This debate over Common Core is a distraction to what needs to be done to establish education excellence. Utah can become a leader in education if it is willing to (1) establish a comprehensive early education program; (2) Provide an accountability program based on external educational effectiveness standards and audits; (3) Utilize a peer evaluation system based on criteria that includes effectiveness results; (4) Provide teachers with the freedom to personally select teaching methods, assessment measures, instructional materials and use of time. It is the best way to establish accountability. Our schools should operate free from arbitrary uniform standards, legislative control (other than to determine what is to be learned) and political interference. Then we can have schools of excellence with Utah as the exemplar in public education leadership.

M. Donald Thomas

Salt Lake City