Drafter says Math Standards were for Social Justice

I was at a Meet the Candidates event last night and someone told me that Phil Daro, one of the writers of the math standards, said they wrote Common Core specifically for social justice. For those that don’t know, social justice is a buzz word that means redistribution of wealth or helping the poor at the expense of the wealthy. I did a couple of web searches and found a teacher’s website (who seems to get it) with this video where Phil says it right at the end.

Common Core set minimum standards for all students which means minimal learning for those who could accelerate. Thus social justice is achieved by holding down the achievers to the level of the lowest common denominator and by forcing them to learn what you want them to learn instead of letting them become individualized and accelerating their education as they can. Nowhere is this going to happen more than in Utah where we adopted math standards in an integrated fashion instead of discrete years. If you’ve not read about that problem yet please click that link. Otherwise watch Phil’s video clip. I’m not sure who he’s speaking to but they are an easily entertained bunch. :)


24 thoughts on “Drafter says Math Standards were for Social Justice”

  1. As Citizens we need to impeach the State and Local School boards that are leading us down this path and vote out of office the President, legislature and senate that are promoting the Federal Office of Education. Put the control back in our local schools.

  2. Common Core is a foot-in-the-door to not just nationalizing our educational system, but internationalizing it. Common Core was born out of inter-mental copulation of those creating and supporting Agenda 21, a United Nations effort in creating the “New World Order.” These beginnings of using “Standard Testing” will not result in better education, but will only serve to further increase administrative costs, reduce effective educational time in the classroom, and provide those evil minds supporting the “dumbing-down” of America power to move forward in their agendas. There is also the risk of establishing test standards that will necessarily require more and more teaching of dangerous socialist and communistic principles and values. As test scores fail to rise, and especially if they fall, the clamor from the sponsors of Common Core and Agenda 21 will numb or lull the minds of people at the local and state levels into adopting even more of their destructive designs, until one day America will have a generation of socialistic minded robots under a type of bondage that only serves the elitists who deceived their parents and grandparents into accepting these initial subtle precepts of Common Core.

    The use of standardized assessments is Constitutionally correct for the States to freely exercise their sovereign powers in choosing to develop and use standardized testing. But when a corrupt Federal Government is “in bed” with international entities supporting the advancement of global socialism , and uses Federal tax dollars as bait to entice the States into accepting/adopting such ideas, its parallel to getting into bed with a rattlesnake. All of the billions of taxpayer dollars spent on “innovative” educational experiments have netted ZERO improvement in academic achievement. The U.S. Department of Education is a financially bloated miscarriage of Constitutional powers, has shown to actually reduce some academic standards since its inception, and only serves to further socialistic agendas. If the American people fail to turn away from the Nationalization of Education in this country, they will eventually reap the putrid rewards of socialism, which is nothing more than a few well-placed pit-stops on the way to communism.

  3. What social justice means to Phil Daro, as stated in the video: “To make sure all kids get enough math to have a decent opportunity.”

    What social justice means to Oak Norton: “a buzz word that means redistribution of wealth or helping the poor at the expense of the wealthy.”

    I see nothing wrong with what Phil Daro actually said. The whole point of a public education system is to provide the opportunity for all kids to get a good education. I see an awful lot wrong with Oak making stuff up, all based on secret motives and what someone told him at a meeting.

    1. Hi Daniel, what secret motives and what meeting are you talking about? I don’t know how much you’ve been following this but knowing your math inclination I encourage you to check out the post on the death of calculus (http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/reigniting-the-math-wars-over-the-death-of-calculus/). We are slowing down the top students. We are capping their potential in the name of “social justice.” You were with me a few years ago during the math war to raise standards. Nobody wants a more solid foundation for our children in math than I do (http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/a-recent-history-of-utahs-math-standards/), but what we’re doing with Common Core isn’t going to do that. It’s all about money, control, and social engineering that will level the top students to the level of the bottom students. Look at the full history and consider the violations of privacy and database tracking that are set to happen. We are going to lose local control of education if we don’t stand up to this encroachment on our state sovereignty, and we will again be dumbing down our children in the name of social justice.

      1. “Hi Daniel, what secret motives and what meeting are you talking about?”

        I’m referring to this comment at the top of the article:

        “I was at a Meet the Candidates event last night and someone told me that Phil Daro, one of the writers of the math standards, said they wrote Common Core specifically for social justice.”

        Based on this flimsy evidence, you found a video, and titled your post “Drafter says math standards were for social justice”, which you take to mean “redistribution of wealth”.

        Again, if you watch the video, he simply means providing a strong math education for all kids. What’s so wrong about that? The whole point of a public education system is to try to give every child the opportunity to have a good education.

        What I’m objecting to here is your politicization of the issue, when it should be about the things you care about (e.g. whether all students should be on a track to take calculus in high school). When you start making things up about social justice, it detracts from your message.

        I haven’t had the time to look into the Calculus issue yet, but I’ll see what I can do.

      2. For example, this link you provide on one of your pages is very good:


        It explains, purely from a mathematical standpoint, why California’s math standards are better than Common Core math standards. I can buy that. It’s convincing because its reasoning is grounded in math. It is not mixed up with your personal political philosophy and distractions like social justice.

        1. You don’t have to have a personal political philosophy to see there are serious issues over Common Core, even beyond the standards. The standards themselves are not what they were billed to be and yet everyone is pushing them hard. They are clearly inferior to several other states that had great standards we could have started with and then built on. Why didn’t the committee just do that? Because there is an agenda and lots of special interest money to nationalize the education system.

    2. @ Daniel Zappala

      Invoking the concept of social justice presumes that the public education system is inherently discriminatory and unjust, requiring affirmative intervention to reverse it. So, before you start bashing Oak over his interpretation of the slide, why don’t you explain how Social Justice is relevant to the discussion? Not only relevant, but the “main motive” for the new standards?

      1. To quote the speaker in the video above, “To make sure all kids get enough math to have a decent opportunity.” Obviously, he feels current standards in many states are lacking in this regard. To quote the link that Oak himself supplied:

        “Common Core is vastly superior—not just a little bit better, but vastly superior—to the standards in more than 30 states.”

        When you’re in a situation where an effort as flawed as Common Core improves 30 states that drastically, then, yes, I think the speaker is justified in saying that this will help make progress toward ensuring all kids have access to a good education.

        1. Daniel, why didn’t we just adopt California’s standards which are superior to Common Core? It would have saved millions of dollars. Why have states restructured things (radically in Utah) so that algebra 1 is now reached in 9th grade. Dr. Jim Milgram was the only professional mathematician on the review board of the standards and he refused to sign off because the math standards still leave us 2 years behind Asian country standards by 8th grade.

          1. Oak, I would have had no problem adopting California Math standards, and likely would have recommended it. I was answering the question from KTM of why social justice was relevant. It’s relevant in the way the speaker used it — providing a strong math education for our students. It’s the same thing you care about, which is why you’re pushing for the California students. In the way the speaker used it, you, Oak, are for social justice too. :-)

          2. Daniel, social justice is a buzzword that has a specific meaning and really has no place in education. True education is allowing market forces (ie. choice) to individuals to achieve greatness. Common Core is social injustice just like Investigations math. They are labeled as ways to help the poor, but by removing the times tables and long division with Investigations, or by forcing children to learn at a slower pace with important things missing as in Common Core, they fail to achieve that objective. They compartmentalize students (especially the bright ones at the expense of those that need extra help) and do not let them move at their own pace and ability so they wind up losing interest in STEM subjects and are unmotivated to excel. Compulsory education is a hindrance to education and Common Core is all about compulsion from the top down, government to administrators to teachers to students. IMO, the only just education system is one that treats children as individuals and allows them to succeed or fail according to their own abilities and desires.

        2. How much is “enough” math? How much opportunity is “decent”? Apparently, local school districts are incapable of determining that, and only smart people like Phil Daro know.

          The Social Justice slide says that each unit should celebrate the “variety of thinking” each student brings. How does that improve the curriculum for ALL students? It says each unit should end with “on-grade learning”. What if some students are ready for something more challenging? Too bad, another sacrifice on the altar of “social justice”.

          It’s a worthy goal to educate every student, but in practice there must be tradeoffs. Special ed and ESL students require many more resources, and in an era of scarce resources those must necessarily be taken from someone else. If “social justice” is the overriding goal, then those students at the top will always, always lose out when it comes time to make hard decisions.

          Standards based on all students achieving “decent opportunity” in life are doomed to fail. The goal should be to give every student a “decent opportunity” to learn, but each child will determine how much to avail themselves of that opportunity. In sports the goal is to provide a level playing field, standardized rules, and fair enforcement. The goal can never be to achieve an equal outcome, because that’s not reality. A person invoking “social justice” when talking about education curriculum SHOULD set off alarm bells for every concerned parent in the country.

          1. I don’t agree. In the way the speaker used it (I’ll keep repeating that phrase to death), we can and ought to strive for excellence for all our kids. That includes both accelerated students, on track students, and special needs students. I’ve had my own children in each of these categories in our local public schools, and all have had excellent service from their teachers and the district. I don’t think it’s a zero-sum game, where giving a good remedial instruction to a student with a learning disability takes away from the opportunity to give an accelerated education to another.

            I agree with local control as a first principle. I agree with the need for better math standards than what the Common Core currently offers.

            My only point here is to stick to educational arguments and leave misguided political battles out of it. This holds for the silly battles over “social justice”, “democracy vs republic”, “socialism and John Goodman’s teachings at BYU”, “social democracy” and all the other time wasters. Focus on what matters most — core curriculum issues, local control, etc.

  4. “And remember that the reason we have standards is because of the social justice agenda to make sure all kids get enough math to have a decent opportunity.”

    The key word there is “enough.”

    This lecture by Phil Daro shows more clearly how the social justice agenda plays into Common Core:

    In this lecture, Daro makes the argument that we need to spend more time on what’s most important. He then determines that the most important math isn’t the most advanced math, but the math that will benefit the most students- “middle school math” and Algebra I because he found that most community colleges require a lot of middle school math and that most 4 year college students need Algebra I- except for STEM students of course. Daro readily acknowledges that Common Core Math Standards were purposely designed to push Algebra I up to 9th grade instead of 8th grade so more time could be spent on middle school math. Now, you might be fine with that, but Common Core standards were sold to the public on the idea that they were higher, more rigorous standards. They were supposed to give our children the skills they need to compete in the global economy. If that truly was the case, then why are the standards focused on math for auto mechanics and humanities majors (Daro’s own examples) when the areas we are losing jobs to other countries are in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? Daro addresses those students who might want to go beyond Algebra II in high school almost as an afterthought. If a student wants to take higher level math courses in high school, that student would have to take an accelerated math class which covers two years of math in one. How on earth is cramming two years of math into one year better for students than allowing them the option to take Algebra I in middle school for those that are ready for it? (But then, Common Core isn’t about getting advanced math; it’s about getting “enough” math.) The social justice agenda behind Common Core, which this writer of the standards openly and repeatedly admits to, will only hurt our highest achieving students. If we really want America to remain globally competitive, that’s something we can’t afford to do.

    1. Sorry, I forgot to mention that my post was a response to Daniel Zappala’s comments that social justice in education is just about providing a good education for all. Again, from what I’m hearing from Phil Daro, it is more about providing enough education for most at the expense of the high achievers.

    2. I also need to make a correction (I should know better than to post comments late at night.) Daro actually suggested compressing three years of math into two years for accelerated students rather then two years into one as I stated. This might be a little better, but again- why is it so important to spend time on middle school math for those that need it than it is to spend enough time on higher math for those that would benefit from it? If something is important, it’s important to spend time on it- Does Daro believe that math for advanced students isn’t important? Allowing them to take Algebra I in 8th grade would allow them to spend more time on math and still be able to take the advanced math courses, but this isn’t one of the options Daro gives. Why would we not do everything we can to help our best and brightest excel? Again, it all comes back to the social justice agenda.

      1. I agree with your comments Michelle. I think it’s very interesting that STEM students are just an afterthought. Forcing advanced students to slow down and take multiple years of Algebra I in middle school, then making them squeeze more advanced math into fewer years in high school makes absolutely no sense. The focus is on “social justice”, not on STEM students, so they end up in a worse situation.

        I think it’s interesting that he refers to auto mechanics and nurses in his talk. I don’t remember having Congressional hearings about how the lack of Algebra 1 skilled was causing a shortage of auto mechanics in the country, maybe I missed it.

        If people want to talk about “social justice”, what is so very just about having our STEM students underprepared to compete against their foreign peers? Handing a US STEM student a worthless high school diploma, a worthless bachelors degree, and then importing hundreds of thousands of foreign students to fill our graduate schools, masters programs, tech jobs, etc, is a social injustice. Our STEM education is in crisis, and all these buffoons want to talk about is spending 3 years teaching Algebra 1 skills.

        1. As a professor in a STEM field for the past 15 years, I can tell you the problem isn’t that our students haven’t had Calculus before college. We can and do teach them Calculus in college. The problem is twofold:

          1) Students don’t want to major in STEM disciplines. We have failed to motivate them. They all want to go into business and finance, because that is what our society teaches them to value — the fast train to being a multi-millionaire. We also somehow turn off a lot of girls from wanting to do anything related to engineering or computers, which is a very long discussion.

          2) Students who do want to major in STEM don’t have a good math foundation in the basics. It’s not lacking Calculus that is the problem, it is the grounding in basic math. The case that Daro makes for better foundational math skills is a strong one. Yes, we ought to of course provide easy paths for advanced students. I’ve fought for that for my own kids for many years. But the vast majority of our high school students don’t care about math, don’t like math, and don’t see the need to take math courses. That’s a much more fundamental problem that pushing everyone to take Calculus by their senior year.

          Both of these problems can be improved with better quality math instruction throughout the K-12 experience. But that’s an extremely challenging problem, because we don’t pay our best minds well enough to make it worth their while to teach in elementary and secondary education. And most parents hate math and do not want to go out of their way to help their kids with it, much less go the extra mile and actually encourage them and foster a desire to do math. They’re all to busy encouraging them to do sports instead.

    i’m new to all of this common core controversy and would like to better understand the problems. i’m an educator at a charter school and wanted to know:

    a. while i don’t like the federal government controlling what our kids learn, is there a better way to provide uniform standards so that [for example] 9th grade science students in Florida are learning the same concepts as 9th grade science students in S. Dakota? and how do we make sure that ALL college freshman are prepared?
    b. why is the public not better informed about the pros and cons of CC? is there a “common core for dummies” that everyone can understand?
    c. our [charter] school says it’s going to use CC…shouldn’t charter schools get the opinions of their parents before adopting such a big, controversial program?
    d. are there specific social topics [i.e. illegal immigration, socialism, etc.] that are required to be taught?
    e. i’m truly confused and not sure if it’s going to make things better or worse. is it really THAT evil, or just a tool that might simplify things for teachers?

    any fact-based, unbiased information would be appreciated.


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