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Join the discussion: Is Common Core just misunderstood?

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  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 9:35 p.m.

    All I can say, thank goodness there were absolutely no concern with math programs before the common core. Everything was wonderful, why change?

  • Long Lost America Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    As long as ignorance in these matters is preponderent then the state education leaders and politicians can continue to justify their hiding behind their slippery argument of Utahns are ignorant, not to mention the slippery name game issue of "Is Utah Common Core or did it actually opt out?"
    Hopping both sides of the fence is too easy for anyone in an elected or appointed position that should have held some accountability to answer the hard questions about common core. The fact that the highest levels converse among themselves that Utah is not Common Core while allowing media such as the Deseret News to consistently report that Utah is Common Core (without making valid attempts to correct them) is not just irresponsible it is hypocritical.

  • Long Lost America Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    It is a valid concern to ask whether the standards are too low, and may have the effect of decreasing the quality of education. If schools are now saying "By the 3rd grade, students should be able to___" Fill in the blank. Assuming we are saying they must know how to read from basic introductory reader books, districts will gear their standards and curriculum to get their students on a level that was assumed to happen for first graders of two generations ago.
    The concerns that Common Core might become the de facto curriculum are also valid.
    But the concerns that many are bsing their criticisms based on what they hear and have not researched are also valid. If you have not gone on the state website and perused the 2500 page document, or at least a significant portion of it, you probably do not know what you are talking about.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 29, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    To "Maudine" no. Because you live in a different neighborhood, the needs of the kids in your neighborhood differ from the needs of the kids across town. It isn't a matter of income or the type of neighborhood. The question is the needs of the kids within the neighborhood.

    Just like if you had a neighborhood school that had everything from a trailer park to the million dollar mansions, that school has different needs than a school that has just poor, or just middleclass, or just rich. Why would a school with a deficiency in English want to implement the same standards as a school that is highly proficient in English?

    Schools are like kids, their needs are all different.

    Common Core is designed to make all schools look, act, and be the same. That will ultimately harm many schools because they are not the same because you will either set the standards so high that few kids can pass them or else set them so low that little actual learning goes on.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    @ Redshirt: So, because we are lucky enough to live in a "good" neighborhood, we shouldn't care about other children and just continue to let them be disadvantaged because, hey, the world always needs another burger flipper?

  • JinaYi87 Norman, OK
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:14 p.m.

    @KWL. #1. Contrary to common perception, most engineers are not prolific at math all the time. At the university I teach at (math), engineers do not even take enough math to get a minor. #2. If the math program being used at your school is poor, it was a LOCAL decision to use it. CC does not dictate math programs. It was a local leader who chose to teach math in that fashion.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    @Owen

    RE: "Please, please, please pull a real teacher aside, face to face, and ask questions about the common core"...

    I did (at my caucus meeting awhile ago). They said they had no problem with the curriculum, just with the reporting requirements (so the government and companies can data-mine your children's numbers as they grow up). They didn't like that the data was individually identifiable. Not just irrigate statistics... but they could actually track your child by name and address and decide if they have the early potential to be smart enough for certain opportunities, or if they need companies that tutor in specific areas to contact your child to purchase their services, etc.

    They had no problem with the curriculum (because they already intended to exceed it, not match it). But they didn't like the loss of privacy for young people, data reporting and data mining that goes along with it.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 28, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    To "Maudine" but if you live on the east side of salt lake in a upper middleclass neighborhood, do schools need to work as hard on English language skills as a neighborhood in Rose Park that is filled with immigrants that don't speak English in their homes? Why shouldn't different schools focus on different subjects based on the needs of the community that they serve?

    To "The Educator" both my spouse and I have spent time teaching a classroom full of students. So, I do have experience in the classroom and understand what it takes. Why should we trust a group of teachers that don't fight for the students? Why trust teachers to know what the kids need when the teachers can't identify a child's strengths and weaknesses without a standardized test?

    You speak of needing education experience for understanding how to teach, yet Common Core was written by people with NO TEACHING experience. You should be fighting against CC, rather than supporting it.

    To "Owen" but is isn't isolated to one or two teachers it is systemic. Stanford did a study recently that found the old methods worked better than the CC methods.

  • KWL Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:04 p.m.

    The complaints I've heard about Common Core from parents include math homework for elementary school students where adults can't figure out how to do the assignment--including engineers. Children are expected to use different ways to find answers and are penalized if they get it right but use the wrong technique. Concrete skills are sacrificed for math "concepts." I've read about too many parents with children who were doing well in math who are losing ground under this program and developing a real hatred of math.

    Other areas sound just as bad. Children with learning challenges who were managing under old systems have lost ground in Common Core.

    It's like the story about the eagle flunking the class on tree climbing. He got to the top faster than anyone else he did it in his own way.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:58 p.m.

    Please, please, please pull a real teacher aside, face to face, and ask questions about the common core and it's impact on your locally controlled curricula. When I've done this, the response is positive, especially when compared to No Child Left Behind - an actual federal mandate. The problem with this, and every anonymous comment board, is that anyone can claim to be a frustrated parent or teacher.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:50 p.m.

    @redshirt - you have commented about students' confusion with core concepts several times. I have responded with this comment several times: this is either, a) a local district problem - our math teachers and students have no problems teaching/learning core concepts; b) an individual problem, the student may not be able to keep up; or c) a fabrication to support a talking point.

  • Woodworker Highland, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:31 p.m.

    I have taught in the Alpine School District for over 20 years. My comments come from actual experience. Some teachers like the CC; others do not. I like the idea of having common goals, but this is a terrible program for achieving that. 1) There isn't TIME to cover all the objectives listed in the CORE. I dare an administrator to try and cover the math core with 45 minutes/day. Let's see them teach at a Title 1 school, correct all the homework and then take responsibility for the end of the year test scores. I don't believe any of them has the courage or integrity to even attempt what they load on the backs of the teachers. 2) Common Core wasn't the teachers' idea. We didn't get to say what should be changed or improved, etc. 3) Follow the money trail. 4) The "states" didn't get together and decide the core; it was a limited number of administrators and bureaucrats, not the everyday teachers. Get rid of the Federal Dept. of Education!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 27, 2014 6:57 p.m.

    I love it.... parents that expect their kids to be above what they are supposed to be. Another grand example of exceptionalism. "my kids are special".... in particular, they are much brighter than an inner city kid.

    I got some news for you... there are a bunch of city kids running leading US corporations today... that didn't come from "exceptional" schools. I mean, you wouldn't want you kid from Utah to end up like Don Thompson, who is CEO of McDonalds - a black man who "who was born in Chicago, grew up near the Cabrini–Green housing project. A bright student who started the sixth grade at the age of ten, Thompson, due to the gang violence and crime that began to spread throughout the area in the late 1960's and 1970's, was later moved by his grandmother to live with relatives in Indianapolis, where he attended North Central High School. Thompson is a graduate of Purdue University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1983 in electrical engineering. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Excelsior College."

    Nope - your kids need to be much more exceptional than any inner city kids like this.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 5:53 p.m.

    @2Bits
    You say that you always wanted your kids to read above grade level. But for them to read above grade level, there has to be a way to determine what grade level is. I've read over the common core standards for 2nd grade(my kids in 2nd grade) All it looks like to me is a way to determine what grade level is. For example, second grade common core standards are that you can group objects and determine if there is an even or odd number, solve addition and subtraction word problems, count to 1000 by 1's, 5's and 10's, be able to look at numbers in their number and word form, and determine if they are less than, greater than or the same number. There are similar things(that i'm forgetting at the moment) ALl it seems to be doing is establishing what skills your kid needs to know to be at grade level. I don't know what the fuss is about.

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 5:47 p.m.

    For those who worry that Common Core Standards are not sufficiently demanding, please understand that the core -- whether the Utah State Core first published back in the 1980's, or Common Core -- is a set of minimum standards by which our students will be judged by almost every state and national testing program. Every school in Utah and almost every classroom teacher has offered instruction well beyond the core. They will continue to do so.

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 5:34 p.m.

    What is actually needed is structure, discipline, personal accountability, and personal responsibility. Right now the public "education" system is mostly a tax-funded babysitting service, where the top 10% have parental involvement and are actually challenged to succeed, and most of the rest are just serving their time and going along for the ride. When I was in school in Idaho decades ago, either you cut it or you flunked--and it was YOUR responsibility to decide between the two. There were no nursery or day-care facilities, because it was a SCHOOL, not a day-care center. If you didn't know English, then sorry . . . come back when you do, because English is the language we speak and use, and we don't feel the need to accommodate every living organism on the planet. It worked, and it worked well. It was actual EDUCATION. No new and flashy program is going to take the place of personal initiative. Sorry.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 5:00 p.m.

    It's always interesting to see people like redshirt and 2 bits comment on these issues. Have you ever taught a high school class? Why is it that those furthest from the situation feel a need to weigh in? Trusting in their opinion would be like trusting someone who was a registered nurse and career politician to be state superintendent.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    I don't know about an evil "East-sider"... but definitely was one who always tested as reading way above my grade level (it really wasn't very hard when I was in elementary school, I was always way above my grade level and most kids in my class were, I always assumed it was because kids in some other parts of the country weren't very good readers.

    I always wanted to test above my grade level, and expected the same of my kids. If this new standard is accepted as "what we expect of our kids because it's good enough for Detroit kids)... then I think we are LOWERING our standards.

    I'm talking about Midvalien's statement, "We need all our youth to be educated to a certain level"...

    If we REALLY want all our youth educated to the SAME level... then I want out. Sign me up for Private School!

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 4:12 p.m.

    @ Redshirt: No, I am saying without universal standards, such as Common Core, schools teach different things - and when you move from one school district to another, even though you are in the same state and less than 10 miles away from where you lived before, your high school senior may suddenly find he or she does not have enough credits to graduate because of the differences in what is taught.

    Learning multiple ways to a math problem is not a bad thing.

  • JinaYi87 Norman, OK
    Aug. 27, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    @2Bits. Spoken like a true east sider. It seems that a lot of opponents of Common Core come from affluent, predominantly "white" (and maybe some Asian) areas. I hate to say it, but much of Utah suffers from the problems you proudly excluded yourself from: immigrant population, poverty, lack of interest from child and parent. I commend you for taking interest in your children, but keep in mind that Utah as a whole has education issues that originate at a local level.

    I work as a math teacher and believe me when I say that Utah is horribly bad at math. It is disgusting how bad math education is in Utah. It is filthy filthy filthy bad. If your children are above grade level, you are in the far minority. Utah needs to raise their standards in a big bad way. All of this talk of a "new type" of teaching math is NOT coming from Common Core. It is coming from programs YOUR school (aka, local government) has chosen to use.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 27, 2014 3:24 p.m.

    To "Maudine" what does common core have to do with moving? Are you saying that even with common core what is being taught in the classroom is not the same?

    So does this mean that you agree that the Common Core standards are a failure and result in a poor education at best?

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    @ Redshirt: I have had to deal with it directly - I have also had to deal with moving from one location to another (often in the same general area, such as the Salt Lake valley, and has to deal with my child being ahead of her new classmates if we go one direction or behind her classmates if we go the other.

    @ 2 bits: Yeah, sorry - I've lived on other states - the Utah educational system is not that highly ranked and doesn't really require that much when compared to some other states.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 2:18 p.m.

    @Midvaliean,
    Your comment is right. If this standard is achievable by every student in Detroit, Chicago, and absolutely every city, every student (including those who don't speak English), and every School District in the whole United States, regardless of local or individual strengths, weaknesses, and special needs (high immigrant population, poverty, lack of student and parental interest, etc)... then it probably isn't the right standard for most Utah children who's parents are used to their kids reading and performing ABOVE grade level.

    I would not be happy if my kids were reading and performing at the level of an inner-city disadvantaged student... and that was their teacher's target for them (because that's all the "National Standard" requires)...

    As long as my teachers throw the National Standard out the window as soon as they see that it's WAY lower than most students are capable of... I will be happy.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 1:56 p.m.

    It is funny, most of the people who love Common COre have not had to deal with it directly. They have looked over standards that sound good or else think that nationalizing the standards is good.

    Here is the problem. When you actually have to deal with your kids and their homework that they don't understand because they now have to learn 3 different ways to do a mathematical operation that are each different and confusing, compared to the 1 simple and logical way you learned. When you deal with that combined with your child coming home with assignments where they have more misspelled words than correctly spelled words you begin to realize that Common Core doesn't educate, nor do the kids learn to think out of the box. The standards reinforce thinking with the government pre-defined box.

    Remember the government writes the tax code that is very confusing, do you honestly think that they are capable of writing an educational standard that isn't filled with garbage?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    Why would it be misunderstood? It's from the Government! EVERYTHING from the Government is simple to understand...

    I mean I can't think of a single government program that's hard to understand or implement or misunderstood by ANYBODY... do you?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:40 a.m.

    DN - thanks for shedding some light on this discussion. It has been incredably frustrating seeing people with political motives not at all tied to the core issues here try to hi-jack this into something this isn't.

    This problem of if you don't like what you are hearing from one source, just change sources until you hear what you want to hear is becoming epidemic. There are no corporations making hay with common-core dollars. As said earlier, the issue of text books and their cost has been a problem that long predated common core.

    But people want to be angry, and find a reason why their little look alikes aren't achieving the high expectations they have of them, without looking in the mirror and realizing that the person who can most impact their kids academic performance is looking back at them.

    If it wasn't common core, it would be some other excuse why their kid is under performing.

  • Logical citizen Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    I hope that now that people see that many do not understand what the Common Core standards are nor how they came about, they will actually read about the history of them rather than listening to conservative radio hosts trying to rile people up -- or their similarly uninformed neighbors. These standards were started by a set of REPUBLICAN governors -- so they grew from states' desires, responding to the business community's concerns about inconsistent and outdated standards across districts and states. Then, once the U.S. Department of Education came on board years later to encourage their adoption, all of a sudden people became suspicious. They are basic math and literacy standards, which do not dictate how or WHAT to teach. What a waste of energy while we have hundreds of thousands of foster children in America who need help, kids who go hungry every night, and sick children with no health insurance.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    Common Core is necessary for a country of our size. We need all our youth to be educated to a certain level. My worry is that the bar will be lowered rather than raised in certain situations.
    In addition to our schools, we as parents need to always be diligent in ensuring our children like to learn. You get out of public school what you want. Some people drop out and quit, other attain greatness, yet we all went to the public schools. So we all know that you can get out of school what you put into it. With Common Core adaption this will be no different.
    If the level of learning is below your child, you had better be aware of this!

  • JinaYi87 Norman, OK
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    Until Common Core was brought to the battlefield by those with strict partisan ties, few people gave one wink to CC. Most people did not even know what was being taught in their schools; and moreover they did not truly care. I have read from the standards and they seem to be quality to me. Too bad Oklahoma got rid of them.

    It is a sad fact that in the US most people know next to nothing about a subject, yet listen to vigilantes from the side of their choosing, then vote accordingly. I have heard that the standards are too low from some opponents, then that they are too hard from other opponents. Which is it? Or do you oppose the standards because Glenn Beck says so? The opposition was quoted in the referenced survey article as being that people are misinformed as it allows for cheap and easy recruitment to the anti-Common Core movement. The opposition thrives on misinformation. Do we really want to hop on the bandwagon of misinformation? I support the ideals of Common Core and hope that everyone can actually read the Core, then make a decision.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    Common Core is a set of innocuous standards that encourage students to think a little out of the box. I've read the language standards and they seem perfectly good to me.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:31 a.m.

    Common Core merely states that by the end of each grade level students should know certain facts and how to do certain math functions.

    As far as who profits from Common Core, yes, there are only a handful of companies that provide educational supplies to American schools - but that situation predates Common Core as anyone who has followed the recent text book controversies knows. For all the talk of "local control," local school districts do not write their own textbooks or tests as doing so would be extremely costly, labor intensive, and redundant.

    How Common Core is implemented is up to the individual school districts. (And yes, one if the main proponents of Common Core thinks that each state should only have one school district unless they have a really large city, in which case the city should have its own, but nothing on Common Core promotes or creates that situation.)

  • play by the rules SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:02 a.m.

    Look at who profiteers from Common Core, it's big business. Huckabee would not want big business to get in the way of his business aspirations now would he. I think Common Core is one of those issues where those on the left and those on the right can come together and agree that local control is the best answer rather than huge profits to the corporate sponsors.