the natural pillaging of labor and mind control techniques by Republican and Democratic Kingmen will continue. The quenching of freedom of thought and expression in Common Core has been couched in terms so amiable that the Easter bunny would wag its tail and flap its ears.

Steve Cottrell
Centerville, UT

There are very few major changes in the math standards from what Utah teachers wrote 15 years ago. The only significant difference that I can see is that there is a better integration of algebra concepts and geometric concepts, particularly at the secondary level. Those are changes, that with the exception of the US, almost every country had in place 25 years ago.

To the teacher who was unhappy with the lack of review, that's a classroom or school or district decision and has nothing to do with the standards -- either from 1983 or 2014.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

Once again the Common Core is nothing more than a set of standards.

There is no program, book, worksheet, or method of teaching included.

It is a set of standards.

That is all.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

I know little about Common Core (but wholeheartedly agree with joe5’s approach) so I won’t weight in the merits or lack thereof.

That said, I have to comment about George Will, someone I used to respect a lot for his intellectual rigor. In the last few years there’s every indication that he might be suffering from split personality disorder. He still can produce well-reasoned and logically tenable opinions with all his usual flair for language.

But lately we’re seeing more and more pieces like this – reactionary at the core, lots of red meat buzz words for the far-right base, and a dose poor logic thrown in to boot. I don’t know if this truly is the result of a disorder or if he’s simply reached a point in his career where he often just phones it in.

In any case, it’s a sad Brett Favre-like ending to what was an otherwise distinguished career…

Steven S Jarvis
Orem, UT

@teacher mom

Common Core is NOT an instructional model. It is a series of standards to meet. The States define HOW the schools are to get there and to a greater extent the teacher does. Craft review into your instruction. You are supposed to do that anyway.

Ogden, UT

The standards of the Common Core are not the problem so much as the costly and ridiculous amount of testing that is the result of the CC implementation. If we spent that money on more teachers for smaller class size (and yes, I believe the SLC school that was lately heralded used its money for smaller class sizes) instead of buggy computer programs that will be proven unreliable, we would be much better off.

Lehi, UT

I find much of the content in the language arts standards useless. These standards and objectives will not help my students become better readers or writers. Many of the standards are fluff, in my opinion.
At my school it has gotten to the point where teachers get in trouble if they deviate from what other teachers are teaching in an attempt to individually tailor education to our students' needs. Everything has to be common. We are desperate for academic freedom.

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