An Open Letter to Teachers, Plus Teacher Comments

Dear Teachers,

We want you to know that we support and appreciate you. We want to return local control to the schools so that you can again work closely with parents and children to individualize the educational experience for as many children as possible. We know many of you feel like the teacher in this video. You’re frustrated and many of you have thought about retiring because you are unappreciated and being standardized yourselves. The vast majority of you are total professionals trying to do a very difficult job. We know that some of you don’t yet realize the hammer coming down on you from Common Core. Others of you are fully aware of what’s happening and you’re in various stages of frustration. Please don’t quit. Please speak out. If you can’t within your school or district, contact the media and ask if they will protect your identity. Most will. We will keep you anonymous unless you are able and willing to put your name to your comment. There are legislators who can help but they just don’t know what is happening. Contact them and express your concerns. Hundreds of you have contacted us sharing your concerns and we are trying to do everything in our power to help you.

Here are some teacher comments we have received recently. Previous comments can be read at these links (batch 1, batch 2).

As an educator, I oppose the Common Core. After teaching it for one year I am completely convinced that we are destroying our students’ love of learning. What used to be our favorite part of the day (math) has become the most dreaded and hated part of the day! We have taken the most important part of learning away from children…fun! Not only that, but it is completely unconstitutional! The federal government has NO right to dictate to local school districts, parents and teachers what will be taught. -1st Grade Teacher in Cache County

Our system doesn’t push kids to their full potential. Education isn’t one-size fits all. – Salt Lake County, 4th grade

It has very socialist leanings.  It seems to dumb down what the students are to learn. – Middle School, Iron County

They are taking away our rights as parents and a community to decide whats best for our local kids. – Jr. High, Washington County

Education should be locally controlled. The more and more red tape being hung up, the worse and worse education has become.  Bring it back to a local level. State guidelines maybe, but local communities will be a lot more invested in the education of their youth than someone hundreds or thousands of miles away. It is about control and there is way to much of that right now. Ultimately, education has suffered and will continue to suffer because the family is breaking down. As you continue to give away or take away more and more responsibility from parents, this will only get worse not better. If the state, who should be defending families and education, particularly this state, continues to give away or allow the federal government to usurp control, your students will become mindless robots without the ability to think and only the ability to obey. Do we want automatons or do we want thinking, processing, problem-solving humans? If it is the latter, then step far, far, far away from Common Core. It isn’t worth the money. – 5th, 8th, 11th grade teacher in Cache County

Common Core Curriculum lowers the standards for real achievement in academics. Even more dangerous, it tries to subvert the values that Utahns uphold and strive for while “subtly” or not-so-subtly brainwashing our children with anti-American and pro-socialism propaganda. – 10-12th grade Social Studies, Utah County

1).  It is more government involvement than NCLB. 2).  There is no legitimate data that shows there are positive benefits that come from CC. 3).  Home work assignments that intrude on the student and family.  There are schools that do not follow the law by sending prior notes home to parents asking them permission for their child to respond to intrusive questions. – Heidi, Salt Lake County Teacher

I recently attended a common core day of cheer leading for the sixth grade teachers in my district.  Money was used to pay for subs so that we could all hear for a day why the common core was so wonderful.  We were told that students would no longer be graded on completion of assignments or an average of assignment and test scores over a grading period.  Instead grading will be based on mastery of a subject.  How do we determine mastery?  The district has provided bench mark tests in language arts.  We were told that these are not mandatory BUT that if we did not use them they would become mandatory.  I find it scary that students will now be graded only on tests written by the core.  The final assessment was a research paper on modern revolutions.  Interesting how Now in the sixth grade learning can be skewed to a political point of view that may or may not be historically accurate.  I find the curriculum scary and the measurement of learning terrifying. I know though that any questions I asked contrary to the core were met with anger and frustration. It was NOT allowed and dismissed to ask a question that was not common core friendly. I along with other teachers are afraid to speak out publicly against the core for fear of losing our jobs. I work in the Jordan school district.

In my opinion, this all started with “no child left behind.”  Now teachers are afraid for their job security, cheating on testing, and now dumbing down our children so they can pass off a test for federal funding.  I am against socialist/communistic agendas that seek to own responsibility for children instead of parents.  I am against data-testing which label children and their capacity for growth.  It’s Hitler all over again. (Which gene-based prejudice began in the US.) I am against Channel-One and the propaganda it is brainwashing our children with to pull them into compliance by telling them that soon there will be brain studies that will help them, in care of Obama. I am scared of what it will do to Special Ed. students who will then have to wear a label the rest of their lives as being worthless to society.  How dare the government label OUR children and tell them their worth. PLEASE STOP COMMON CORE IN OUR STATE! PLEASE STOP AND PREVENT SOCIALISM AND COMMUNISM FROM GETTING INTO OUR EDUCATION. – Salt Lake County

First grade math is not age  approriate !  I have taught math for 25yrs.  To both average and gifted children.  The approach does not give children a sequential program.  Average children who are open minded and want to learn give up and start hating math.  My gifted children don’t want to do math either because the way they want it taught is so confusing.  As an experienced math certified teacher I want my children to love it as I do.  We are not allowed to adjust our curriculum to give our children the preparatory skills they need to move on.  I have never had such a discouraging year teaching.  We are not allowed to diversify our teaching to accelerate those who are gifted.  We are trying to create a Nation of mediocrity.  How sad to see education to come to this.  Why not allow teachers with years of experience and a love for learning to teach children in tried and tested ways they know work. – Salt Lake, 1st Grade Teacher

The standards are still a mile wide and an inch thick. First graders are supposed to solve equations with unknowns…yet, most first graders have such little number sense that they can’t tell you the difference between 9 and 10 without counting down nine on their fingers. Number lines used to be a math staple. Now we let students learn counting with blocks and hundred charts. That doesn’t help them see that comparing numbers and subtraction truly are related ideas like a number line does. No wonder they can’t understand word problems. Oh, and equal, if not greater emphasis is on constructivism rather than instruction. This is true in all disciplines. Second graders don’t remember to start a sentence with a capital and end with punctuation nor can most spell…but who cares? If you let them read and write a lot, that will all be fixed through natural processes. Have them write Multi-page stories and papers when the don’t know how to write one well constructed sentence using 7 or more words, capitals, end marks, and which make complete sense – oh and don’t forget the importance of creative spelling. All of this nonsense remains in the Common Core the way Utah teachers are being trained by the state. Your child can’t read or write clear sentences…who cares? Have them write story summaries, find supporting details and write clarifying questions about the text. Don’t bother teaching them how to summarize a paragraph…skip to them just realizing what a good summary of an entire book is and writing it. In addition, districts have decided that the Core matters…not the curriculum. So why purchase curriculum that covers the Core? The only good part of the Core is that students ought to be learning content…remember history, geography and science books from the olden days? Well, according to the state, the students don’t actually need to learn the content…just use it to be better readers and writers using our wonderful constructivist writing and reading strategies. Another great part of the Core? Grammar is back! Oh, but that isn’t you don’t need grammar instruction, except of course in your constructivist writing class where students will realize what looks and sound correct from their knowledgable peer editors. And, for all this constructivism, you simply don’t need to buy curriculum….no, no, no! The beauty is that teachers can just write the curriculum in unit studies for, GET THIS, the cost of paper copies! No content knowledge experts needed. No curriculum sequencing specialists needed, and no experts in assessment design.   Will that leave much time for lesson planning? Will teachers be able to teach whole class instruction? No, of course not…but, who cares? The children can lead the direction once they know the learning objective. They can read different texts and use the one thing you did model…how to stop and think all kinds of things when reading a book..write down words you don’t know, predict, wonder, make connections to self so that reading one story takes a mere week of struggling and questioning. Did you know that when read well, it takes at least THREE full reading periods to read aloud the first grade book “Are You My Mother?” – of course, that is really how good readers read…stopping to wonder, question and write so that ten pages of big text takes hours to read. I mean, that really helps you get through college.  All in all, we really are heading in great directions here. – San Juan County, 2nd grade teacher

Common Core is not classical education, which I believe in.  It dumbs the curriculum down even more. – Karen Hunt, Utah County El. Ed. Teacher

The standards are a knee jerk attempt to assess students in a way that may be counter productive.  The mathematics common core is not and will not be recognized nationally.  Why are we limiting our students? – Sanpete, 11th grade

Simply because,I would like to see education administered locally, not by the federal government.  Education should not be generalized across the nation.  Common Core dumbs down education to the lowest common denominator. – K-6 Resource Teacher, Utah County

After reading information both for and against common core, I don’t appreciate the fact that states had to be “bribed” to accept it. – Sheri Rivera, 4th grade, Utah county

I am opposed to any one group making such important decisions about what should or should not be taught to school children all over this country especially when it gain driven as Common Core appears to be. There is suspect in testing because of the tremendous amount of money that exchanges hands, and because of the large amount of money behind lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Common Core is just one more monster on the money list. – Sevier County, 8th grade

I feel that the Common Core is only focusing on certain things, like non-fiction, to the exclusion of other, equally important things.  I am also concerned that students are being dropped into the Common Core in the middle without the requisite information, and are floundering. – Davis, 8-9th grade

I’ve seen the math doing very incompetent and poor learning because of the lack of cohesive, tried and true, concept teaching. I’ve spent more and more time trying to meet the demands of all the “big wigs” above me justifying their large salary jobs through the common core etc. than in being able to prepare meaningful lessons and grading “only the bare minimum” of what I do assign.  I was a great teacher when I had parents who I accounted to and only a few (Principal, and Superintendent) administrators who were there to help me be the best teacher I could be through their support – NOT their job-justification demands. – Anne Roundy, Davis, High School

Having taught math to middle schoolers for 16 years, the CCS are developmentally inappropriate. Some standards are too abstract for those still on a concrete level. Not every child is ready to “see” and understand Algebraic concepts by 8th grade. – 7-8 grade teacher

I went to the Secondary Math Common Core training last summer.  I saw the negative reaction of every teacher but one who were “trying” to implement the half-baked common core curriculum from the state.  I have read the melange of standards for Sec I, II and III, and have seen the lack of textbooks that support this curriculum.  Besides teaching HS Secondary Math, I also teach as an adjunct in Dev. Math at 3 universities, I know the entry level math and curriculum required for entry level college math, and the methods used to teach this, and the common core standards are simply not going to get students to where they need to be for college. In our “training” what bothered me most was the “one size fits all,” “one way to teach” garbage we were fed.  The “Learning Cycle” at the center of the core is merely one way to teach math. Am I to believe that different learning and teaching styles don’t matter? I fear we are headed down a path to having our students taught by robots. I may move just to teaching at the university level so I can continue to help remediate the poorly prepared students from public education.  There have been more developmental math classes offered at my university this year than ever before and I contribute this to the beginning stages of implementing the common core integrated standards.  I guess at least my job there will be secure. – 7-9th grade, Utah County

I’m very worried about the Federal Government taking control of education in our State.  I feel they promote their agenda–and in the new reading programs I’m forced to teach, the literature promotes their agenda while never teaching patriotism or anything about the virtues we have traditionally held dear.  We can never teach about our Founding Fathers or freedom when we follow the outline they’ve set up–but they have us teaching about how great Obama is! – 1st-3rd grade teacher in Washington County

I don’t like the math.  It doesn’t allow for students to accelerate into higher math classes. – 8th grade teacher, Sevier Co.

I feel that CC takes away local control.  It was not adopted in an open and honest way.  I feel that it provides way to much opportunity for the agendas of national politicians to be introduced and taught contrary to what parents and teachers feel are best.  I can see in Language Arts alone the very real possibility that students will not enjoy reading anymore with the push towards reading “informational text” and away from classic novels. I fear that if I speak out against CC I will be blacklisted and treated differently, perhaps to the point of losing my job.  These are just a few of my concerns. – Middle School, Utah County

Common Core is dumbing down our students by requiring less of them. The math standards are ridiculous! I can’t even begin to tell you how insuffient they are.  Working one problem 3 different ways?  Why not spend time on three different problems giving the students more exposure.  The students are getting very bored reworking one problem over and over. They want to be challenged, not pacified. – 5th grade, Davis County

I don’t think we should slow down the top students which is what CC will do.  I also think the low end students need more help and CC won’t allow it.  One size fits all isn’t the answer to education.  I also think local parents and teachers need say in what is taught, not the Federal Government being paid off by Corporate $$$ telling us what to teach.     There have been a couple of times in my teaching career that I spent time at the USOE as a committee member working on curriculum and testing.  It was a group of Utah teachers.  That is how it should be.      I have a friend that teaches at Head Start.  She has always complained about the Federal Gov. control of the program and how with some kids things need to done differently.    Keep the Federal Government out of our children’s education.  Public Education is the job of the states. – Miriam Chambers, 7-9th grade Weber teacher

Common Core does not take into consideration the needs of individual students. All must learn that standard element at a prescribed instant. Teachers are not allowed to take the time to reteach, adjust instruction or review. Once the prescribed time has past, another concept must be introduced. – K-8 teacher

Students are not widgets on an assembly line to be mined for data.  They should be treated as individuals by professional educators.  That often requires a unique approach that doesn’t fit into a nationwide educational system. – Uintah 7th grade

It is unconstitutional, It takes the right to privacy away from the individual an parents, it is worse than what we already have, unknown costs and out come. – 9-12th grade, Weber County

I oppose the philosophies of the groups funding and supporting Common Core – Bill Gates, Bill Ayers, Arne Duncan, etc.  These individuals do not promote or adhere to Constitutional principles. – K Turner, 6-8th grade Bountiful

It takes little into consideration for child development at the lower grades. – 1st grade teacher, Utah county

It opens the door for too much bad and doesn’t offer enough good. It’s not the direction we need to go. It encourages everyone to git inside a square when many kids don’t. It states that kids must learn on a schedule and if they don’t there’s no going back and picking up the pieces. There’s not time. They are just plain out of luck.   We need to more to a student based learning system. See where they are at the beginning of the year, put them in like groups, and chart their progress. This will help our lows catch up, and will help our highs keep growing.   We need to encourage parents to be involved. Offer a tax credit for parents who volunteer a certain amount of hours in the classroom. We need to fix the family. One of the student’s I use to teach mom would remind me frequently that her name was on her child’s birth certificate not mine (her teacher) or the government so if there was a problem with her or she wasn’t learning it was the parent’s responsibility, not mine. We need to get more parents to think this way.   Common Core is a step backwards, not forwards. If we are to remain competitive we need to focus on our kids where they are starting and chart their progress. Not give them unrealistic goals that many can’t reach.   My other worry with Common Core is the fact that 46 out of 50 states are using this curriculum. That means that every text book publishing company will begin to cater their text books to common core. That’s where the money is. Down the road it will become increasingly easy for someone to come in and decide that kids no longer need to learn about …. For example the causes of the Civil War. It will become easy to forget our history. It opens the door for someone to get too much power. We need to back out of this. It seems like the easy way out of NCLB which is a bad law, but a majority of the time the easy way out isn’t the best.-Davis County, 2nd grade


3 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Teachers, Plus Teacher Comments”

  1. This is yet another of the many examples of Socialism. Micromanagement of not only every job that is state or government affiliated, but control of the product, producers, and suppliers. The same goes for Education…the State must control what goes in, what comes out, and how it is done. Is there any question that this is INDOCTRINATION?
    Still, the question remains…
    What are We The People going to do about it?

  2. That video is heartbreaking! I have long felt that my children were being forced to function as cogs….or rather forced to conform to meaningless social norms that take away their spirit and individuality. I could never have predicted that teachers would be next…Home school starts this fall. I want to say to that teacher: you are not alone in your feelings. I’m so sorry you were treated that way! I hope you find peace in knowing you were true to yourself and your students.

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