Common Core should be a guide, not a mandate

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  • clutch VERNAL, UT
    July 18, 2012 10:09 a.m.

    I challenge anyone who is concerned with the Common Core to actually READ the standards and then try to find something objectionable. I appreciate the effort to ensure that my children don't come across a teacher that teaches only what they like to or what they are most comfortable with rather than what my student needs to know.

  • Mamma C HEBER CITY, UT
    July 10, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    Great article. The commenters don't seem to understand that Common Core mandates that we under legally binding documents, Utah not add anything beyond 15% to what Common Core national standards dictate. Commenters don't seem to understand that the federal government dictates that we synchronize tests nationally and give status updates and collected data to the feds after our kids take the high stakes nationalized tests. Google Cooperative Agreement and SBAC. You will read that 8 page document that ties us, hand and foot, for yourselves.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    July 10, 2012 9:07 a.m.

    Oh my goodness, people don't understand the definition of an educational standard. I will post one here for an example:

    "Students will write informational and literary text to reflect on and recreate experiences, report observations, and persuade others."

    Let's look at this for a minute. Does this standard dictate what experiences, observations, or persuasions the student should use in the writing? Does this outline how the teacher is to teach this standard? No, there is still a lot of room for creativity in teaching to this standard.

    I think too many of us are letting misinformation cloud our opinions of this matter.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    July 9, 2012 3:50 p.m.

    Champions run alone. To make a common core is to take away individual creativity and make sheep of our students. They will follow a central authority.

  • I teech two Bountiful, UT
    July 8, 2012 9:55 p.m.

    ...Oh, and as for the editorial: of course you want a checkpoint (though as mentioned, it would be better as a course-level rather than a grade-level checkpoint). If I just taught my students what they felt like learning we would skip a lot of important subjects that are necessary for the next class.

    My sixth grade teacher wasn't very comfortable with math and so we didn't do it much. When I tried to take Algebra as a 7th grader I had to work extra hard to figure out the things I was supposed to have been taught. Being pretty gifted at math (toot-toot) I was okay, but if I as a teacher just skipped something like graphing lines because it didn't fit the personalities of my students, their Algebra II teacher would be furious.

    We should have uniformity in the skills of our graduates. Otherwise our diplomas become unreliable as a statement of what someone can do. Imagine your certified RN saying they couldn't give an intravenous injection, because their class was creeped out by needles so they skipped that unit.

    If we follow Lynn's opinion, our diplomas will become worthless.

  • I teech two Bountiful, UT
    July 8, 2012 9:42 p.m.

    As a math teacher, the common core means to me that when I have a student who moves from Virginia and who says they were taking Algebra, I will now know what they were being taught in Algebra. Before you had no idea what was in an Algebra class in various states.

    My frustrations are A) we have little to no support in place for this new core, as in no textbooks - meaning teachers are being left to come up with not only the lessons, but all of the practice problems as well. And B) students are now being assigned to math classes by grade and not by ability level. There are honors options available, but I have many students whose skills are more advanced than even the honors courses, and I have many who are going to be put into a class that is one or two levels above where they should be... and there's nothing really in place to help those students that fail. The district math people keep throwing out the phrase, "You don't catch someone up by moving them slower," but dragging them doesn't work either.

  • Peter R Provo, UT
    July 8, 2012 9:01 p.m.

    @azamatbagatov, education is rightly within the rights of the states to regulate, per our constitution, whether you like it or not. If you'd bother to look at the educational systems of the countries ahead of us (look up the program for international student assessment results, released every three years since 2000), you'll see that some are federally regulated (e.g., China) and some are locally regulated (e.g., Finland).

  • Peter R Provo, UT
    July 8, 2012 9:00 p.m.

    What a disingenuous article by the author. As a former educator, she should well know the difference between standards and curriculum. The common core is not a curriculum at all, but a set of standards, goals as it were, to hold our students to. You can use direct instruction, investigative approaches, or whichever curricular approach you like to try and accomplish that standard.

    The "common" in the core refers to a set of standards commonly adopted by many states. These standards were not put together by the feds, but instead by sets of educators who saw a common need across many states. In fact, this opens up a world of potential new materials as some states (e.g., California) only allowed materials shown to align with their state standards. Materials are now going to be used that adhere to the standards adopted, and created by, many states.

    Claiming that adopting a shared set of standards somehow dehumanizes teaching is misleading. I seriously question the author's motives in writing this article as more tied to her authoring several books on educational reform than concern for students.

  • azamatbagatov Lehi, UT
    July 7, 2012 3:02 p.m.


    I guess the countries that are beating us in math and science all have local agencies deciding what standards they want to use.

    Oh, wait, no they have a national system of standards. If we leave it to local districts to decide a student that moves from the Canyons district to the Granite district may be way ahead, or way behind, depending on each districts,

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    July 7, 2012 1:11 p.m.

    Lets see, 25 kids.... how much would the charge be for daycare for 25 kids? About $200 or so per kid - 25 x $200= $5000 a week.... multiplied by about what 40 weeks with summers off.. $200,000 per year.

    Add in some conservative rhetoric about the free market always being correct and I can conclude that teachers are definetly NOT overpaid. The market has spoken.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 7, 2012 8:29 a.m.

    'azamatbagatov' is good example of wanting to do things out "good intentions".

    The government takes power, then more ans more ans more power, that is what government does. that is what government has always done.

    The department of education was created for imposing standards, and then to it tie wealth redistribution to them, and to take local control away from locals and parents, and control what is taught to your children.

    just look at the more and more red tape and regulation that parents must go through to home teach their own children.

    Do we need standards? yes.
    Do we need federal government imposed standards? NO!

    Our children were taught quite well before the left wanted federal government involvement and control, and look as what that has done to education and loss of control we have over our schools.

    If you want to improve our education system, then get government out and let education system and communities do what they do best - educate their children.

  • azamatbagatov Lehi, UT
    July 6, 2012 8:02 p.m.

    Standards have to be set in education. If not, what is the point? It seems like anymore people are so stuck on making kids feel good about themselves, instead of being stuck on what is good for them. If a student in 6th grade can't read above a second grade level, why should they be allowed to move forward? Because of the social aspect. This is a disservice to the student, and the education system that is tasked with teaching this student the same thing as students that are on grade level.

    If we didn't have standards with which to measure student achievement, then let's just hand out diplomas to everyone when they turn 18.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 6, 2012 6:45 p.m.

    We can NOT have federally imposed standards,

    the federal government will always tie federal dollars to them.

    More to the point, education is a local and community thing and the federal government should just stay out it is not their place.

    We do not need nor should we have the federal government's nose in everything.

    While their may be good intentions, you know where to the road is paved with good intentions.

    You need to have more than good intentions.

    We can have excellent education without federal government imposed standards.

  • KingTrent LAYTON, UT
    July 6, 2012 4:39 p.m.

    "Do we really want students to become uniform in knowledge and skills?"

    I would have to answer a resounding 'Yes' to that. I definitely want all students to have competent reading, writing, and math skills. Beyond that we can individualize, but really what a silly question. I don't know if I'm completely for or against the common core, but I do think there are certain standards that are imperative that all students have.

  • Steven Harper Salt Lake City, UT
    July 6, 2012 2:33 p.m.

    CCSS = Common Core State Standards. "Standards" are neither curriculum nor pedagogy. These standards are a necessary upgrade. They include a vision of shared, cross-curricular standards never imagined in Utah's version, Mr. Mero.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 6, 2012 10:36 a.m.

    This is an odd article. The people who developed common core were not "far removed," they were schoolteachers themselves! And what good teacher doesn't already know that she teaches children, not subjects, regardless of the curriculum?

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    July 6, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    Lynn, I usually agree wholeheartedly with your editorials -- I still have one about vouchers that is pinned to the board next to my desk. But, in this case, I think you hit just off the mark.

    Standards are not a bad thing to have. They give us something to aim for and check off. Utah has had standards and objectives for years. Your statement, "It specifies what all students should know and be able to do at grade-level check points" tells us what is good about the core.

    Your outrage should be directed more about how we know when these standards have been met. Your very next statement reveals the true problem that has existed since NCLB was begun, and continues and even grows now: "It pressures teachers, with excessive testing, to make students fit the curriculum. The testing draws forth low level teaching by trying to measure student growth in likenesses."

    It's not the standards that we need to get rid of; it's the expensive, time-consuming/wasting, productivity stopping, not-really-testing what it-say's-it's-testing, soon to be several times a year, TESTS.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 6, 2012 10:07 a.m.

    The point is, with or without federal dollars the CC allows Utah parents, teachers and students to set goals as high as they would like. The opinion writer's and Mero's statements that having common standards or federal $ somehow hampers local districts are scare tactics.

  • Paul Mero Sandy, UT
    July 6, 2012 9:17 a.m.

    The author has it correct. Take away the federal dollars from CC and you have...well, you have better standards that Utah educators and parents and students would create and achieve on their own. Lacking other rational arguments, it's clear that CC is ALL about the money.

    July 6, 2012 8:57 a.m.

    Providing teachers a list of WHAT should be taught at each grade level and then allowing them to decide for themselves HOW to teach it is providing guidelines. You want teachers to teach whatever they want? If a teacher is not strong in geography, it's okay to skip it? Thank about what you're asking for.

  • Sikeli Herriman, UT
    July 6, 2012 7:37 a.m.

    "All students can learn" is the mantra buried into every teacher. A common core provides a backbone on which good teachers can buil. A a science teacher, knowing how far e lag behind the rest of the world in education, the common core is a resource that helps me be a better teacher while helping prepare my students for their tomorrow. It is my duty as a teacher to do this. The core is not what is in my way, it lights the path. It is the parents that think their precious darlings can do no wrong, therefore I must do something different for them that turn off the lights. Trust me to know how to teach my students. That is what I have been trained to do.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 6, 2012 12:35 a.m.

    Yet another opinion based on misinformation and spreading misinformation. The Common Core Standards are a guide -- not a mandate. The standards are designed to do exactly what this opinion suggests -- set the floor with the sky as the limit.. The only people confused are those (like this writer) who refer to the "Common Core Curriculum" or "Core Curriculum." There is no such thing. The curriculum is set by local schools and individual teachers.