Utah lawmakers make quick work of Common Core questions

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  • Aaron27 St. George, UT
    May 19, 2012 3:39 p.m.


    I do know what I'm talking about. I am a professional educator who has been involved with implementing the common core and developing curricula for years.

    I understand that the CC standards for English might not be much different than what schools had before. They could very well be better, higher standards. However, I was focusing on Mathematics. For grades 9-12 the entire course structure has changed (integrated model). In the past, a student could take calculus as a junior then another advanced class as a senior. With the CC standards and course structure, that is not a possibility unless the student goes outside the school system and does work on their own. I do not understand how this is "raising the standards." Simply claiming that the standards are higher does not make them so.

    My argument is that the Math CC standards are poorly written, they lower expectations, we don't have sufficient resources to support them, we've adopted them too quickly, many of the standards (as presented) have not been tried and tested, and we are doing a great disservice to teachers and students with these standards. Not fears, just observations.

  • Mamma C HEBER CITY, UT
    May 19, 2012 3:08 p.m.

    Why can't we ever get proof from the USOE that their claims are true? If there's no federal involvement, what am I reading in "The Cooperative Agreement between the US Dept of Ed and the SBAC" that looks exactly like federal micromanagement? Google that doc, Common core folk, and read it for yourselves. It is time for the USOE to be honest with teachers and citizens. Common Core is absolute control by others of Utah's educational standards and tests. No room for disagreement or amendment of any kind. The standards are even copyrighted by a trade group, NGA/CCSSO. And mandating info-texts to take up at least half of the time in English classes, shoving classic literature aside, has the same effect as burning half of the classics we used to teach. And pushing Algebra I to ninth grade, when it used to be in 8th grade, ain't raising standards, standardistas!

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    May 19, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    So glad my family has choosen to home school our children. The entire countries educational system has been in the tank since the DOE was created, and it was pretty pathetic to begin with. When the DOE finally gets around to telling you all exactly how to educate your children, and you lemming-like follow them off the cliff, I will sit back and weep at the loss of liberty in America.
    Yes, Common Core is just a standard, today. Tomorrow, Common Core will be the whip used by the Federal Government to control a nanny nation.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    May 19, 2012 9:02 a.m.


    As an educator who had been involved with implementing the common core and developing curricula for years, may I be the first to tell you that you have no idea about what you are talking about.

    The Common Core is a set of standards. Teachers develop the curricula for their own classrooms. No real professional who has seen the standards is scrambling around and wringing their hands. For example, at our high school, English teachers have examined the standards and decided to include more non-fiction works to align with the standards. More writing will be included as well. Not a big deal for our English teachers, but they are a very hard-working group of pros. No supporting resources are needed. All of the new textbooks and internet-based materials in the adoption process already align with the CC.

    Assessments are being developed. New technologies will assist us in evaluating those assessments, which will obviously include written responses.

    How in the world will raising standards and teaching to those standards harm student achievement? I believe that your fears are completely unfounded and are actually demeaning to Utah teachers and students.

  • Aaron27 St. George, UT
    May 18, 2012 1:43 p.m.

    I'm not sure where travelus gets his/her "truth." Have you done any research on the Common Core? The Common Core IS tied to a federal program--it's called Race to the Top (look it up). I doubt that Utah chose to implement the standards to "address low expectations" because it puts students at least a half grade behind where they would be (compare CC standards for math with Utah 2007 Core standards). More likely, Utah adopted the CC to bid for federal funding and had to do so by the August 2010 deadline. How do you determine that the CC standards "create a greater rigor?" Are you implementing the standards now? Have you put them into practice? Have you read the standards? Do you have any experience with them? There is no curriculum with the CC. It hasn't been written yet. Educators are scrambling to put it together right now. Assessments also do not exist for the CC. The State says they hope to have them by 2014. Utah has jumped into the CC without sufficient supporting resources. I'm afraid it's going to cause a lot of damage to our students' achievement.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 17, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    The Utah legislature is waiting for the outcome of the vote on the common core standards at the next American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting. They will then take their marching orders from this group in determining how to proceed with the common core. I find it interesting that so many "conservatives" in Utah scream about the involvement of federal government in our state business, yet have no problem being led by a national organization of state legislators who are funded by a handful of special interest groups. I guess it just depends on what outside groups are influencing our decisions.

  • michaelitos Salt Lake City, UT
    May 17, 2012 10:40 a.m.

    Having gone through the U's MBA program, I can attest first-hand to the curriculum readiness of my classmates from China, India, etc. (Even in their second language!) To remain competitive in the global economy, a national Common Core that focuses on getting our students ready for college and the workplace is absolutely necessary.

    Personally, I find it very myopic of Ms. Ruzicka, et al., to fail to recognize it! I'm sorry, but they appear to be pushing their own personal agenda, rather than focusing on the true needs of Utah children!

  • Clarissa Layton, UT
    May 17, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    I've always thought is was ridiculous that Utah had to have its own core that was separate from other states. People move around. Textbooks are mainly written for California or Texas standards, and we end up with books in Utah that don't have lessons in the books we buy that go with the core. Why not use one of these states core so we match? Who cares what year you learn about weather or rocks and minerals? I think this is a good idea. One things does concern me. Studies have been done that show that the less demanding math is in the lower grades, the more math students take in high school. I firmly believe that we are teaching too many abstract math lessons too early and pushing the children in lower grades too hard. They need a stronger foundation which creates higher success later in their school career.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    May 17, 2012 10:02 a.m.

    The problem is that every ... single... time CC opponents hear this:

    "Can Utah withdraw from the Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium? – yes."

    and this:

    "Will Utah be required to use SBAC tests or disclose personal information of students? – no."

    they always say this:

    "I think there's more information out there and the legislators need to see a lot more."

    Which can be translated as this: "There's a vast conspiracy going on that everyone else is too dumb to see, and we want one more chance to scare people."

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    May 17, 2012 9:47 a.m.

    Of course lawmakers NEVER want to hear public testimony. If they did, they'd have to ignore it. And that would just be a waste of everyone's time. I've seen it for years so I'm not surprised; it's the norm of the way government does business. And it's true at all levels of government, too.

  • travelrus murray, UT
    May 17, 2012 8:10 a.m.

    Gayle Ruzicka said she thinks there is more information out there? And what would that be a spin on the facts. Why can't they just listen to the truth; Utah is not tied to any federal programs, grants, or assessment systems.The federal government did not participate in the creation of the Common Core Standards. The federal government isn't going to someday, maybe dictate what our public schools teach. The fact is Utah chose to implement the standards as a way to address the problem of low expectations. The standars create a greater rigor than Utah's past standards in math and language arts. The standards are just that a standard to set clear grade-level expectations. The curriculum is written by Utah educators with input by teachers and parents. The Utah Board of Education is free to not participate but why would they choose not to, the Common Core Standard is sound education.