Don't let arrogance overshadow real Common Core issues

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  • Mamma C HEBER CITY, UT
    May 8, 2012 2:13 p.m.

    10 things about Common Core:
    1. SBAC Cooperative Agreement: federal government is in total control. See G.E.P.A. law.
    2. Compare USOE's flier with one teacher's rebuttal, w/links to evidence (
    3. CC Validation Committee members refused to validate standards. Dr. S. Stotsky, Dr. J.Milgram, Stanford Prof. Michael Kirst, Ze'Ev Wurman...
    5. Find a cost analysis on Common Core. There isn't one. No taxpayer or legislator input.
    6. CCSS standards can't be altered by us. This is like chaining us to a fridge we didn't stock and being told we're free to eat, and we can order 15% more, but we can't eat anywhere else, ever.
    7. Parental consent laws altered to "address barriers in state law".
    8. A $9.6 million ARRA grant built database for academic and non-academic data about families.
    9. Standards written in 2010. Utah adopted them in 2009.
    10. USOE lawyer verified there's no amendability for standards + said: "Why would there need to be? The whole point is to be common." L. Castle, top USSB member: "I have always understood that it is the principle of "equality" not "freedom" that was the guiding principle of our constitution... you continue to reference freedom over equality..."

  • Paul Mero Sandy, UT
    May 4, 2012 9:20 p.m.

    Dear Highlandmom, taking the advice of others isn't the issue, even if your comparison amuses me. My commentary addressed how all of us might be able to de-politicize the issue and my feeling that this goal will be difficult due to the arrogance of the public school establishment, among other things. So though your point is irrelevant to not only what I wrote about, and also to anything remotely important to creating a better understanding of this debate, yes, I'm just enough of an intellectual snob to be amused. BTW, the issue of "local control" isn't about advice, it's about control. No reasonable person has an issue with outside advice for betterment while keeping local control. The specific contention, it seems, is giving up local control of education no matter who gives us good advice. And, if you're curious, my broader concern with all of this has as much to do with standardization, which I think is a horrible educational idea based on horrible social and pedagogical assumptions about the purpose of education, as it is anything. (Oh, yeah, and ALEC is a great organization!)

  • Highlandmom American Fork, UT
    May 4, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    Mr. Mero, I'm not sure what the source of your "amusement" was as I am not part the the "education establishment" or did I argue that the Legislature violated principles of federalism. I questioned why you view the development of the Utah Common Core Standards as being any different than what the Legislature does. If I understand correctly, you argue its okay for the lawmakers to accept draft legislation written out of state and pass it off as their own work when, in fact, it was written by the secretive ALEC organization, which is not disclosed, because this is "using the good ideas and expertise of others" but its not okay for the UBOE to "us(e) the good ideas and expertise" of the NGA's Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers to help draft Core Standards because it "doesn't feel local." I call that a double standard and yes, you are very good at coming up with any excuse to try to prove your point. . .even when it doesn't.

  • Paul Mero Sandy, UT
    May 4, 2012 10:08 a.m.

    Re: Highlandmom...I'm always amused when the education establishment argues that the Utah Legislature violates the principles of federalism and subsidiarity because it "butts into" the business of public education or municipalities to decide their own business. The Utah Constitution and state form of government is a curious workmanship: the Utah Legislature was granted supreme authority in the state...the schools, cities and towns are subsidiaries of the state, which is governed by the Legislature. The same simply cannot be said about the constitutional relationship between the federal government and the states.

    I'm also amused at the latest conspiracy theory (this time from the Left) about ALEC. Even if your theory is true, there are vast differences between using the good ideas and expertise of help draft bill language and using governmental authority to bind the education of Utah's the political (and monied) agenda of others.

    There's an old expression: when you need an excuse, any one will do.

  • Highlandmom American Fork, UT
    May 4, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    "Education is traditionally a local issue, and Common Core — whether driven by a consortium of states, by the federal government or both — doesn't feel local."

    Interesting premise, Mr. Mero, considering the preponderance of education legislation that has been passed by the Utah Legislature in the last decade would appear to be ALEC "model" legislation that is not "local." Why is there no conservative push back for this "nationalizing" of education. Even the concurrent resolution passed by the Legislature regarding Common Core wasn't written "locally." It came from ALEC. If national conservative legislation is good enough for Mr. Mero, the Sutherland Institute and other Utah conservatives, then they may have to accept what they call "nationalized" public policy.

  • travelrus murray, UT
    May 3, 2012 7:58 p.m.

    Mr. Mero your artical screams of your own arrogance. The Common Core Standards are for the betterment of all students in our state.

    "The Utah Core Standars in language arts and mathematics are based on a state led effort to better prepare students to compete in a gobal economy. The federal government did not participate in the creation of the standards, and they are not federally controlled. Utah parents, educators, and subject-area experts participated in the creation of the Common Core State Standards. The standards do not tie Utah to any federal programs, grants or assessment systems".

    Stop with the I'm a conservative and your a liberal, this is only about what is best for the children of Utah and their education.

    I think it is shameful that you and other organizations have turned this into a politial issue.

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    May 3, 2012 4:19 p.m.

    It is important that the local community (parents and teachers) go through the process of creating their own standards instead of "bestowing" them from on high (which means ironclad mandate). Going through that process builds the ADULTS who will be teaching the children - whether at home or at school. It helps the adults, who will have the most influence on the children's lives, to have to decide what is most important, etc.

    It also builds buy-in to the curriculum. The more you force teachers to teach certain things, the less they put their own "zest" into it. Indeed imposing a curriculum can cause teachers and parents to rebel against it.

    The worst thing for perpetuating a free society is to have the government come in and do it all. The more we push the decision making to the local level the more we build people who are capable of governing themselves. THAT is the only way to perpetuate a free society.

  • piccolo Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    Mr/Mrs Noodlekaboodle,

    Please see Sutherland Institute's report entitled "NCLB: Selling Utah's Schools for a Mess of Pottage." While written just a couple years ago, it outlines the many reasons Utah should opt out of NCLB.

  • Noodlekaboodle Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2012 2:42 p.m.

    Here is what bothers me about this. Where were these guys when George Bush implemented NCLB, which has many of the same problems that Mr. Mero has with Common Core? I don't disagree with some of the reasons for disliking these programs. I just hate that there is only a difference in what conservatives and liberals say. When they are actually governing there is very little difference. So all you get is partisans (Like Mr. Mero) who only complain when it's a liberals poorly laid out plan, but conservatives get a pass for doing the exact same thing. If this paper actually had any liberal articles I could complain that they are too partisan, but there are no examples in the D news for me to reference.

  • Paul Mero Sandy, UT
    May 3, 2012 2:09 p.m.

    I believe Martin Blank articulates the liberal view better than I did in this article. Thank you, Mr. Blank.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    May 3, 2012 12:45 p.m.

    Oh! There was

    * cooperative learning
    * wholelistic learning
    * new math
    * common core learning
    * etc.

    Equalizing people into cooperative groups, doesn't work. Independence, freedom, and creativity are lost. How many times do we do the same thing, and watch the educational level of our citizens decline?

  • Martin Blank Salt Lake City, UT
    May 3, 2012 10:26 a.m.

    What a specious argument this is. Beginning with the strawman that Mero builds about what liberals believe about education, and ending with the ludicrous notion that "local control" is the panacea that will solve our education problems, Mr. Mero has absolutely no credibility.
    Does he mean to suggest that it would be a good thing for parents to locally control the school curriculum in, say, Hildale? A curriculum that teaches that Warren Jeffs is God's prophet, that government exists to "bleed the beast"? Or that local control would be a good thing for parents in Park City to promote a much more liberal sex education curriculum than is currently taught in the rest of the state? Please. What he posits that "conservatives" believe about education is fantasy. The reality is that a free primary education is one of the best things about America, and pragmatists, on either side of the aisle, realize that even those without parental support need access to education (indeed, probably need access more than those with parental support). Disparaging the Common Core because we didn't come up with it is petulant hubris. Learn to live with your neighbors, Mr. Mero, and work with them.

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    May 3, 2012 8:03 a.m.

    Excellent article! Not only should we NOT adopt Common Core, we should reject ALL federal controls and funding of education. Utah can do better without that standardizing, downward effect. As a teacher, my students and I would be much better off by reversing all national controls and court rulings of education.