All posts by Oak Norton

Utah Math is not accelerated under Common Core

Ze’ev Wurman is a former senior policy official in the US Dept. of Education under George W. Bush, and served on the California Academic Content Standards Commission which reviewed the Common Core standards for California. He was recently sent a couple pages from Utah’s No Child Left Behind waiver application which talked about how Utah was going to accelerate math under their new integrated approach to Common Core. Those of you that missed reading the article on how the integrated approach is going to hurt math in Utah, please read Reigniting the Math Wars over the Death of Calculus.

Ze’ev generously responded with the following analysis.

Comments on Utah Waiver Application, Pages 24-25.

Ze’ev Wurman, Palo Alto, Calif.

July 2012

(Blue italics are direct quotes from the Waiver Application)

Myth: The structure of the new math standards are in line with that of countries with high mathematics achievement.

Fact: CCSS are not any closer to high achieving countries than Utah’s 2007 standards. CCSS stopped claiming that they reflect what high achieving countries are doing and now they only claim that the standards are “informed by top-performing countries,” whatever it may mean. In particular, the high school programs of the high achieving countries closely resemble the 2007 Utah traditional sequence (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II) and are completely different from the CCSS integrated Math-I, Math-II, Math-III sequence that Utah recently adopted.

Myth: The rigor and complexity of the new standards begins in Kindergarten and continues to accelerate through high school using an integrated approach. For example, students in ninth grade will be studying topics formerly common in Algebra, Geometry and Algebra 2.

Fact: It is true the CCSS are quite demanding in the early primary grades, but they significantly slow down by the third grade, and by grade eight they are one to two years behind what top-achieving countries expect of their students. The only mathematician on the CCSS Validation Committee refused to certify the Standards writing: “…large number of the arithmetic and operations, as well as the place value standards are one, two or even more years behind the corresponding standards for many if not all the high achieving countries.” (Appendix B, )

Myth: The new core’s structure allows more flexibility to accelerate learning for students as they progress through their secondary education.

Fact: The new high school core is, if at all, less flexible and less demanding than the previous one. It is composed of loosely defined “integrated” courses in contrast to previous traditional coherent curricular courses of Algebra I and II, and Geometry. Further, these integrated courses exclude chunks of content that was traditionally taught in Geometry and Algebra II such as logarithmic and trigonometric functions and identities, complex number arithmetic, conic sections, infinite geometric sequences, mathematical induction, and more. As the result, it is expected that with this curriculum students will have more difficulty to take Concurrent Enrollment courses, or Advance Placement Calculus, in their senior year.

MythThe new core includes Honors courses beginning in seventh grade and provides higher level math courses such as Calculus or AP Statistics for students who are ready to accelerate.

Fact: The accelerated (“Honors”) program in the seventh and eighth grade that is newly offered by Utah is a poor replacement for the honest pre-Algebra and Algebra courses that Utah offers today. The proposed seventh and eighth honor program adds content about history and uses of mathematics, and about set theory and different counting bases, that are poor preparation for acceleration of algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus that are key to STEM education.

Myth: In seventh and eighth grade, Honors courses contain extra topics not included in the former core. These topics include elements from discrete mathematics, non-traditional geometries, different counting systems, and other mathematics that would be interesting to advanced middle school students. … These courses have increased rigor and advanced content that will challenge the minds of high-ability students.

Fact: The seventh and eighth grade Utah’s Honors curriculum touches on discrete mathematics and different counting system and in that reminds us of the original 1960s failed “new math.” It also includes elements of graph theory that students are unequipped to handle at that point yet which it grandly calls “non-traditional geometries.” This assemblage of quirky bits and pieces of applied mathematics does not support accelerated and/or deeper acquisition of algebra, pre-calculus, and calculus. Consequently the promise to productively challenge high ability students rings hollow.

Myth: Courses for all students are much more advanced than in previous class work. Students on the regular pathway will be prepared for Pre-Calculus, AP Statistics, or CE in their senior year. In the accelerated pathway to high school (AP), calculus is a compacted version of Secondary I, II, III and Pre-Calculus and will begin in ninth grade. This pathway allows students successfully completing the three high school Honors courses to be ready for AP Calculus as seniors.

Fact: As already mentioned before, the new CCSS high school core has eliminated significant content in comparison to the 2007 core and, contrary to the claim above, are not “much more advanced”. In fact, just the opposite is true – the regular three CCSS integrated courses are at significantly lower level than the current core. Consequently, students taking the regular program will not be able to access AP calculus at they are now, using the 2007 core.

The suggested Honors program does, in fact, in theory prepare students for AP Calculus in their senior year. But it should be compared with the current sequence that potentially prepared all students, rather than only Honors students, for AP Calculus as Seniors. In fact, the current core also prepared accelerated students for AP Calculus already as Juniors.

But the new proposed Honors program is highly ambitions and untested, and faces significant challenges. Rather than use grades seven and eight for deeper preparation of Honor students in algebra and geometry, it spent those grades on inessential activities of counting in different bases and games-related bits and pieces. Consequently, it now needs to push a lot of content, including content that CCSS forgot like parametric equations, infinite series, polar coordinates, etc., into three heavily packed years. Time will tell how many students will be able to scale this steep three-year HS challenge, all to end up where the current core already gets them in much more relaxed rate starting with pre-Algebra in grade 7: to be ready to for AP Calculus as Seniors.


Given the abundance of lofty claims unsupported by the actual new Utah core, one should treat the picture on p.24 that pretends to summarize the differences in rigor between the old (2007) Utah Core and the newly adopted CCSS Core as a work of fiction. The implication that old core’s 12th grade is equivalent to the new core’s 10th is beyond ridiculous. Anyone with more than a bit of understanding of actual mathematics rather than of educational mumbo-jumbo can easily satisfy himself that just the opposite is true for the regular CCSS Core, and that they are effectively equivalent in case of the Honors Core.

Common Core Governing Documents

We recently received an email asking about the governing documents for Common Core and a couple of individuals sent me this list of links below. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list as that would be difficult to amass. Many of you have seen the illustration at the bottom of the previous article, The Common Core Lie, which shows the number of organizations established to fill in the network of entities and programs seeking to nationalize education. It’s a complex beast with tentacles into every aspect of education. It is apparent that this has been in the works for many years and many documents reference the common core documents or are referenced by them. A few of those are:

  • America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science Act (COMPETES Act)
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)


Cooperative Agreement between Dept of Ed and SBAC:

The copyrighted standards:

The Smarter Balanced Governance structure:

The RTTT application for Utah:

Challenging and in opposition to a federal takeover of education (which Common Core certainly is):

On FERPA regulations:  Here’s the federal regulatory changes that were made without Congressional knowledge/approval:

The executive branch is being sued by EPIC for adding those illegal regulations that hurt privacy but advance the cause of Common Core testing’s national data collection agenda:

A link to the Federal law’s which explicitly prohibit the Feds from being involved (GEPA law):

No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…

9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

9: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

10: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


The Common Core Lie

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

– Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda

The State

“The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).” –

The Truth

Theevidence shows that powerful and influential people and organizations have collaborated to create a global education system that will track our children and move them toward a global perspective that seeks to erase state and individual sovereignty.

The Facts

In 1984, UNESCO publishes a report called “A Methodological Guide to the Application of the Notion of Common Core in the Training of Various Categories of Educational Personnel.” One focus of the document is how to make teachers agents of change within schools.

In 1988, Marc Tucker became the president of the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE). He joined up with Hillary Clinton, Mario Cuomo, and Ira Magaziner to get states to move away from local control of their schools and migrate to national standards. (link)

In 1992, Mr. Tucker wrote a letter to Hillary Clinton congratulating her on Bill Clinton’s presidential win. He included in his letter ideas for radical education reform. He stated the goal is “to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same systems for everyone,” coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.” (link)

Tucker’s ambitious plan was implemented in three laws passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton: the Goals 2000 Act, the School-to-Work Act Opportunities Act, and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) called “Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994.” (link)

In 2004, Microsoft (Bill Gates) contracted with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to fulfill part of UNESCO’S Millennium Campaign Goals—universal education and education for a global economy. (link) The largest roadblock to creating a universal education system was the United States since each state has its own education standards and systems.

In 2005, Bill Gates funds the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce—created by Tucker. States begin adopting its education reform initiative, “Tough Choices or Tough Times.” In 2008, Utah’s Governor Huntsman touted it (see video in link below) and joined with 5 other states (Massachusetts, Delaware, Arizona, New Mexico, and New Hampshire) who adopted it in order to “reinvent their educational systems.” (link)

In 2008, the Gates Foundation, along with two other foundations, created Strong American Schools (a successor to the STAND UP campaign launched in 2006, which was an outgrowth of UNESCO’s Millennium Campaign Goals for Universal Education). It called for American education standards. (link 1) (link 2)

Also in 2008, the Gates Foundation funds the International Benchmarking Advisory Group report for Common Core Standards on behalf of the National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and ACHIEVE, Inc. titled, “Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education.” This report showed the United Nations is a member of the International Benchmarking Advisory Group for Common Core Standards. (link)

The member of mention is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which developed UNESCO’s Millennium Declaration—partnering with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. (link) The report states on page 37: “While states must take the lead, the federal government can help. And the federal government can do that best by playing an enabling role grounded in a new vision for the historic state-federal partnership in education.” (link) Gates also funded $2.2 million to the National Governor’s Association to advocate for a common state education system. (link)

In 2009, Marc Tucker wrote a chapter in the book “Change Wars: The Inspiring Future for Educational Change.” One chapter was called International Benchmarking as a Lever for Policy Reform. The book says the UN’s OECD launched the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2000 to monitor the outcomes of education. (link)

In April, 2009, Gates Foundationmembers, along with a few dozen others, participated in a Washington conference and produced “Smart Options: Investing the Recovery Funds for Student Success.” These ideas were funded by the 2008 Stimulus (ARRA-American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and supported Race to the Top. Priority 1: Develop Common American Standards—also called Career-Ready Standards—in most states by January 2012. (link)

Among the requirements states had to agree to in applying for Race to the Top funds (rounds 1 and 2), were adopting yet-unwritten Common Core standards, becoming a member in one of the assessment consortia, and adopting a P-20 longitudinal database to track student information including confidential biometric information. (link) (page 4 defines biometric)

In the summer of 2009, the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Governors Association, and ACHIEVE, Inc. agree to partner on a common core standards project. (link) The Gates Foundation funds this effort starting in 2009, and through 2011, with over $20 million (Pmt 1, Pmt 2, Pmt 3, Pmt 4)

The federal government is barred from creating national standards (G.E.P.A. law and 9th and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution) so they allowed this orchestration to happen and committed to funding other elements of the takeover.

In the fall of 2009, the U.S. Dept. of Education signaled it would fund $360M for summative assessments aligned to Common Core Standards and began planning meetings. Two consortia begin competing for this funding: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). States begin adopting Common Core Standards and joined one of the consortia in order to receive No Child Left Behind waivers from the U.S. Department of Education Secretary, Arne Duncan. (link) Since the federal government is funding the assessments, they now had a “stakeholders” right to the data provided by those assessments which would be stored in state longitudinal database systems (SLDS). SLDS would now contain information previously protected by HIPAA due to regulation changes by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (link) Thus the federal government would receive access to educational, medical, and biometric data almost in direct fulfillment of Mark Tucker’s desired cradle to grave database.

In October 2009, the Gates Foundation gave the Thomas B. Fordham Institute $1 million to review the Common Core standards. (link) The Fordham group has traditionally reviewed state standards and unremarkably gave Common Core high marks (link). The Common Core Validation Committee did not all give high marks to these new standards.

Also in this time frame, the Gates Foundation donated $1.5 million to Mark Tucker’s NCEE organization. (link)

In December 2009, the Gates Foundation paid the National PTA $1 million to mobilize the PTA for Common Core Standards. (link 1)(link 2)

In June, 2010, the National Governors Association and State Education Chiefs launched Common State Academic Standards. (link)

In April 2011, the SBAC Overview Curriculum and Assessment Conference issued a report stating that governing member states must adopt Common Core by Dec. 31, 2011. (link 1)

In September 2011, Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced “Today, I promise you that [the Department of Education] will be a committed partner in the national effort to build a more environmentally literate and responsible society… We must advance the sustainability movement through education… Education and sustainability are the keys to our economic future-and our ecological future.” (link) Sustainability is a key buzzword for the U.N. Agenda 21 movement which the UNESCO/Gates 2004 contract are ultimately aiming for.

In November 2011, the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) education task force developed model legislation calling for the demise of the Common Core Standards, but shelved it after receiving a $376,635 grant from the Gates Foundation. (link)

Bill Gates also speaks at the November G20 Summitin Cannes and issued his report, “Innovation With Impact: Financing 21st Century Development” stating, “My report will address the financing needed to achieve maximum progress on the Millennium Development Goals, and to make faster progress on development over the next decade.” (link)

In 2012, states not on Common Core and not meeting the Annual Yearly Progress requirements of NCLB petition congress for relief. Lawmakers working on options were undercut when the Obama White House circumvented Congress to grant waivers from NCLB if states adopted Common Core. (link)

In February 2012, the Utah State Office of Education issued a press release that they had partnered with Choice Solutions to implement the required longitudinal database system as the P-20W to track all students in the state from preschool, through age 20, and into the workforce. (link) This same month the USOE filed its waiver application to get out of No Child Left Behind and stated they would “fully adopt Common Core as written” as one of their commitments. (link pg. 30, 34, 132)

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott stated that the common standards movement amounted to a “desire for a federal takeover of public education.”(link) and Governor Rick Perry’s Common Core rejection letter cited a $3 billion implementation, better state standards, and loss of state control over education, as Texas’ reasons for not adopting the standards. (link)

Now, additional states (who originally signed on), including Massachusetts, Iowa, Kansas, South Carolina and Virginia, are expressing concerns about the common standards initiative. (link)

Gov. Nikki Haley just signed a letter supporting legislation in South Carolina to block CCSS implementation stating, “South Carolina shouldn’t relinquish control to a consensus of states any more than the federal government.” (link)

The SBAC calls the standards requirements federal and States must get the U.S. Department of Education’s approval to exit the SBAC. (link)

Larry Shumway, Utah State Superintendent, a member of the CCSSO Board of Directors, a member of the Board of Directors at West Ed which is the project management partner for SBAC assessments, recommends Utah retain its relationship as a governing member of the SBAC (thus forcing Utah to use their tests). However, after the Utah legislature took steps to potentially force the state into reconsidering Common Core, the Superintendent wrote Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asserting our state’s rights to use these standards any way we choose. (link) The letter was written to reassure the legislature that this wasn’t a federal takeover. Sec. Duncan affirmed this position in a written letter back to Superintendent Shumway (link). This letter contradicted the mandatory language used in  Duncan’s “Cooperative Agreement” document Utah obligated itself to. That document demands that SBAC and PARCC “foster synchronization” of consortia tests and share data with the Dept. of Education, as data must be given to the Dept. of Education “on an ongoing basis.” (link)

In a March 6, radio interview with Utah talk show host Rod Arquette, Mr. Shumway stated the reason for writing the letter as, “…I’m bothered by things I hear the secretary [Duncan] say in speeches and the President say in speeches where they take credit for these [Common Core] standards. And I’m bothered by the Department of Education making requirements that are associated with these standards.” (link)

Wait a minute, Mr. Shumway…if these are state-led, state-controlled standards, why would there be a need to write to Secretary Duncan, rather than to the National Governors’ Association or CCSSO, groups said to be in control of Common Core? Why would the Dept. of Education be making requirements tied to the common standards?  Why are the standards non-amendable by us, copyrighted by the NGA? (link) And why is the Gates Foundation now funding biometric devices capable of assessing student interest in a lesson? (link)

The list of questions could go on and on, yet there is little doubt that given the evidence, the Common Core Standards Initiative was not initated by any state-led effort of the NGA and CCSSO.  Regardless of who first initiated it, clearly, it was incentivized by the Department of Education.  It was clearly also promoted, funded, and propelled by the Gates Foundation in order to bring about a global education system in accordance with its agreement with UNESCO.

Common Core has been in the works for decades and the various components associated with it were just waiting for the standards to push through in order to activate the network of organizations that would unconstitutionally take over state freedoms over education.

To see where Common Core fits into the scheme of related programs that make up the globalization of education, check out this visual diagram created by ROPE (Restoring Oklahoma Public Education)  Read ROPE’s full document here.

RTTT Grant Connections

A little addendum since this article was posted a long time ago. Much more could be added but this little bit is just further proof

In 2008, David Coleman helped convince Bill Gates to bankroll this effort, and then began the major effort to convince the governors that they should sign on. Listen to David say it himself, and how Common Core was created by a few people in a room on a napkin.

Finally, even the feds have admitted they coerced the states into adoption.

Special thanks to the many people involved in digging this information up. Much work has been done by people all around the country to put this information together and help follow the money trail. Please do your part now in passing this information on to everyone you know so they can be educated about what the Common Core Initiative is really all about.

Videos on Common Core

For those that want to listen in the background or watch presentations on Common Core, here’s a selection to choose from.

Oklahoma’s ROPE Restore Oklahoma Public Education – unamendability = liberty sold

Oklahoma’s ROPE – fuzzy math in Common Core

Parent reads Mathematician James Milgram’s review of Investigations (fuzzy) math in a school meeting

3 Utah Teachers & Mothers Against Common Core   (Christel Swasey, Alisa Ellis, and Renee Braddy)

Utah – Two Moms Against Common Core  (Alisa Ellis and Renee Braddy)

Heritage Foundation against Common Core

Rick Perry of Texas

Oklahoma’s ROPE – no public or legislative vetting of federalized education


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. :)


Reigniting the Math Wars over the Death of Calculus

When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, I was always very good in math, but I was lazy about it. It came naturally to me but I disliked homework so I avoided doing it. When I hit Junior High, I hit a brick wall that really threw me. Algebra was confusing. I wound up needing tutoring one summer and in the end took algebra 1 in 9th grade. By this point I’d been thinking about careers and thought it would be my desire to be an aerospace engineer and a pilot in the Air Force (the dreams we have… :) ). I knew I needed calculus by 12th grade but I would not be able to do it taking algebra 1 in 9th grade. So in 10th grade I doubled up and took geometry and algebra 2 to get back on track and I was able to take calculus in 12th grade.

In Utah, this would have also been possible in the past, but now with the way Utah adopted Common Core it will be extremely difficult for students who are late bloomers or late to get serious about school. Since Common Core, as adopted by Utah, completes algebra 1 in 9th grade, most students will wind up needing pre-calculus in 12th grade after completing Math 3 in 11th grade. Junior high placement in an honors track would be the path to calculus and most children don’t fall into that category. So much for the tech community needs in Utah.

When Utah adopted the Common Core standards, there were two methods for adopting math. Option one was as discrete years of study where algebra, geometry, etc… were taken as individual courses. Option 2 was an integrated approach where these courses weave and blend together each year and students get a little of each subject as they might relate to each other. Utah and Vermont were the only two states in the country to choose the integrated approach in spite of the fact that the public was told one of the great things about Common Core was portability of students between states.

Utah’s educrats at the USOE were warned by BYU math professor David Wright, that in choosing this integrated approach there would be no textbooks available that would provide for this integrated sequencing. USOE brushed his concerns aside and said they would develop the materials themselves. So they hired some of the biggest constructivist-leaning math educators* in the state to produce what has turned out to be utter garbage. I don’t believe any of these people are PhD’s and I recognize a couple of the names as junior high and high school teachers in Alpine School District. These people should NOT be writing curriculum. Imagine 9th graders (especially boys) being excited about math when they get these assignments:

Lesson Titles from Module 1 on systems of equations and inequalities:

Pet Sitters

Too Big or Not Too Big, That is the Question

Some of One, None of the Other

Pampering and Feeding Time

All for One, One for All

Get to the Point

Shopping for Cats and Dogs

Can You Get to the Point, Too?

Food for Fido and Fluffy

Taken Out of Context

Pet Sitters Revisited

These sound like titles for 2nd graders, not 9th graders. You can check it out here:

I asked some people from around the country who have worked on standards and curriculum for their review comments on this “curriculum” and this one summed up the situation pretty well.

Sorry. Wanted to help, but there is not enough here to criticize. It isn’t a text or a curriculum.

For starters, you can’t learn anything by reading it.

Dr. Stephen Wilson, Johns Hopkins University Math Professor

Susan Holladay in Idaho commented:

This just makes me want to cry. I hope the State Department increases the I90’s so that we can have plenty of foreigners who can fill our needs in math related industries. What a sad joke!

The constructivist educators are constantly espousing they want children to have a deeper understanding of math and deal with real world problems, yet they give children no instruction or examples to learn or study with. By the time children are done with this math program, these titles may truly reflect real world math problems students are capable of. I don’t imagine we’ll see any titles like “Building the Brooklyn Bridge” (which appears now to have been sold to Utahns).

Parents will also have great difficulty helping their children with math because there are no example problems to remember how to do the problems with. This fulfills the Progressive’s idea of separating parents from children and making teachers the “smart ones” in children’s eyes who know how to solve the problems.

Two separate parents emailed me last week illustrating the death of calculus to be true. The first was a letter sent to the USOE.

Ms. Suddreth,

My daughter is in ninth grade at Wasatch High School, where Common Core was implemented this year.

I want you to know that neither she nor any other ninth grader who took the Common Core math learned anything at all this year.  It was a waste of time, money, and children’s minds!

It may be a surprise to you that Algebra I is assigned to 9th graders under Common Core.  Before, last year, Algebra I was assigned to 8th graders.

Please provide an explanation.  I have seen the words “rigor,” “college readiness” and “high standards” applied in conjunction with Common Core at the USOE website and at our local Wasatch District website.  This is false advertising.

I have made this math robbery very clear to my local board and principal.

They tell me their hands are tied because the state school board has pushed Common Core on them.

Please let me know what you plan to do about it.

   Went to a district meeting this week up here in Park City touting the wonders of the Common Core math which we have been experiencing all year.  In a room full of angry parents, they explained in an attempt to get us to cut them some slack, that the reason the kids really didn’t learn anything this year and only did a repeat of material they already learned (ie: my daughter did 5th grade level math in 8th grade all year) was because the teachers really have not learned yet how to teach this new way of teaching math, and they still do not have any textbooks.  But they hope to have some online textbooks by next year.  When asked why on earth they would start this when they clearly were not ready,  the presenter said it was because the kids now in 9th grade need to be able to pass some test at the end of 11th grade so they wanted them to be ready. When asked why are we so concerned about the tests and not having the proper curriculum to be teaching off of, she totally slipped up and said, “because this is how the FEDERAL GOV’T wants us to implement it.  She practically gasped once it was out of her mouth as if to try and suck the words back in from out of the air and quickly corrected herself saying, “well not the gov’t but the state lead consortium.

They showed an example of some of the 6th grade math.  What a joke.  “Lets say your going to divide a fraction into another fraction.  Well before we can do that we need to get the students thinking “deeper”.  Why would you need to divide a fraction?  And what exactly is division? Why is division a necessary thing to know/learn. Once we know the kids understand the deeper meaning of what it is they are going to be doing, then we can proceed in teaching them”   WHAT!!!!!!!??????????  They told us that the kids would  be interacting with each other more to “find the deeper meaning of things” and the teachers would be interacting less with the students and they would be using less material.  WHAT!!!!??????

One mom  pointed out that the ACT & SAT tests are revised only every 10 years and thinks they were revised just a few years ago. So when her 8th grader is in 11th grade taking these tests, how will they prepare these kids for the tests since the new math and whatever other Common Core wonders they will be using by then will be different material than what is asked of them on the ACT & SAT tests.  Her response was that  “46 states have adopted it, so they will have to adapt the tests somehow”  In other words, she really didn’t know.  To which I added, “Not all school districts in 46 states have handed their kids laptops as ours has, my daughter has not hand written anything in 2 years now, and they spell check , they are losing their ability to write & spell and the ACT & SAT tests have a hand written in cursive essay.  And my understanding is that as of last year at least our district stopped teaching cursive in 3rd grade, they just don’t see the need for it anymore. How will they prepare the kids for essay writing for those tests?  SHE HAD NO ANSWER, just said yes they realize this may be a problem someday.  WHAT????  They have not thought any of this garbage through.

I also asked how were the Universities going to view kids college applications/transcripts that list 9th, 10th & 11th grade math.  No Algebra, No geometry, to Pre Calc or Trig.  She tried telling us that it was the Universities who were asking for this kind of math to be taught so the kids would be more college ready.   Yeah right!

Our state office of education is in need of an ideological cleansing. It’s time to look at what works and mimic it, before trying to go our own way with proven failures. Constructivism is a proven failure. Singapore math is a proven winner (as are several other strong curricula). If the state of Utah was serious about adopting high standards and excellent curriculum, they would switch to a proven world leader in math and mimic it.  Singapore. Common Core was never about setting high standards, it was about getting money from the federal government through Race to the Top grants.

*If you are unfamiliar with constructivism (also called discovery learning), it is a philosophy that has ignited what has been termed the “math wars” because of it’s approach to teaching which emphasizes group work and students developing strategies to solve problems. There are merits to this approach when used sparingly and in ways to open up the mind for teaching, but it has been carried to the extreme where the philosophy has become the entire curriculum. It is highly popular and everyone is told there are so many studies that support this method of teaching. In reality, there are no studies that support this style of teaching. If you want more information please see these two pages which fully expose this false philosophy.

Project Follow Through – the largest education study ever performed

A study of studies showing no peer reviewed studies exist supporting constructivism

Conflicts of Interest in Adopting Common Core

Jim Stergios, writing for the Boston Globe, uncovered a trail of conflicts of interest that resulted in Massachusetts adopting Common Core and lowering their own standards to do it. Read how the governor and other education officials were pressured and bribed to make the move. Naturally, the Gates Foundation is involved since the Common Core standards were created by their funding and it’s their job to ensure everyone adopts them. Follow the money here:

Self-Dealing Among Education Officials by Jim Stergios


Children are Unique

In manufacturing parts from materials, we strive to create uniformity and consistency. In raising children, everyone knows within their home that their children are all unique with diverse interests, talents, and abilities.

Progressives largely view children as objects which can be acted upon and shaped to their specifications. For decades they have sought to create the perfect widget in education so they could take children and mold them into pieces ready to be fitted to the purpose for which they have planned. They have wanted to track children from birth into the workforce and now they have just about succeeded by implementing Common Core.

In February 2012, the Utah Education Network released a press release announcing the selection of Choice Solutions as the partner to implement the P20W database to track our children from pre-school, through college, and into the workforce. Marc Tucker’s dream of a cradle to grave system which he wrote to Hillary Clinton in 1992 is coming to fruition and we are jumping in with both feet thanks to bureaucrats who jump into federal money like it’s an inviting hot tub.

Someone sent me this article yesterday (One-Size Education Doesn’t Fit by Donald Devine) which goes back a step further to a 1989 National Governor’s Association meeting chaired by Bill Clinton where national standards were a major topic and eventually led to No Child Left Behind. Now Common Core promises to complete the circle by bringing national standards and assessments under the federal umbrella and store all our children’s personal information (including medical) in a near cradle-to-grave system of widget manufacturing. Children aren’t widgets! They aren’t things to be acted upon. They have free will and need a system that allows for them to work within their own personal capabilities and interests.

A radical idea to transform what kids learn in school by Marion Brady in the Washington Post

Educate for human variety not uniformity by Lynn Stoddard

We should be setting the bar high, but recognize the infinite variety within each child and allow for them to have an educational path that meets their needs and desires and allows them to achieve the goals and dreams they have.

If you are not familiar with the articles listed above, I strongly encourage you to at least browse through them to become familiar with the concepts.



The Incredibly Biased Common Core Survey

Last week someone alerted me to a survey on Common Core that was posted on It appeared to be sponsored by KSL and the post author was Bryan Schott. The survey was incredibly biased as you can see below. In addition, I received an email that had been forwarded out by Diana Suddreth at the Utah State Office of Education where she instructed staff to:

Please distribute this very important survey to interested stakeholders.  We won’t talk about the statistical implications of a survey dependent on people logging in to take it…unless we have to.

How embarrassing is that? Naturally, if the survey went their way, they would claim it as accurate. If it didn’t, they would talk about how it’s a not a valid representation of opinions. Fortunately for them, they got one of their own to write the survey to make sure it came out just like they wanted.

Here is how the survey was posted when people were taking it, and how it NOW appears on the UtahPolicy results page (click to see all results and leave a comment). This is a textbook example of how to intentionally deceive the public and the creator of the survey and the people that posted it should be ashamed of themselves.

When askedAs now presented after tallying
An emerging debate in public education is Common Core standards.1. In your opinion, which side is right?
Supporters who say these voluntary standards were developed collaboratively by leaders in many states, not by the federal government, to establish more rigorous achievement goals that will prepare students to compete in a global economy.No change
Opponents, especially arch-conservatives, who fear Common Core standards will compromise Utah values, threaten local control of education, and impose one-size-fits-all requirements.Opponents who fear Common Core standards will compromise Utah values, threaten local control of education, and impose one-size-fits-all requirements.

Note the bolded text. The first phrase “especially arch-conservatives” doesn’t even appear in the question any more but was there for all the vote taking. Other words denote very negative feelings and the entire answer is colored in such a way as to create a negative impression. Further, it seeks to isolate Democrats who might oppose Common Core because they value local control and more freedom for teachers and students. What Democrats would want to associate themselves with “arch-conservatives?” The results bear this out as 0% of Democratic Insiders voted for the opponents of Common Core. The survey did it’s intended job.

The writer then published 39 comments, 17 in the section following this question. Only 3 on the entire page seemed clearly against common core. I personally received several emails from people who left negative comments and none of those were published. Any respectable publication would never have engaged in this type of childish politicking. For a major news organization (KSL) and a website (UtahPolicy) that claims their mission is to “help leaders in the Utah Public Policy Industry obtain those skills and insights, save time and perform their jobs better,” I give them both an “F” on this humiliating effort.

When they decide to actually do an objective job of researching and reporting, it would be interesting to see how public opinion actually sways since most of the public doesn’t even know what Common Core is. We’re still waiting for the USOE to respond to the direct rebuttal of their “fact” flier. We sent it to them, the state school board, legislators, and the media. They weren’t happy about it, which might be why they wanted to put this survey out.