Critical thinking a hallmark of Common Core class

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  • Sequoya Stafford, VA
    Jan. 5, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    Common Core, as simply explained -- in this case, teaching critical thinking -- is hard to argue with. I might even go a step further and say we should teach the Platonic Method (i.e., scientific method) throughout.

    The problems: 1) Much decision about what constitutes critical thinking is controlled by government bureaucrats with a particular viewpoint; .... leading to ...

    2) Often when some one tells you (at College/University or earlier) to "think critically" and challenge your basic assumptions," they really only mean to challenge YOUR OWN or your PARENTS basic assumptions --the principles you grew up with. They (academics, etc.) often get very upset if you challenge THEIR basic assumptions. They don't say, as Elder Uchdorf said last October, to "...doubt your doubts..." at least as much as anything else. It's often very one way.

    If the critical thinking is presented so that it "cuts" in ALL directions, I would favor it actually.

    But also -- there are some things where memorization (in ADDITION to critical thinking) is appropriate. Multiplication tables, etc., are examples -- some things need to be in your head in order to speed processing.

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    Jan. 2, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    I would suggest those who are upset go and read the common core standards. They are standards of the minimum proficiency level students are expected to learn. Schools and teachers choose how to meet those standards so the control is in the hands of local people not the federal government.

    If you want to get upset about something involving the federal government telling Utahns what to do, get upset about Day Light Savings. That is true government control that the State of Utah should finally do away with.

  • JJSullivan Sandy UT ,
    Jan. 2, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    One need only read liberal educator, Diane Ravitch's blog to understand that standards opposition is not mostly "tea party patriots." But, the focus should be on the intentions of the standards creators, not who opposes them.

    Achieve Inc. is the policy group that facilitated the creation of the standards, and used their relationship with the National Governor's Association (State Governors) and Council of Chief State School Officers (State Superintendents) to coordinate education reform in States. Their founder, and the former CEO of IBM, Louis Gerstner, admitted in his Dec. 2008 Wall Street Journal article that his intention was to throw national standards together and use them to dismantle local control over education.

    The architect of Common Core, David Coleman, admits that he was part of a "collection of unqualified people" who created the standards. He now heads the College Board.

    Rather than using this series to convince Utahns of the integrity of the standards, it would be advantageous for journalists to help provide the Due Diligence and Due Process that Utah taxpayers have been denied by our State Board. Help vet the goals of the standards creators, along with the four other reforms in 2009 Federal Stimulus.

  • baseballmom1 logan, UT
    Jan. 2, 2014 1:38 p.m.

    There is no evidence that Common Core (CCS) will do anything it has claimed; no empirical data, pilot test or study to verify claims that the standards will improve learning. In a recent interview at Harvard Bill Gates , CCS biggest architect and briber, (using 5 billion dollars to push his liberal agenda) said the following about CCS “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade. It is unbelievable that something so secretive and experimental has been adopted by Utah Educators. Common Core is not about standards, college readiness or critical thinking. These are buzz words and smoke and mirrors. Common Core is about control, money and power. Can we have reporters perform real investigations instead of regurgitating what the media elite dictate? It is time for journalists to do their own homework. Scrutinize who’s behind CCS. The main architect, David Coleman, refers to children as “Human capital needed in order to fill the needs of the managed economy”. I think educating individuals with local control not federal is more important. My children are not for sale. No test or standard can determine the worth of my child.

  • Mamma C HEBER CITY, UT
    Jan. 2, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    For those who don't know much about Common Core, please know that it's not about what is in the standards, but about how they are governed, that is the danger. They are governed not by Utahns but by unelected D.C. groups who have copyrighted the standards and retain the right to alter them as they see fit without input from the states. Arguing about the standards themselves is akin to listening to a sales pitch about the quality of the chairs on the Titanic. Doesn't matter if they're made of pure gold. They are on a doomed vehicle. For Common Core, the doom is in the governance, not in the standards themselves. Look for yourself: the official Common Core website says the standards are a "living work" that will be changed. It also says that the "sole developers" are the CCSSO and NGA, who copyrighted the standards. They have authority over them. Not the state of Utah. That's why it's unconstitutional and must be opposed. Look at the framework, not at the temporary picture inside.

  • Abbygirl East Carbon, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 11:40 p.m.

    I find it hard to believe that Utahan's of all people don't see what Common Core is.. it is to dumb down our children and grandchildren. Unless we all wake up we will soon be a communist country and everyone of our freedoms will be gone!

  • Rhonda H. South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 11:05 p.m.

    For any of you who think this is about right-wingers complaining about federal control but being OK with micromanagement on the state level...
    The people I know who are against federal involvement with education are also against state micromanaging education, as well. It's not about right versus left; that's something someone made up to pit us against each other. It's about finding the right spot between anarchy and tyranny, where liberty can be maintained.

    One of the teachers quoted in the article stated, "We need some sort of evidence that they're learning," to justify extensive testing. Nearly half of all American households today have at least one person relying on government entitlements.
    I'd say that's a pretty strong statement against how we've been taught. We don't need near-constant testing to see if they're learning.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 1, 2014 10:22 p.m.

    @BYUalum – “… frustrated by some of the content in Common Core especially in Math. I find a lot of ambiguity, gobbledygook, and unnecessary pages and pages of explanation of a simple concept and strategy!”

    Is that the fault of Common Core or a poorly written text book?

    As a former teacher I can say that students who more completely understood the concepts behind the operations were far better at handling unfamiliar complex problems down the road – and life (and most jobs) is filled with complex problems that do not look exactly like a quadratic equation (but need the same “cognitive muscles” to solve them).

    @Oak – “Under Common Core, we now SLOW DOWN math and complete algebra by 9th grade so most students will only get to pre-calculus by 12th grade.”

    This may be a good thing for most students, especially those who will not use high level math on a daily basis in their future jobs (see above comments). They will be served far better by thoroughly understanding the basics rather than moving too quickly into advanced math (calculus) before the foundation (algebra) is firmly set.

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 10:01 p.m.

    Funny my son graduated last year. He only attended schools in the Alpine School District. He memorized his times tables and learned how to do long division as assigned by his teacher and supported by us at home. He also learned math through the investigations math program. It is an excellent program when done correctly. He got the best of both worlds. He scored a 31 on the ACT with the math portion being at 34. He was a bit weaker on the english portion.

    I've been nothing but happy with the math he has learned in the ASD. There is a reason the ASD scores at the top of almost every test given in the state. I'll take the education my son got here in Utah over just about anything else I have seen.

    By the way my son was accepted to BYU and received several scholarships based on his math and science knowledge. He earned enough to cover at least the first 2 years of school.

    Not bad for supposedly attending a district that some claim to be teaching math incorrectly.

  • Michael_Haskins Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 9:22 p.m.

    critics — mainly tea party-aligned conservatives. Well of course! Who else will fight the scourge of evolutionists and scientists if we teach our children not WHAT to think, but HOW to think? How to differentiate fact from fiction?

    Starting Point - Learn to tell the difference between fact and fiction
    “when puzzled, it never hurts to read the primary documents—a rather simple and self-evident principle that has, nonetheless, completely disappeared from large sectors of the American experience." - Stephen Jay Gould

    READ - "The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True" (Critical Thinking Skills)

  • Michael_Haskins Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 9:14 p.m.

    " students are being asked to think more critically " - This does not bode well for religion. But it is fantastic for our future.

  • Gertrude in Utah Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 7:36 p.m.

    I've spent a lot of time in my 1st grader's classroom. I've noticed that the math and LA lessons are scripted--now seriously, how is that teaching? Kids are individuals, not little robots. I also observed that the teachers do not have time to go back and reteach a student who is struggling. How can this be good for the kids? My own daughter struggled with the math. She would come home completely lost, and I would have to reteach her the entire lesson. I fail to see the point of sending her to school anymore if I'm going to have to spend most of the evening reteaching her the material.

  • principles over emotion BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 7:09 p.m.

    Those who have done their due-diligence know the real issues with Common Core are not as much about the standards, as the intent of the outcome and the connections. People who think for themselves, understand local control is threatened. They don't believe that all teachers, parents and administration should be forbidden to see any of the questions or the answers of their own students on computer adaptive tests. Thinkers do not want their personal identifiable information to be gathered and shared with the NSA. Thinkers understand that Common Core critical thinking is like telling someone to think, without giving them something to think about. Real thinkers want their children to be truly educated, not just socially engineered and prepared to get the job that a few big businesses have designed for them. They want their children to be free, self reliant and thinking citizens, who understand the free-enterprise system and the miracle of America! Ask questions! Find evidence!
    Don't just trust, VERIFY!

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 1, 2014 6:23 p.m.

    Many government programs have been used for education.

    Now, half our people are on welfare, and must be fed by the feds. We have become dependent on skilled workers from other countries.

    The term critical thinking has been over used, and our education is a flop.

    Common Core is just another expensive program that won't work.

    An example.--Has Head Start reduced the amount of people living in poverty? It's an expensive baby sitting program.

    Let local areas do their own education. Government can't even balance a budget, let alone be responsible for teaching math to students.

  • Grandma Char Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 5:49 p.m.

    This part of the article is untrue: " The standards are not a curriculum, despite the opponents' claims." If the standards don't come with curriculum to meet the standards, then why is a Utah studies teacher teaching about global warming and telling his class "I don't agree with this, but I have to teach it."

  • trueconservative Northern Utah, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    As an educator, I like a lot of the new standards that common core has implemented. However, I don't feel that old methods of memorizing are outdated. (China and India don't teach these new methods, and they outperform our students! With that being said, I feel our state is lacking what Texas and other states have done in accountability. In Texas, students must pass off a certain set of these standards to move up a grade. In Texas, students are expected to graduate with a certain knowledge base. In our state, if a student is behind, they move up to the next grade regardless. They don't really need to know their times tables in 3rd because it would be "too hurtful" of a child's self esteem to hold them back or hold them accountable, for that matter. The whole reason Utah children fare as well as they do on government testing is because of the high number of two parent households, and the prominent values of this state.

  • A Man, Not a Male Syracuse, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    How old school does it: 29+17 = 46 common core: 29 = 20+9 17 = 10+7 so now take 9+7=16.... and 16= 10+6 So 20+10+10 (from the 16) = the 6 left over = 46... I can't wait to see what they do with calculus!

  • sillyschmidts Orem, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 1:40 p.m.

    I think it's impossible to form an opinion about Common Core without hearing opinions from both sides because then you aren't really seeing the truth of the issue just what people want you to see. To really SEE the truth of Common Core I had to talk to people on both sides and more importantly experience what REALLY goes on in the class room. MY findings are that this country is headed towards Socialism especially in the Education Department. Believe it or not, like it or not, our children are being taught (indoctrinated) by the Federal Government. For the future of our children and our Country please wake up Parents and take responsibility for educating your children, YOUR CHILDREN, not the governments. Common Core is only the beginning. There is only the truth and lies and you either accept the truth or all that garbage that they are trying to pass off as the truth. I think many parents really are good parents and just accept what they are told about this issue with out truly finding out for themselves because if they really knew the truth I know they would be appalled.

  • A Man, Not a Male Syracuse, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    Wow...obviously the way I and generations of folks where taught wrong....wait...if the people that are coming up with common-core where taught do we know their "right" this time! It's like the loop in the time space continuum. By the way, I've never considered my kids "common". The "social engineering" aspect of this is amazingly SAD!

  • Big C Murray, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    As a new parent, I haven't paid much attention to Common Core and the surrounding hoopla. A co-worker of mine recently talked to me about it. Or rather, went on a tirade about how my toddler will be brainwashed by the government in the giant conspiracy once my toddler enters school. I paid no mind to this tirade other than thinking I better educate myself on Common Core so I know what to expect in a few years. So, I educated myself (a common theme in my life) about the standards. I ignored opinions from both sides, didn't read biased articles about it, and oh my goodness... formed my OWN opinion about it. Come to find out, the standards are just that - standards. There is no evil agenda or ridiculous conspiracy behind it. The people having a fit about it should pause long enough to read about it themselves from legitimate and unbiased sources.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 1, 2014 12:05 p.m.

    Its funny to read these opinions and the complaints about the government control of education, and yet you are perfectly fine with the Utah state legislature introducing over 200 bills each and every year that deal with education and further micromanage and control the education in this state. So I guess I should take it that it is not ok to have national standards and national government management, but it is ok to to have state micromanagement of education because that is being done by the far right.

  • Oak Highland, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    "At the core of the standards is a reduced emphasis on memorization. Students now have to connect the dots and apply critical thinking."

    This is nonsense. Utah schools were not focused on memorization prior to Common Core. In fact for years in Alpine School District, they practically banned teachers from having students memorize the times tables or learn long division. That was Investigations math. Common Core is now statewide investigations-style constructivist math. The implementation of Common Core math is going to cause math performance in Utah to decrease. It is not more rigorous. Under our A- rated 2007 math standards, most children would have completed algebra in 8th grade and could take calculus by 12th. Under Common Core, we now SLOW DOWN math and complete algebra by 9th grade so most students will only get to pre-calculus by 12th grade. It's not more rigorous unless you want to imply rigor mortis from students reading EPA reports instead of classic literature. By 12th grade 70% of English reading is supposed to be informational, not literature analysis that teaches culture and critical thinking. The problem with Common Core isn't just the standards, it's the whole agenda coming with it.

  • kevo Saratoga Springs, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    Was critical thinking not a part of our education before Common Core?

    It's a good thing we have the government to help us learn how to critically think. What would we do without their great example? Because they certainly are right about everything.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Jan. 1, 2014 11:11 a.m.

    Do you know what another hallmark is? Socialism.

  • Lone Eagle Aurora, CO
    Jan. 1, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    An expert is a "has-been" under pressure.

    There are no right or wrong answers for a math problem? But there is a correct answer? This is common core?

    Here's one question I have in the common core debate: How are gifted students kept challenged? What about those who are slower (or incapable) at getting the concepts? Is the whole class slowed down to accommodate them?

    Yes, students should explain their answers so corrections can be applied as needed. To categorically state that there are no "right or wrong answers" for math problems is doing a disservice to the students. Will you be comfortable with an engineer who provides an answer to a bridging problem who was trained to think there are no right or wrong answers in math in elementary school?

    I am for increasing the learning in our children. Is this the best way? Nationalized standards? But then, I have been looking a clear explanation of just what Common Core really is and have been unable to find a clear answer.

    Teacher: LOL?

    Keep in mind that the author of the article (opinion masquerading as news?) works for a propaganda arm of the democrat party (AP).

  • STB Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 10:51 a.m.

    I am a Republican, a father, and I support common core as a way to enhance our children's education. This is not some left wing propaganda. Many opponents only get their research on the subject from biased sources and not from objective sources. BTW, my wife is also an educator and she is very supportive of common core as well.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    I love the joy of teaching and am frustrated by some of the content in Common Core especially in Math. I find a lot of ambiguity, gobbledygook, and unnecessary pages and pages of explanation of a simple concept and strategy!

    Mostly I don't like the government control on this and so many other areas of our lives now. I teach the love our country and what it means to be a patriot and a real American. I have to fill in the holes of information now left out in the new curriculum on the Founding Fathers, history of our great country, and the Constitution, etc. Teaching values are important to me as well as content.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 1, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    For a few, it's critical thinking.

    For the rest, you lose your thoughts, and ideas to conform. Part of the collective.

    Champions run alone.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 1, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    I know very little about Common Core but vividly remember the frustrations of learning subjects (mainly math) where memorization was the primary method. Teachers rarely took the time to properly explain concepts but instead would often extol me to “just keep doing problems.”

    Having been out of school now for a number of years I can say without a doubt that the workplace is filled with smart, college educated professionals who have little understanding of why they do things, yet are technically proficient in doing the task – they are excellent time tellers but poor clock builders.

    Since more and more “doing” will become automated in the future, the most valuable currency our children will possess is the ability to think, analyze, create… understand.

    If Common Core will shift that focus even a little, society in the long run will be better for it.

  • Utah Teacher Orem, UT
    Jan. 1, 2014 1:34 a.m.

    I have been totally amazed at how a few extremists have totally misconstrued what the common core is. It has gotten so far out of whack that it is now laughable to hear what these people are saying. Just watch some of the comments that will be posted below mine.

    It isn't some conspiracy to brainwash your kids. I just read a long rant by a lady of Facebook about how evil the common core is and how it is socialist propaganda!

    I literally laughed out loud.

    The common core is simply a set of standards we want all children to achieve. Of course they won't all get there but the hope is still there. It doesn't tell a teacher how to teach or what material to use. It is simply a set of standards. By third grade we want johnny to be able to __________. That is it.

    I read another rant about how a common core book was teaching left wing ideals. LOL again because there is no "common core book". Teachers can use whatever they want to help the kids meet the standards.