First, I want to thank the State Board for allowing the meeting to occur last night. There are many questions that need addressed that citizens have concerns over and a public forum was a good way to get those aired.
For those of you in attendance or listening in to last night’s public meeting the state board held, you already know that there were two lines for people speaking either in favor of Common Core, or raising concerns about it.
The state PTA, UEA, and apparently some from the USOE, sent out urgent pleas to their members asking them to come speak in favor of the standards. In fact, Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, the president of the UEA (who notably signs her emails “2009 Teacher of the Year”), sent an email to leaders and staff that “the far-right has launched an attack on the Utah Common Core and are misrepresenting the facts surrounding the creation and implementation of the Core Standards. It is critical that we have as many teachers present at this meeting to address the realities related to the Common Core.”
“Realities related to the Common Core” were not presented by those speaking in favor of the core. Among them, no facts concerning the creation and implementation of Common Core were presented at all. It was entirely an effort to praise the USOE and speak about how wonderful these new standards are as if the standards were the sole issue of concern.
Proving that this is not a “far-right” effort, at least one lifetime Democrat stood with those who were against the standards and drew applause after speaking of his concern that we are making all children the same with Common Core and there is no leeway to allow for human variety.
A wide variety of questions were raised by parents speaking against Common Core. Many of these comments referenced actual documents as opposed to the other side where arguments dealt only with subjective experiences in using the Common Core.
In my own remarks, I summarized the math history issue which proves the USOE was never in this to raise math standards in Utah but to attempt to get federal money through the Race to the Top grant.
Shortly after I spoke, Dr. Hugo Rossi from the University of Utah math department publicly contradicted me. I was in the hall when he made the comments and someone told me he contradicted me so I invited him into the hall and asked what he’d taken issue with in my comments. When he told me, I realized he misheard something I said. He thought I was saying the new math standards we got in 2007 were rated a D from the Fordham Foundation. When I told him that was incorrect and I’d said the standards prior to that were a D and the new ones which he helped create got an A-, he apologized and said he would apologize to the audience except that he probably wouldn’t be allowed to speak a second time. It was just a simple mistake on his part but it was unfortunate that it couldn’t be corrected for the group.
It remains to be seen if the State Board or State Office of Education will take the questions and comments seriously and respond to them appropriately, or just ignore them as if this meeting were a simple checklist item to be able to represent that they held a meeting and listened to public input.
Press reports were published last night shortly after the meeting and can be found here: