Ogden Common Core Debate

Rep. Fawson hosted a debate last week in Ogden on Common Core. Speaking against Common Core were Alisa Ellis, Wendy Hart, and Autumn Cook. Thank you Rep. Fawson for putting this together to allow both sides to present their arguments.

Protest at the State School Board Report

Thank you to those who rapidly signed the letter to the board and especially those who came out to the protest. In a 24 hour period from when I posted the letter to when I had to send off the letter, we had received 2,107 signatures from Utahns and I removed dozens of non-Utah signatures including columnist Michelle Malkin’s signature.

The letter with signatures was emailed to board members late Thursday night and a physical copy was delivered to the board on Friday morning at their board meeting. The text of the letter is below. I’ll refrain from posting all the signatures below, but a few hundred more continued to sign after sending off the letter. We will be posting the speeches from the board meeting here after compiling them.


Christel Swasey posted a brief report on the protest at the state school board including pictures and a video, so I’m not going to recreate the wheel. Here’s a link.

I will duplicate her links to news stories though.





So what happened? They signed the waiver but changed the assurances. This isn’t the ideal outcome we wanted, but it’s a compromise that under the circumstances will set up an interesting showdown. Please read this link for a post by Jefferson Moss on the state board, and scroll down to read Heather Groom’s (also on the board) comment as well. You may have to join the group first to see it.


Here is the letter to the state board that was signed by so many people.


To the Members of the Utah State Board of Education:

We the undersigned are among the many Utahns who value local control of education and do not want the Utah State Board of Education to renew the ESEA/NCLB waiver.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is a failed law. It failed schools, it failed teachers, and it failed children.

To receive a waiver from NCLB, Utah agreed to option A, which required Utah to show proof that we had adopted Common Core. In other words, the state was coerced into agreeing to a reform package that exerts a far greater control over our state education system than NCLB.

The waiver should not be renewed as it solidifies and gives credence to the pattern of federal involvement in Utah’s education system.

The U.S. Constitution gives the federal government no opportunity to be involved in Utah education. By renewing the waiver Utah will be obligated to continue with their Common Core commitment to the Federal Government which is in violation of both the federal and state constitutions. Trading one bad government mandate for an even worse government mandate is irresponsible. It is the State Board’s responsibility to work to reduce federal involvement in education and promote general state control, and pass everything possible down to the local school and district level that should appropriately be governed there.

Utah law states that we can and shall be flexible with our funding to utilize it to meet state goals and objectives over federal goals and objectives.

Concerns that there MAY be a reduction in federal funds affecting Title I schools should not stop the board from doing the right thing.  It will be the responsibility of the legislature and the Governor to make sure that the Title I schools have the necessary funding.

Please do not sign the waiver.


Earlier in the week I sent this brief letter to the board.


In 2005, the Utah legislature unanimously passed HB 135, a bill by Senator Margaret Dayton, that specifically gives Utah the ability to resolve NCLB funding control issues by giving Utah the flexibility to [first prioritize funding to meet] “state goals, objectives, program needs, and accountability systems” and [give second priority] “to implementing federal goals, objectives, program needs, and accountability systems that do not directly and simultaneously advance state goals, objectives, program needs, and accountability systems.”

The law further states that “school officials shall interpret the provisions of federal programs in the best interest of students in this state; maximize local control and flexibility; minimize additional state resources that are diverted to implement federal programs beyond the federal monies that are provided to fund the programs; request changes to federal educational programs, especially programs that are underfunded or provide conflicts with other state or federal programs, including: federal statutes…”

In other words, Utah law states we can and shall be flexible with our funding and utilize it to meet state goals and objectives over federal goals and objectives.

Signing the waiver violates Utah law by requiring that we continue Common Core which is a federal entanglement.


T-shirt Design Contest

Submit your own original t-shirt design and we’ll post it in our Facebook T-shirt design contest. The t-shirt designs with the most “likes” will be printed and distributed for active citizens like yourself to wear at political events, and show support and unity for local control of education. The winners will receive a free T-shirt printed with their winning design.

What you should know:

  1. Your submissions must be submitted by Tuesday July 29, 11:59 pm to qualify.
  2. Voting will begin on Wednesday morning and will end at Noon on Thursday.
  3. Submit a design for both the front and the back of the shirt.  Please label these, front or back, in the filename of your submission.
  4. The winning designs will be printed on a GREEN shirt, please coordinate your colors to match.

    The color of the green t-shirt

    The color of the green t-shirt.

  5. Submit your design without the green background of the shirt showing. The green background portion of your design should be transparent so it is ready to send to the printer. (Jpeg files do not support a transparent background.)
    Example of a Bad Submission

    Example of a Bad Submission

    Example of a Good Submission

    Example of a Good Submission

  6. We will add a green background to your design so voters can see what it will look like on the shirt.
    You will submit this.

    You will submit this.

    We will add the green background so the voters will see this.

    We will add the green background so this is what the voters will see on Facebook.

  7. Your design must promote the values of Utahns Against Common Core. Any designs that do not reflect our values or mission, are irrelevant to the purpose of this contest, or are not submitted according to the directions listed on this website will be disqualified.
  8. By submitting your design you are donating the design and all rights and privileges pertaining to it, intellectual or otherwise, to Utahns Against Common Core and you agree to the terms and conditions listed on this website. This includes the right to edit your design.
  9. It is your responsibility to make sure you use your own original design, and not steal the intellectual work of others.
  10. Please submit your design as an attachment to Include your Full Name, Mailing Address, Email address and Phone number in the body of the email. Make sure the file names of your submission state whether it is the front or back of the shirt.



The T-shirt Design Contest is up NOW! Look through this Facebook photo album and like your favorite designs. The Design with the most likes by Noon, Thursday, July 31st will be printed and distributed.

Online Brainstorming Session

We need to capitalize on the energy following last night’s “We Will Not Conform” event. Let’s work together to strategize and organize to kick Common Core and all it’s entanglements to the curb!  In the comment section below post your ideas on how to take action now and organize locally. Here are some ideas to start:

  • Make T-shirts
  • Yard Signs
  • T-shirt design contest
  • Hold an organizing convention
  • Organize by District
  • Radio Ads

Comments will only be approved if they’re positive, constructive, and don’t involve name calling.

Governor Herbert calls for Common Core reviews

Yesterday morning, Governor Herbert made a major announcement about Common Core. He’s called for the Utah A.G. to do a legal review in regards to potential federal intrusion in the standards process, a review of the standards by Utah educators, and asking for parental feedback on the standards. I was contacted by Ben Wood at the Deseret News and asked for a comment. Here’s what I sent Ben after reviewing the Governor’s speech and press release ( which included comments about SAGE testing and data collection.

Oak: “I applaud the Governor for initiating a review of the situation. There are a number of things I think have been missing from the discussion on Common Core, and I welcome a review by the AG’s office, particularly if it extends to just how much control of Utah’s education system policies the federal government controls. I agree with the Governor that local control is paramount, and unfortunately, what the state office of education has done is consistently tried to turn this discussion into one about the standards, instead of where our real issues lie with the major reforms we adopted as part of the “Common Core state standards” package, which anyone can read if they take the time to go to the source documents. There are some significant issues with the standards, but they aren’t on a “line item” basis. Alignment with other states is now allowing federal organizations like the College Board to direct curriculum based on how they control college tests like the ACT and SAT. There are some significant challenges we face and it is paramount that we do everything in our power to shift to true local control where parents, teachers, and students have maximum control over the educational pathway our children pursue.”

What should happen is we get the state auditor to investigate all the flows of money as well as the attorney general investigating all the reforms and all aspects of federal control in Utah’s education system.

To read Ben’s article, click here:

To read the governor’s speech, click here:

Gov Herbert’s Remarks – Putting the best interest of our students first (PDF file – 43k)

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh’s letter to teachers

A few days ago, UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh sent this letter to UEA teachers all over Utah encouraging them to immediately write legislators and the governor that a “small, vocal minority” (isn’t it always???) is trying to abandon Utah’s core standards.  No, actually we’re trying to run away from Common Core. I love how she emails them on their school email accounts but then tells them to email legislators and the governor from a non-school computer and email account. :)

It’s especially interesting that she would send this out after receiving so many letters from teachers who were having extremely negative experiences with the Common Core SAGE tests  noting “Developmentally inappropriate and despairing prompts that were given.”

Please pass this on to your legislators as to why they got a handful of emails the past few days and reiterate that you are not part of a small, vocal minority, but a growing and sizable part of the population.

UEA Action Bulletin
ALERT: Contact your legislators and the Governor NOW about the Utah Core Standards!

Dear UEA Member:

I realize it’s summer break for the vast majority of teachers, but, as you well know, decisions impacting our classrooms are made throughout the year. I’m asking for your help with one of those decisions now.

A small, vocal minority is putting pressure on the Governor and the Utah Legislature to force the Utah State Board of Education to walk away from years of work and millions of dollars by abandoning Utah’s Core Standards. Please let your legislators know what you think!

There is overwhelming consensus among educators that the Core Standards will ultimately be good for students and education, if implemented properly. There are significant challenges associated with implementing the Core, but the possibilities are immense.

Utah has invested years of work and millions of dollars into creating its standards. There is concern that reversing course on Utah’s Core Standards now would mean starting the process all over again.

• See more about the Utah Core Standards

What you can do:
Contact the Governor and your legislators NOW and share your opinion about the Utah Core Standards.

• Call or email your legislator* ( House / Senate)
Look up your legislators
• Call or email Governor Gary Herbert:
o Tel: 800-705-2464
o Email:
 *NOTE: Do not use school computers or email addresses

It’s critical that you contact your legislator ASAP, as decisions impacting you and your students are being made now!

Thank you once again for all you do to influence the future of our great state.


Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, UEA President

For more information about the Core Standards:

P.S. Please forward this message to co-workers, friends, family and anyone who supports Utah public education.

875 E Pontiac Dr.   Murray, UT 84107-5299   Phone: 801-266-4461   Fax: 801-265-2249
© 2014 Utah Education Association

Pulling Back the Curtain – What’s the Real Agenda behind CCSS?

Last night I made this presentation in Draper. One of the things we need to get away from when talking about Common Core, is the standards. People are getting bogged down in the standards and educrats keep asking parents if they’ve read the standards and which standards they disagree with. These are pointless questions. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE STANDARDS THEMSELVES. Well, maybe 10%. They’re not great standards and several states had superior standards before Common Core. The real problem is the loss of privacy, data collection, loss of sovereignty, and a centuries old agenda that has been pushed at us to destroy the family, destroy religion, and embrace moral relativism. In this presentation I attempt to pull back the curtain and expose that agenda. In one hour there just isn’t time to do justice to this topic. There are so many statements and so much evidence of this it just can’t be fit in, but I do hope this presentation gives you a strong enough witness that Common Core is just the latest idea in the culture war we are engaged in, and isn’t the true problem at the root. We need to get back to local control and sever the ties that bind us to these people.

Here is a pdf file of the presentation.

Constitution Party presentation 6-19-14

Chair of NGA signs bill to repeal CC in OK; SC also repeals CC

Awesome News… Yesterday, Gov. Fallin in Oklahoma signed a bill to repeal Common Core. This is major news as she is the current chair of the National Governor’s Association that claims to have co-created CCSS (Common Core State Standards) with the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers – ie. state superintendents). Thank you for those of you that wrote the governor and helped push her in this direction.

Governor Fallin stated:

“We are capable of developing our own Oklahoma academic standards that will be better than Common Core …  What should have been a bipartisan policy is now widely regarded asthe president’s plan to establish federal control of curricula, testing and teaching strategies.

We cannot ignore the widespread concern of citizens, parents, educators and legislators who have expressed fear that adopting Common Core gives up local control of Oklahoma’s public schools… 

“For that reason I am signing HB 3399 to repeal and replace Common Core with Oklahoma designed and implemented education standards…  They must raise the bar – beyond what Common Core offers…  I also ‘get it’ that Oklahoma standards must be exceptional, so when businesses and military families move to Oklahoma they can rest assured knowing their children will get a great education.

… While those new standards are being written, the state standards for English and math will revert to the Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards used from 2003 to 2010. “

Also, Gov. Nikki Haley has just signed a bill to get South Carolina out of Common Core.

Unlike Indiana which may just be getting a rebranding of CCSS with a few tweaks, OK and SC both have language in their bills to prevent this.

Other states with positive news:

North Carolina and Missouri’s legislatures have both passed bills to repeal Common Core which now await the signature of their governors. Where is Governor Herbert? Making sure his state school board selection committee weeds out candidates that have any concerns over Common Core…

We are making progress and we will get there. The ball is rolling and momentum just keeps building. Maybe this will finally be the straw that breaks the back of the US DOEd and neuters them so states are not bound by federal controls.


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