Evidence of a National Education Takeover

Due to the onslaught of new information, this page is a little bit outdated. There is still a lot of great stuff here, but the latest research and information has only been posted to the blog.

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Evidence and Concerns

A rising number of teachers, parents and taxpayers are expressing concerns about Utah’s adoption of the Common Core Initiative (CCI), its accompanying federal standards for states (CCSS) and its federally overseen and controlled testing arm (SBAC). Why?

1. Utah did not seek out CCI; the initiative was presented as an eligibility enhancement by the U.S. Department of Education in its The Race To The Top grant. Joining the SBAC, too, improved eligibility in the grant application. When Utah agreed to join the CCI and SBAC in 2009, the standards had not yet been written.

Utah joined both the CCI and the SBAC to win points toward getting the grant, and although Utah won no money, the extremely expensive and educationally restricting consequences of having agreed to sign up for CCI and SBAC remain.

2. Utah has two new, conflicting sets of educational standards to juggle– the Utah Common Core, to which we currently teach, and the CCSS, to which our tests are being written. Utah is not likely to stick with the Utah Common Core when testing begins based on the federal CCSS in 2014. The appendix to the SBAC states that the tests will be based on the CCSS (federal) standards, and the SBAC project manager, WestEd, has affirmed:

“In order for this [testing] system to have a real impact within a state, the state will need to adopt the Common Core State Standards (i.e., not have two sets of standards.)” -April 2012 statement from WestEd Assessments and Standards Senior Research Associate

3. There is no amendment process for the CCSS (federal standards) and withdrawing from the SBAC requires consortium and federal approval (page 12). If we delay the state will be too financially invested and legally entangled to withdraw.

4. There has been no cost analysis, legal analysis, legislative input or public input regarding CCI/SBAC.  Implementation of CCI has already begun in Utah schools; full implementation of the initiative and its tests will be completed in the 2014-2015 school year.

An independent think tank in Massachusetts states that the cost over the first 7 years to states will be 16 billion dollars, or over 200 million per state, on top of regular educational needs. The Congressional Budget Office was not asked to do a cost analysis because asking would have pointed out that this was not a state-led initiative, contrary to the claims of its proponents. States’ commitments to CCI require billions of dollars in implementation and maintenance spending, money that competes with already-stretched educational budgets.

5. Utah leaders have signed Utah on as a governing member of the SBAC. As a governing member we get one vote out of 21 governing states to influence deviations from the original assessment structure and scope, consortium policy, and consortium governance. Utah can be held hostage by other states.

6. The U.S. Department of Education (through the America COMPETES Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Race to the Top competition) has required the states to develop massive databases about school children.

7. The Common Core initiative represents an overreach of federal power into personal privacy as well as into state educational autonomy. There will be personal student information collected via the centralized testing-data collection, accessible to the Executive Branch. SBAC assessments’ inclusion of  psychometric testing for database profiling purposes and is a violation of Utah law per code section 53A-13-302.

8. Both of the CCI’s testing arms (SBAC and PARCC) must coordinate tests and share information “across consortia” as well as giving the U.S. Department of Education phone responses, written status updates and access to information “on an ongoing basis.” Data will be triangulated with control, oversight and centralization by the Executive Branch (U.S. Dept. of Education). “Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. DOE and the SBAC

9. The Department of Education has eviscerated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by issuing new regulations that allow nonconsensual tracking and sharing of this personal data with other federal agencies, with government agencies in other states, and with private entities.

10. Utah has ceded her voice and educational sovereignty because Utah’s top educational leaders are persuaded that having standards and testing in common with other states matters more than holding onto the state’s right to raise standards sky-high. To Utah education leaders, the right to soar seems a freedom not worth fighting for, and maintaining state educational sovereignty is not a priority.

In an April 2012 statement from the Utah State Office of Education’s legal department: ” The whole point is to get to a place where there is a ‘common core’ – that would mean the same standards for all the states that adopt it.  If the states had the freedom to ‘disagree’ and ‘change’ them, I guess they would no longer be ‘common’.”

11. The effort to nationalize and centralize education results in severe loss of state control of education and pushes states into a minimalist, common set of standards.  Dr. Sandra Stotsky, an official member of the CCSS Validation Committee, refused to sign off on the adequacy of the standards and testified that “Common Core has yet to provide a solid evidentiary base for its minimalist conceptualization of college readiness–and for equating college readiness with career readiness. Moreover…it had no evidence on both issues.”

12. The Common Core standards are experimental, expensive, controversial, and have not been piloted.

13. Common Core standards are not considered among the best standards in the nation, and there are clearly superior standards.  Additionally, the CCI robs states of the sovereign right to raise state standards in the future. There’s no provision for  amending the CCSS federal standards, were we to choose to still remain bound by them.

14. The Common Core English standards reduce the study of literature in favor of informational texts designed to train children in a school-to-work agenda. The unsophisticated composition of those selected to write the Common Core Standards and the lack of transparency about the standards-writing process also raises concerns.

15. CCSS states a goal to promote “career and college ready standards,” a euphemism for “school-to-work” programs, diluting individual choice by directing children where to go and what to learn. They make no distinction between 2-year, 4-year or vocational standards.

16. Common Core has not proven to be state-led nor strictly voluntary; the U.S. Department of Education Secretary rages against states who reject the Common Core Initiative.

When South Carolina Governor Haley backed away from the “voluntary” CCSS, she drew a sharp response from Arne Duncan, the federal Secretary of Education.  Duncan also publicly insulted all Texas students on television, saying “I feel very badly for Texas school children,” following Texas Governor Perry’s refusal to join the CC initiative. (Yet Texas math standards are higher than Common Core standards.)  Messages in public letters from Duncan to Utah leaders conflict with multiple, legally binding documents signed by his team at the U.S. Department of Education.

Utah’s State Superintendent admits that the U.S. Dept. of Education is already putting requirements on the state of Utah associated with the Common Core standards.

17.  The Common Core Initiative, far from being state-designed, is the product of the U.S. Department of Education funding and directing special interest groups (NGA, CCSSO, NCEE, Achieve, Inc., WestEd, and others) via federal grants.

18.  The Common Core Initiative violates fundamental laws that protect states’ independence. The Federal Government’s creation of national curricular materials, through contractors, and its control and oversight of testing and data collection, and its tests written to federal, nationalized standards, are in violation of three existing laws: NCLB, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the General Education Provisions Act; States have a responsibility to protect the balance of powers granted in the Constitution.

19.  Transparency and  public debate about Common Core are lacking.  Utah educational leaders have a responsibility to encourage public discussion and lively debate about Common Core, because the initiative will impact children, taxpayers and teachers for a long time to come.

A spiral of silence has descended upon Utah educators, many of whom fear losing their jobs if they speak up against Common Core.  There is intense pressure to agree with the Common Core Initiative at the State School Board level as well. Applicants for School Board membership must take a survey before a committee selects its pool of potential candidates. The first survey question asks: “Do you support Common Core?”

How could one with a differing view ever be elected?


160 thoughts on “Evidence”

  1. Thank you so much for the info. It is amazing that we have a governor that would sign onto something, good or bad, without doing any research, doing a financial analysis or demanding proof of its benefits. I still cannot figure out why he is not demanding a repeal of its implementation having so much evidence of its federal connections and consequences.

    1. In August of 2012 Utah withdrew from the SBAC. So your evidence comment is no longer valid. Utah is not part of the SBAC. Utah is developing its own adaptive assessment tests based on the Common Core Standards for Math and English. Link to the article is below.


      Here is a link to a PDF explaining Utah’s accountability measure (UCAS) and SAGE.


      1. Jeanne, as far as I know, Utah hasn’t received their official notification of severing ties. Regardless, Utah has never left SBAC. Last year when they announced they were leaving SBAC, someone inside the state office of education let me know they were writing their RFP in a way that only an SBAC partner organization would be chosen as Utah’s assessment partner. I was criticized for publishing that information, and was hoping that by publishing it would prevent its occurrence, but in the end, the state chose AIR to do the assessments. AIR is SBAC’s official partner to administer assessments. The USOE chose AIR and Superintendent Menlove was quoted as saying they were the “only organization” developing statewide systems. This in spite of the fact that a few schools or a district is piloting a computer adaptive test successfully right now which is not AIR. In Minnesota a week or two ago, AIR servers crashed when 15,000 students tried to take the test. You can find that post on our recent posts above. Here’s a link to what AIR’s background is if you’re interested.

        1. The Utah State School Board voted to leave SBAC. If we voted to leave SBAC then we have left SBAC. Are you suggesting that a vote of the Utah State school board is not valid?

          1. Nobody said we can’t leave SBAC. It’s just that initially one of the requirements to leave it was federal approval. It appears SBAC modified their contract on March 15, 2013 to remove that requirement, no doubt because of pressure from groups like ours.

        2. The point is that you claim that Utah can never leave SBAC, but we did leave it officially by a vote of the State School Board.

          Whether AIR provides assessment services to multiple people is not really to the point. McGraw-Hill provides text books to lots of folks, that doesn’t make them part of an international conspiracy. Some companies are very good at what they do and therefore garner a large market share. McDonald’s sells a lot of hamburgers, Microsoft sells a lot of software, that doesn’t make it evil to do business with them and it doesn’t imply a hamburger conspiracy.

          1. If you don’t support the agenda that a company has, why do business with them when there are alternatives? Vote with your dollars. In AIR’s case, their agenda IS evil so Utah giving them $39 million over the next few years for assessments would be better spent with another company that better meets Utah standards.

    2. How can you prove it’s benefits or know the cost if the decision is new and unprecedented.

      Also, I don’t think people realize the involvement of the federal government before the CC. I’ve hear rumors that we adopted CC just to get out of the Fed’s NCLB.

    3. Enter in the age old cliche’, “Follow the money”. I think many people would be astonished to know just how many government officials would sell out their own mothers in exchange for a shot at pomp and power. In my opinion, the moment a politician is caught violating his/her constitutional oath of office, the individual should be terminated from their position immediately. Unfortunately the majority of people in this great nation have been lulled to sleep by disingenuous politicians who couldn’t care less about their constituent base being represented. And just for the record, we the people do not need the federal government, but rather they need us, and until such time that the majority of people in this country wake up to this fact, we will continue to remain enslaved by a bogus set of standards socially designed by the global elitists, who will go to any lengths to hold on to their power and control over “We the people”. We need to stop doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. Wake up people, politicians are not and have not solved society’s problems because for the most part, most of them have no intention of following constitutional law as they see it as archaic, unnecessary, and quite frankly, a thorn in their sides. We need to stop groveling at the feet of BIG BROTHER, and start implementing constitutional law whether they approve or not. I don’t know about anybody else, but I didn’t come to this planet to be enslaved by a group of self serving, narcissistic, eugenicists, who are on the verge of totally destroying the family unit, and eventually eradicating 7/8ths of the world’s population, because according to them, there are just too many of us here. I refuse to give these people the power to tell me how I must educate my children. I will educate them in accordance with their learning desires and aptitudes, and let the chips fall where they may. I realize that I have made some bold statements here, but I must remain true to myself and family. I would like to close with two quotes that I hold dear to my heart, and have helped me make sense of this very dysfunctional world. #1- “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” ~ Albert Einstein ~ and #2- “Competition breeds contempt, which breeds chaos, which breeds war, which breeds death” ~ Master Ni Hua Ching ~. May GOD bless you and keep you all !

  2. The governor has an agency that did the research, and made the decision – it is the USOE. Of course he is not demanding a repeal of it because there are no evidences of negative “federal consequences”. Just because the us dept of ed supports the common core doesn’t make it evil or bad. And utah’s students need these more rigorous standards in language arts. Thank goodness some clear thinking people are in charge of our children’s education and have decided to do what’s best for kids instead of engaging in this false and manufactured “crisis” that the anti-feds are using as their cause of the day.

    1. Carolyn, I urge you to read Sandra Stotsky’s review above. There are other English standards that are better than Common Core. Why do we need to sign onto CC standards and the federal baggage instead of just using great standards? I don’t see how you can say there are no evidences of negative federal consequences when Larry Shumway the state superintendent has already expressed his concern that the Department of Education is pressuring Utah in ways related to the standards. http://www.utahsrepublic.org/state-superintendent-reveals-federal-pressure/

      I encourage you to read the links above before believing what the USOE has told people.

      1. Perhaps because I don’t believe federal pressure is bad when it is trying to get us to close the achievement gap. Utah has failed for many years to serve its needy students in academically effective ways. while most states surrounding us are closing their achievement gap, utah’s is widening. and utah citizens, educators and leaders either don’t want to or don’t have the expertise needed to address these educational needs in our state. federal pressure, like nCLB, helped to wake up our education leaders and parents and forced states to implement research based programs, at least in title 1 schools. we are seeing improvements, but it is small scale and must increase substantially if we are to stop this crisis of loss of human capital as each year goes by and more students drop out or fail. crime goes up, our communities are weakened. you are speaking in broad, general policy terms. i am speaking out for our children’s academic needs, today. we must embrace anything that may be helpful to them, and the ccss are stronger than our current state standards, so i embrace them. if you want to get busy working on even better standards for utah, then please form a coalition to do so. if they are truly better than ccss – which i believe you could do, perhaps quite easily, then educators will embrace them, and parents will force them to. but i recommend that you don’t waste your time on broad national policy issues that are not going to address the immediate and critical academic needs of our students. this is the same national group that fought nclb, when in fact it did more to help our at-risk and minority students than any other policy initiative in history – and it helped parents by giving them the information to make choices and the right to remove their children from failing schools. was it federal “control”? Yes. did it help students? yes. does our state need federal pressure? unfortunately, yes. utah isn’t exactly known for moving forward with the best solutions without being forced (neither are many states). but the bottom line is: what is best for the education of our students – today? at least the ccss gives us a chance to improve in some areas and bring our students a more rigorous education, almost immediately.

        1. Carolyn, I have looked at some early Common Core “Integrated Math” textbooks, they are a major step BACKWARD for Utah. CCore “Integrated Math” gets rid of Algebra, Geometry, Trig, etc and instead stirs these subjects with a stick, touching lightly on each subject over 4 years of high school math. 90% of the direct instruction in a normal math textbook is gone, as are 90% of the examples, and 100% of the practice exercises. That’s right, ZERO practice exercises. The books are 90% word problems, and the total problem count is dramatically lower than your average textbook. These books are a recipe for more remedial math students in college.

          1. Text books are not part of the Common Core. No text is specified or required by the Common Core standards. Are some text book manufacturers making text books to match the CCSI? Sure! But we don’t have to buy them. We can use what ever text we want and modify them as needed to teach to the Common Core.

          2. Jeanne, I don’t think you understand what “An Educator” is saying. The integrated approach that only Utah and Vermont adopted aren’t being catered to by publishers. Once again, tiny states will lose out because of foolish choices in the adoption process. So what does our state do? Create their own textbook for students without any examples, and just problem sets. It’s not a textbook. The very first problem in their secondary math 1 book was an exercise in groupthink.

          3. There is no longer a need to treat algebra, geometry, trig as separate subjects. Just as we no longer teach biology as botany and zoology any more. I have seen many students switch off of complete subjects when treated separately. Most colleges and jobs these days need interdisciplinary skills and common core is trying to address a problem that needed a solution a long time ago.

          4. Anonymous, there are a number of people who would disagree and say that students should have a discrete year of geometry to build structured proof skills. In my opinion, there is probably nothing wrong with having an integrated approach to math, IF you have quality textbooks written for it, and you provide legitimate ways for students to advance faster. In this case, there are no textbooks available so the USOE hired 5 constructivist Utah school teachers to write textbooks. There are no example problems in the books so parents can’t help their children with their homework by refreshing their memory or even for students to see an example at home of how to work the problems. There is a clear element of indoctrination in some of the problems. There is no portability of students with other states (and that was a selling point from the USOE) because everyone but Vermont and Utah adopted discrete years of math. Common Core is not solving any of these interdisciplinary problems. If you want a real solution, I’d say align physics and calculus, not geometry and algebra.

          5. Oak, Yes text book publishers do cater to the integrated approach. This is a capitalist system, they will cater to the market place or die.

            There are textbooks for integrated Math. I started a charter school in American Fork called Aristotle Academy last fall and we are using Glencoe Math for MIddle school and Connecting Math Concepts for K-5. They align with the Common Core and are great for teaching students the basics.

          6. Yes, some big publishers are now publishing integrated texts. When Utah adopted CC, that was not the case. The USOE was warned by Dr. David Wright in BYU’s math department when they announced they would adopt the integrated method that there were no texts for it and they said essentially, “don’t worry, we have everything covered.” They then proceeded to publish their own books without examples problems or instructions on how to understand concepts. It’s just a problem set, not a textbook. Dixie Allen just told Uintah parents a week or two ago that Utah can’t afford textbooks because we spend so little on education, so the USOE created their own. The Mathematics Vision Project. Look up the secondary math 1 book and you’ll find the first problem they created is an exercise in groupthink. Or just search “groundhog” on this site. Utah schools have always been able to purchase textbooks, and the USOE and state board are saying Common Core essentially cost nothing to adopt, so we should have money for real textbooks. Just don’t expect a lot of competition in the integrated CC path.
            My daughter uses a Glencoe paperback text at her public school and it’s got some decent problems in it, but then it also has some that are well below grade level as well.

          7. Oak, So you agree with me. There are textbooks available and some of them are good.

            Any new standard would require a gradual transition to new text books. Are you suggesting that we never change our standards?

            Teachers can use their current text books and use free resources on the web to supplement their current texts. Teachers do this all the time. As texts are replaced (as they normally are) Utah can get the new integrated texts.

          8. Oak, Yes, I agree with you that some textbooks could be better. Like you said, I personally would like to see more examples that would help parents and students work together when help is needed at home. My understanding is that the CC standards provide a framework and states can continue to work with textbook providers to improve, going forward. If some states perceive that there is a leftist slant, there is a possibility that it might have been unintentional and there is nothing set in stone that the teacher has to follow the text to the letter. I am sure that if some of the conservative states stand together and ask for some specific changes, the for-profit textbook providers would be happy to make changes as long as the overall educational goals are met. There will always be a few educators that are very leftist and some that are very conservative. In exposing them and pointing fingers at each other, we sometimes forget the main goal of providing children with an education that will help advance them academically and financially in a fast changing work and living environment.

          9. So your argument then becomes “well we’ve got these standards and we’re spending money on them and textbooks, so why change?” Why strive for greatness when mediocrity is already in place?
            It is a fact that Common Core standards are not among the stronger standards in use prior to Common Core. They are not “rigorous.” There are better standards and in general, no school or teacher strives to exceed minimum standards, especially when they are told how strong CC standards are. Teachers teach to the test and if the standards closely align to the test, that’s where most students will be.
            The question really is, why are you in favor of mediocre standards? Utah’s 2007 math standards are better than the CC math standards, as were several other high achieving states. Our old ELA standards were probably weaker, but why adopt CC when there were known standards that are better and producing real results? Why get entangled in the whole CC agenda? Utah can and should lead out with the best standards in the nation.

          10. Anonymous, here’s my thoughts on politics in education. We should eliminate all indoctrination that has political sides to it. No math problems should have a social justice agenda (www.radicalmath.com). Teaching from original source documents would help do this a lot. I would love to see the Constitution read alongside the Communist Manifesto, and then have students be given the writings of the Founding Fathers to understand what their intent was in creating the Constitution. It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re on if you understand the document and their intent to preserve individual rights and why the Constitution is basically the opposite of the Communist Manifesto.

          11. We need to think about what our children will need in the future. More than anything else they need problem solving skills. Technology is changing our world so quickly that we cannot reliably predict what job skills people will need. We know they will have access to look up basic information from spelling to algebra algorithms. They will really need to know how to work with other people to solve new and challenging problems. Maybe word problems aren’t your favorite and you would rather do the same math problem 20 times with different numbers, but for most children that results in an “I hate math” attitude.

          12. That is because all publishers did was take their old textbooks and paste them together. Now there are many good curriculum sources–though few are by major textbook companies. Most are grassroots teacher-share sites.

          13. Tyler, thanks to Common Core, there’s been a HUGE consolidation of curriculum providers. Pearson publishing owns the lion’s share because they were involved in the creation of the standards and got the early start. When states were basically presented with a race to the federal trough grant, the only people with matching curriculum were the big publishers which put many smaller players out of business and allowed for a corporate takeover by the big dogs.

          14. I don’t know anybody who likes the material Pearson created. Our district purchased it (after a parent insisted that their child needed a book to take home), but we all use other sources. There are a lot of excellent curricula out there now that teachers have been given time to get it developed–none of it is from the ‘big dogs’. …best of all it is free, open source.

          15. …And those big textbook companies wouldn’t be doing so hot if the districts would quit paying them for the crap they produce. There is nothing you can get from ANY paid textbook that you couldn’t get for free: Khan Academy, Purple Math, Learnzillion, Illistrative Math, achievethecore.org, etc.

          16. You do know that any book that has been made to match the common core standards were intended to give teachers, parents and students an opportunity to have something they were familiar with. These books are not published by Common core. That makes this an invalid argument against common core. Though I will agree that the math community is trying to come up with textbooks that are able to better help students understand math in a new way and they haven’t been the most successful. Story problems are only frustrating when the story is hard to grasp.

        2. Carolyn,

          It is too bad you are willing to “drink the kool-aid” and not do some reading for yourself. These women are asking you to go and read the contracts that Utah has signed. We WANT higher standards. Common Core is NOT higher standards. Look at the comments of TEACHERS (one just above) and you will see that the EDUCATORS are worried about this program. This is not education, it is indocrination with a pretty name.

          1. Actually the Common Core Standards are not that much different from the current Utah Core standards. Also, they are not maximum standards, they are minimum standards. We in Utah are free to teach to any higher standard we want, we just have to meet the minimum.

          2. Actually Jeanne, the current Utah Core standards ARE Common Core standards. We adopted the math and ELA standards 100%. Teachers teach to the test. The assessments measure only what’s in the standards. Teachers are going to spend their time preparing students to know exactly what’s on the test and little more, especially when these standards continue to be a mile wide and an inch deep. There are good reasons key members of the validation committees didn’t sign off on Common Core standards.

          3. Oak, you really have a great distrust and disdain for teachers if you believe what you wrote about teachers only teaching to the test.

            It is up to school administration, and parents to ensure teachers are teaching a robust curriculum that is more than what the standards require.

            I don’t know one teacher who would look at the standards and then only teach based on that. It wouldn’t work. Students have to have a wide and deep contextual framework to learn things. All educators know that.

            The standards were never meant to provide that rich contextual framework because that is not what they are.

            The standards only give us the destination, professional educators know how to create a road map to ensure that each child gets to the destination. That road map is the curriculum, pedagogy (method) and resources.

          4. Jeanne, teachers are going to have their jobs evaluated based on AIR tests. If you don’t think they are going to teach to the test, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Utah’s push for constructivism is extremely shortsighted. There are no studies that support that pedagogy. It doesn’t lead to deep learning.

          5. I’m one of those teachers and I see the AIR test as nothing more than a chance for me to self-evaluate my methods.

            ..And I don’t see how the standards push for constructivism.

            ..And, finally, there is research to support constructivism. Look at the work of Jo Boaler at Stanford.

          6. Tyler, do some homework on AIR. Read Brian Halladay’s articles on this site. Read Dr. Gary Thompson’s articles.

            The 8 process standards push toward constructivism and show me peer reviewed research, not Jo Boaler’s work. The largest education study ever performed proved constructivism was a total failure.

          7. Oak, I don’t think you should be throwing out the words “peer review” to anyone. That’s the pot calling the kettle black for ya. Watch a Japanese or Singapore classroom: The 8 practice standards are very apparent. Its called explicit instruction (not direct instruction, but not 100% constructivism either).

            That seals the deal for me. You’re just blowing smoke. Read, “Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning?” (Alfieri, Louis; Brooks, Patricia J.; Aldrich, Naomi J.; Tenenbaum, Harriet R.
            Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 103(1), Feb 2011, 1-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0021017), that ought to set you straight. And it’s peer reviewed too!

          8. Care to respond on my link Tyler? Project Follow Through was the largest education study ever performed and conclusively showed discovery learning constructivism to be an abject failure. So what did the geniuses at the NSF do? Endorsed it and pumped tons of money into making it better, rather than starting with direct instruction which was miles ahead and trying to make it better. In the end, all learning is self-learning. You can’t teach someone something they don’t want to learn. I agree with the notion of building curiosity and inquiry skills, and agree that constructivist techniques have a place in the classroom just like a hammer has a place in the toolbox. But the hammer isn’t the only tool. I’m not going to cut off a branch with it. Ed schools are pushing constructivism so hard it makes it appear it’s the only tool for teachers. They are told it’s totally proven and the only way to go. That’s totally false. We keep hearing from people that students have different ways they learn yet it’s one pedagogy being shoved down everyone’s throats.

          9. Tyler, are you sure that’s the right study you wanted to reference? Were you trying to show that it supports constructivism or something else? The abstract itself concludes with “The findings suggest that unassisted discovery does not benefit learners, whereas feedback, worked examples, scaffolding, and elicited explanations do.” IE. Constructivism is a failure, just as Project Follow-Through proved.

          10. And its about 50 years old. A lot has changed since then, including the way we measure learning and growth. What it does affirm for us is that structure in the classroom promotes growth. Those who decry constructiveism do so because of its ‘ad hoc’ nature: this ‘discovery learning ‘ stuff that was recently a big fad.

            More recent research shows that student do not learn as much when you just tell them what they need to know. They must create that knowledge for themselves. You can see this in the MRI’s that Jo Boaler has studied. The article I linked to above is one of many that show evidence that direct instruction is not as powerful as explicit instruction, which is getting students to build their knowledge in a very structured way rather than leaving them to learn by their own devices–though ironically, that is what every student eventually needs to be able to do, right.

        3. It does not in any way improve our education standards if as a part of “narrowing the education gap” the top students’ abilities and understanding decrease even if the bottom students show more improvement than the top students show decline. I am all for increasing help for struggling students, and I actually did see improvement in the classroom, especially in the lower grades, that I think is directly attributable to NCLB. That being said, I am completely opposed to any reduction of standards at any level, and with the changes in the math curriculum that have been implemented this year it seems to me that the material is being watered down so that more average students can understand it and advanced students are not being stretched in the way that they were when there was a specific curriculum for algebra, geometry, statistics, trigonometry, calculus, etc. The integration of those disciplines leaves room for students to blow off what they find difficult and earn passing grades while moving along with some serious learning gaps.

          1. There is nothing in the Common Core that prevents schools from offering advanced classes to students or going beyond the standards.

        4. Caroly, NCLB being a success is a matter of opinion. Because did it raise the minority students? Maybe a little. Did it hurt the students on the higher end of the scale. YES! So, what you are saying is..all the students should have the exact same opportunities. Guess what? Not all students have the same capabilities. So, you would have the ones that can really achieve great heights knocked down to cater to those with with less capabilities. Just like with taxes…you cannot raise up the lower end of the spectrum by knocking down the upper part. The average is actually lowered by doing that. The average test scores will be lower and the medium income is lowered. When will you idiots get it????? Socialism is NOT the answer!!!

          Also, colleges are already very liberal in the views they teach their students. CC will just implement those views even earlier to the youth (which I know is their intent). However, I plan to fight against this with all I can. My children will NOT be fed this left-wing crap because some federal cronies want their agenda realized. The good of Americans is not at the heart of this. The power of having a bunch of lemmings willing to do whatever the socialism loving left says is good for them – that is the intent of this and many of the other programs being pushed right now. I prefer freedom to choose how and what to educate my children. I will not allow them to be held back by the ineptitude of others (students or adults). Just because someone else’s child is limited doesn’t mean mine needs to be held back waiting for that other student. How do we expect to raise our country up if we are continually holding back the upper tier?

        5. dumbing down the education process to look better on test is not increasing our education standards– it’s dumbing down the ability to think and act as individuals. Thereby raising a nation of people who feel they know something– have false egos. we are strong because we are able to be unique– there is not nor will there ever be a one size fits all. Unless you remove all the potential delete our ability to excel in our own areas and ways and that is what the common core does.

        6. NCLB did not help us. It virtually eliminated social studies, science and the arts from our title one schools. Because of the punitive measures pushed on title one schools, teachers are forced to teach to the test. In the elementary schools that is Language Arts and Math. Science was not tested until last year and then only in the upper grades. I have high school students who have not had any exposure to the Contitution with it emphasis on the Balance of Power or The Bill of Rights. Our title one students have seen their opportunities for a well rounded education disappear! In addition, lack of school funding has affected the education of our special needs children as well. Common core is an extension of this testing climate. There are deep concerns about the Language Arts and Math standards being implemented across the nation. There are deep concerns about the developmental appropriateness for children in preschool through second grade. There are deep concerns about privacy not only for teachers but particularly for students.

        7. actually Carolyn, recent studies show that Utah High School students are in the top as compared to Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona- our surrounding states.
          Check out the results in a recent article here: http://www.ksl.com/?sid=26534032
          Also, I am not sure you have had a child in Middle School or High School over the past 3-4 years, but I see first hand our math being dumbed down right in front of my eyes in our public schools and I am now considering homeschool just to get my kids to Calculus and Trig as they won’t be prepared for concurrent math 1050 and 1060 with the new “Secondary math 1-4” garbage that is the CC standard. For some STUPID reason, Utah and one other state adopted “integrated math” which they think is awesome for our Middle and High School kids, not even taking into account kids that wpould want to participate in AP Math classes or Concurrent, or for that matter, want to get into MIT or any Higher College or University! And don’t get me started on the Language changes! The Language is GARBAGE as compared to what we had before. Do we have kids coming into Utah that are ESL, or perhaps comes from homes where they are neglected and not taught early on, yes, and there are already state and federal programs to help these kids, but to now require ALL kids to be BROUGHT DOWN to Community College level is ridiculous and WRONG

      2. I am sure Sandra Stotsky is a wonderful person and educator, but why should we use only one person’s view, simply because it happens to agree with your view?

        We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The new standards are better than what we have currently. Let’s move from average to better, then work to improve them.

        If we don’t want Federal involvement in Utah education then we should stop taking Federal money. That is a separate argument than the Common Core, since they are in no way linked to each other.

        Utah can withdraw from the Common Core Initiative at any time as it is completely voluntary.

        1. Jeanne, Sandra offered to come to Utah and work with Utahans to develop our own ELA standards. They would be true Utah standards and exceed Common Core.
          We should quit taking federal money. Common Core is tied to federal money. To have a shot at getting Race to the Top grants, states had to agree to accept Common Core standards.

        2. Daer Jeanne
          I tried to sound out your name but the common core told me that I didn’t need to learn to spell or think for myself or let alone learn to read the Constitution. As you read it there is absolutely no clause regarding education in our document. Therefore the federal government should get out of our the peoples business. You have forgotten something else. Free Enterprise. If each state were to be in competition then only the best standards would win. The other states would be forced to raise their standards or go the way of mediocrity. You need to consider Ed Hirsch work on common knowledge and not common core. He stated that basically there is a core of knowledge that each student needs to know. This is good because we want all kids to learn a central core of concepts. The federal government does control the states– with the money. So you are incorrect- the states have latched on to the host lifeform so much so the federal money trough that if they were detached they would die of starvation financially.
          The new standards are not at good as we have. When the two advisors to the CCSS formation committee both refused to sign off on the standards (Sandra being the Language arts one)that should tell you something. These standards are not good enough for our students. I think you are more in favor of the methods of the math focus in the standards- getting the kids to think more instead of just rotely doing math exercises.
          This basically come down to the story of the fox and gingerbread man. We are the gingerbread man. We can not trust them at all.

    2. This is not a manufactured crisis. Each state who has adopted the Common Core Initiative has “sold her educational birthright without even getting the mess of pottage,” as Senator Michael Fair of South Carolina aptly put it. The SBAC governing documents and many other documents prove we’ve ceded local control.

      Common Core gives us no mess of pottage: no money, no sufficiently high standards, no choice over, or ability to amend, future standards.

      There is a huge transparency problem with Common Core.

      The USOE legal department had not even read the SBAC Cooperative Agreement before I asked them to interpret it this week. They even implied that it was a hoax. That is how unaware they are. Besides being unaware, they are not vigilant. They are not taking the legally binding aspects of Common Core into account, they are not prioritizing state sovereignty, and yet we will all be financially and legally bound to comply to these legal documents that they don’t find it important to analyze.

      We need to analyze them ourselves, and get other, independent lawyers to do so. Let’s all do our homework on this; don’t to turn a blind eye to the loss of state control that Common Core brings, the invalidation of the Utah Common Core standards that the SBAC test brings, and the actual lowering –yes, lowering– of standards in some areas, that Common Core brings.

      Maybe the Utah Common Core standards in English have raised some Utah standards, but do you know that the upcoming CCSS standards are less rigorous than the UCC? The CCSS cuts down literature by a huge percentage, in favor of infotexts.

      Talk to any kid taking Common Core math this year and they’ll tell you it’s just a repeat of last year’s math. Even if the CC were sufficiently high across all subjects, nothing is worth giving away our state sovereignty for, and we had access to high standards via public domain already. We didn’t need CCI. We need to ensure that there is an amendment process on any standards we choose to teach kids, especially when those standards come from consortiums and federal groups so far removed from Utah’s schoolchildren and teachers.

      Other states have seen the light. Utah needs to see it, too.

      Texas didn’t join because Texas values sovereignty and a significant number of their standards were already higher than Common Core standards. Virginia didn’t join because they recognized CCI as the financial disaster it is. Virginia loved and had invested much in their Sequences of Learning program. South Carolina is desperately trying to get out right now. Massachusetts caved to political pressure to join CCI and actually lowered their state’s standards to join. Why so much pressure from the US DOE?

    3. Carolyn, please read the standards, and look at the textbooks that are coming out before agreeing that it’s better for Utah kids. I’ve done both, and have concluded that Common Core is NOT better, not by a long shot. Not in Math, and not in English. The fact that as Utahns we no longer have control of the standards or tests only makes it worse. And Heritage.org and Cato are mainstream conservative organizations, not “anti-feds” by any stretch. Please do your research.

    4. Carolyn, I hope you are being sarcastic. “Thank goodness some clear thinking people are in charge of our children’s education and have decided to do what’s best for kids…”

      Seriously? This describes the problem in our country. The government thinks they know what’s best for us and people allow them to get away with it. Wow.

      The only people who knows what is best for MY kids are me and my husband NOT the government and not some committee.

      I’m at a loss that there are people who think this way let alone will say it outloud.

    1. Carolyn, are you aware that there are two sets of standards? Utah is using the UCC this year, but the test is being written to the CCSS (national or federal) standards. This is affirmed by WestEd, the test writer. We have no amendment processs for the CCSS. We will be pushed to adopt them by the test itself. Utah’s voice has been sold to a consortium of states led and overseen by the U.S. DOE. Since when does being common trump being free? Even well meaning educational decisions are meaningless without political freedom.

      1. Christel, there is only one set of education standards in the State of Utah and that is the State of Utah Standards adopted by the State Board of Education. Almost two years ago, the Board adopted the CCSS for math and language arts as part of the Utah State Standards and they did this in public open meeting with the agenda publicized as usual. The State Board regularly reviews and revises these standards and will continue to do so. Utah’s voice is part of the consortium of states lead by the NGA Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers not the U.S. DOE. No freedom has been lost.

        1. In fact, the standards are already undergoing the review/revision process. The updated version is rolling out the 2016-2017 school year.

  3. Losing state sovereignty to improve academic performance is among the worst things that could happen to Utah. We fought hard a few years ago to raise Utah’s math standards from a D level to an A- (according to Fordham Foundation ratings) and they have ranked CC an A- also. However, they have also noted that there are several states which have clearly better standards. CA and MA are among them. On English, the new Texas standards are very strong. The Utah State Office of Education refused to adopt California’s math standards a few years ago because they felt it wasn’t going to meet “Utah’s standards” and so we made our own (under difficult circumstances) but now before even having a final draft we adopt Common Core because of the feds dangling a golden carrot in front of citizens.

    We do want strong standards. There’s no argument there. This, however, is a total takeover of our education system.

    1. How is having an duly elected body adopting a position after a deliberative process loosing state sovereignty? We elected the State Board of Education precisely to make this type of decision as our representatives but now, two years after the decision was made, a group of individuals has decided there is some sort of crisis brewing that needs correction. Where were you two years ago?
      What golden carrot are the feds dangling in front of citizens? The State Boards used the adoption of the CCSS as part of its Race to the Top application but that was by the State’s choice. There is no total takeover of our education system. To say so sounds reminiscent of Chicken Little.

      1. Barbara, when a duly elected body deliberately hand over the power of local control of education by signing it away in a contract both while seeking Race to the Top money, and now a waiver from No Child Left Behind, and citizens don’t see the contract for nearly 2 years because, lets be honest, what citizen wants to read through a 500 page document, that’s how this kind of crisis happens.

  4. Your argument is flawed in that we are not “losing state soverignty”, we are choosing to work WITH a national group to improve our academic standards. It is clear you are going to make this a political issue so that you can advance the agenda of anti-federalism, which is very popular right now and which of course most people support. But doing it at the expense of our schoolchildren is unconscionable in my opinion. The argument that we have permanently “lost” our freedom is not supportable, and you are using that inflammatory approach to further this tea party agenda at the expense of our children. The la standards are better than utah’s – by quite a large margin – and the math standards rank the same. so you cannot maintain with integrity your position that this is a crisis of an educational nature. you may, of course, maintain the “sky is falling” and the “feds are taking over” position, but it proves to me that this discussion is not about what is best for utah’s schoolchildren. it is a tea-party-esqe national movement, well organized and finding allies in utah that will spread their message – and that will use our children as fodder for a political agenda. like i said, to me that is unconscionable.

    1. You are correct. Children’s educations are being gambled and kids (and teachers, administrators and school boards) are being used to promote CCI’s political agenda of nationalized, centralized, minimalist education and intrusive data collection. The CCI does not allow for freedom to raise educational standards, to amend them in any way, or to innovate on the state or local level. The Common Core Initiative takes away a child’s right to learn to the highest possible standards by commonizing all and removing amendment processes.

      Children deserve to be taught to standards that are indisputably proven to be high and that are not experimental or unpiloted, as Common Core is unproven, experimental and unpiloted.

      1. It seems quite obvious after reading many of these posts, that the biggest problem is accepting Common Core “as-is” and without an amendment process in order to vote or have a say in changing the CC when and where it may be necessary. This seems like a much easier solution than is being proposed – rather than throw the baby out with the bath water, create legislation and bills and negotiate in order to ensure that there are common standards that can be amended and altered by the different State’s Boards of Education after getting public input from teachers, parents, and students. Minimal Common standards is not an evil or bad practice -especially in regards to education – remember that society itself works and is based on common standards and common interests…there is nothing wrong with having common standards of education, but there should be the ability for States (through their elected officials and Board of Education officials) to influence necessary change to ensure each states’ children receive whatever each states’ people believe is the best possible education for their children. It seems to me that the idea of a common Core is not bad – the implementation just needs altering/changing. This org and others need to propose and support a working-together approach and not support a fan rival, knew-jerk reaction “total repeal/throw out the entire idea” approach. Work with the federal government – ensure Senators and Congressmen come up with bills and legislation that is amendable for educational standards – don’t just say “minimal standards are mediocre and won’t work so let’s not have any at all.” I’m not believing those that say, Itah already has standards that are better than the CC – assuming that’s true, then vote and work to make the CC more like any of the other “better standards”, rather than keeping your head in the sand and denying that there is no benefit whatsoever to having minimal common standards in education.

        1. Typos: “fan rival” was supposed to be “fanatical” and “knew-jerk” should have been “knee-jerk”. I am not an awful speller – but I do have problems with autocorrect functions.

    2. Carolyn, please do your own research on Common Core. Opposition to it is mainstream, and all kinds of teachers, parents, and very mainstream organizations are shining a light on it. Unless you consider Heritage.org and Cato (very respected, mainstream conservative organizsations) to be fringe. Maybe you do.

    3. Socialists don’t like CC. And the teachers’ unions don’t like CC either. The dislike of Common Core is one thing that both left and right wing groups have in common.

  5. I found it helpful to go straight to the NCLB Flexibility Request to understand what is happening with the standards. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/ut.pdf First on page 21 under the title -Alignment with Existing Utah Standards, the process of how Utah’s standards matched up with CC standards was explained. As Carolyn said, it appears that there was much room for improvement in Utah’s standards for lanuage arts, at least in comparison to the CC language art standards. To me, that is not the issue, I think Carolyn is right in that Utah has very bright and capable teachers, administrators that can help raise the standards whatever the subject in CC. If you go on, in the NCLB document on page 83, from our own Utah State School Board minutes of August 6, 2010, it states clearly, : To adopt the CCS, a state agrees to accept all of the standards as they are written.”

    Later in the document on page 90 it clearly states under item (h) that this “binds each state in the consortium to every statement and assurance made in the application through the following signature blocks”

    This is where the issue lies. We are thus bound – to change our standards even-what will we have to go through IF we find out that we are in disagreement with the standards due to many different reasons
    that have yet to surface. WHAT THEN? WHAT COST? Another waiver of flexibility with binding proposals and statements, and assurances, perhaps. As Carolyn suggested, why not create our own standards now without being bound.

    1. Um… what would be the point of adopting them if we started changing them? We could do that now. We could simply take everything they have published, renamed it Utah State Standards and change anything we wanted.

      The benefit of adopting them unchanged is to get the benefits of economies of scale in the resources that will become available over time to states that do adopt these standards. I think over time it is going to save Utah a lot of money and time as we integrate with other States.

      Also, we are missing a huge point about students who transfer to different states. These students are helped a great deal by common standards across the country. We live in an increasingly mobile society. Students don’t attend the same school for their entire lives.

      1. I have often thought that the weakest argument for common standards was to make sure that students who move will be able to enter a new school district supposedly sharing the same common standards. After studying this argument here is what I found: not all states have adopted the same standards. Utah and Vermont have chosen the integrated math, along with I don’t know how many individual districts across the nation. This is a major hurdle because integrated math is on a completely different class level and timeline each school year as opposed to the other CCSI math standards. In my opinion, this causes a bigger problem than the former standards. Even with states that adopted the common core standard math, each district would have to be teaching the same lesson on the same day, and testing on the same timeline to make transitions from district to district or state to state. It is interesting, because some people assume that there were never standards at grade level before CCSSI. This simply is not true, developmentally, these standards were fairly closely aligned across the nation. Is it really necessary to completely change our educational system to a national system based on the on 80,000 students – as of 2012, 49.8 million students attended public schools according to NCES. That is less than 1% of the student population.

        Unfortunately, the economies of scale that you are referring to will not be available. It is clearly stated that each district is on their own to fund this. They must each match what is given from state funds and then each local school district must come up with the money to put into place, hardware, software for assessments. This is now actual law in our state.
        Districts worked to come up with curriculum. My district paid out thousands of dollars to cover the gaps for just a short period of time. That was just a beginning. Other districts it has been millions. We will never really know the actual cost of this adoption of common core standards as there was never a cost analysis done. Brenda Hales stated at a meeting that it would not cost anymore to districts than any other year in the cycle of rotating textbooks. There was no evidence to show this was true by a cost analysis and in the same meeting two school districts spoke up and said that simply wasn’t the case for their districts.

        We should be fiscally responsible when making education reforms on such a grand scale. Decisions should be made from facts not speculation. Legislators need facts to budget money responsibly, not just the words, “trust us”.

  6. Item 3 from the petition specifically does this. Lets just create our own great standards instead of signing on for all this baggage and expense.

    1. Any time we change there will be expense. The expense is related to the change. If we change to some other standard we are going to have expenses. Unless we all agree to never change our standards, then we are going to have to spend money.

      Also, we are missing a huge point about students who transfer to different states. These students are helped a great deal by common standards across the country. We live in an increasingly mobile society. Students don’t attend the same school for their entire lives.

      If a student moves from Utah to California to Nevada, they will be able to easily integrate into the new school system because they will be on the same ladder, not jumping around and possibly missing valuable information and skills.

      The baggage your refer to is related to taking federal money. Are you suggesting that as a result of this petition, Utah is no longer going to take and spend federal dollars? I am all for that, but this petition won’t do it.

      Unless Utah decides to take no federal dollars from IDEA, ESEA and ARRA, the baggage you don’t like will still exist since it has absolutely nothing to do with Common Core adoption, but instead, everything to do with these federal grants and laws.

      1. So Jeanne, you are not in favor of local control and local needs. You are in favor of nationalizing and synchronizing education. Less than 1% of school populations move each year. Utah adopted Common Core on the integrated method, as you know, along with Vermont. We now have portability of students with 1 other state once children hit upper grades. Common Core for Utah doesn’t solve that problem.
        As for getting off federal funding, maybe you missed reading this in the petition.
        “Fifth, I request that a committee of legislators and citizens be formed to develop a 5-year plan to get Utah off all federal funding of education, and if the federal government threatens to pull non-education related funding away from the state as we pursue this course, that this knowledge should be made public and fought with the assistance of the state Attorney General.”

  7. I taught for years and most of the federal government programs that the schools need to implement are a problem to the schools, teachers and students. It means more testing and less teaching.

  8. Ladies,


    The constitution is designed to empower the individual to make decisions that are best for him/her. CC is a program that takes decisions involving our children’s education further away from us by raising it to the federal level. People that want to pull the power up to the federal level has designed a system so “incentive dollars” (millions) are tied to the adoption of this program. If we do not adopt we do not get millions. What’s wrong with this picture? Please wake up. Read the following article


    1. Hema,
      This is my biggest concern too! I worry that as a parent and home educator that eventually the laws for homeschool will be changed to adopt the common core or, worse yet, homeschool would be taken away as an option.

  9. Carolyn, I think you are making this a political issue with the comment, “tea-party-esqe” and using our children as “fodder for a political agenda”. This website offers points to consider and I appreciate those that have studied this issue and have brought it to the attention of the public. People are waking up and becoming involved, asking questions and wanting clear answers.
    That is NOT a political agenda – this is America, THAT’S WHAT WE DO.
    I am an educator and a parent. I have looked at these links provided here and also looked at the information on the Common Core website and even listened to the webinar. Anytime a law is proposed, or passed or even being considered (especially when it concerns our children) – I believe it is our DUTY to look at the issues from all angles; to research “What is Seen and What is Not Seen”. {Frederic Bastiat}
    What bothers me most about this initiative is that we are allowing others (the consortium) to decide what is the best education for our children; the standards, the curriculum. I don’t know who these people are, we are just told they are “the experts, teachers, researchers” – I’d like to know the names of the people setting these standards. What if (gasp!) THEY (the consortium) have a political agenda?????
    My opinion is that we are buying yet ‘another program/standards/curriculum’ to “ensure” that our children have a superior education and are ‘ready for the workforce and college’. Why not invest that money into the teachers, into their pedagogy and keep programs/standards local so there is accountability on a LOCAL level? Then I will know who the people are, or at least can find out and go to those people when I have concerns. The best way to educate our children is when we work together as a community, as districts, as a state to raise the standards specific to our children. Let the experts, researchers, teachers be from OUR community, from OUR state.
    We have signed into something that we clearly don’t know enough about; again – when it comes to our children, I think it is “unconscionable” to NOT look into this more carefully!

    1. One of the advantages to these Common STANDARDS is that they are designed for and by educators. We have not purchased this as a state. I personally have served on the committees that have written the Utah State ELA Core Standards and I have researched many state core standards. I have the Common Core standards nearly memorized and have been using them in my classrooms for years. They are a combination of the best of the best standards for teachers and do not prescribe what to teach– they give guidelines as to what students should be able to do . . . like write a coherent essay and read something while understanding the context in which it is written. The most political and specific the standards get is in recommending that students read fundamental American documents (like the constitution) and study Shakespeare. This is NOT a subversive document. Have you read the Common Core Standards?

      1. Carolyn, nobody has been claiming the standards themselves are subversive but there are concerns people have shared such as Sandra Stotsky that the de-emphasis of literature in favor of informational texts is not good. I will address standards in Utah in reply to your other post below.

      2. Carolyn, as someone who is close to Common Core, you must realize that on the official CCore web site it says very clearly that Common Core tells teachers “what to teach” (look in the “myths” section). They clearly say that teachers have flexibility in “how” the teach it, as long as they teach “what” the Common Core dictates. That is precisely what has local parents and educators up in arms. The “what” should be decided on a local level, by local teachers, accountable to local parents, not by an outside group out of Washington, D.C., and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Obama’s Dept of Education.

        1. To a great extent, I agree – yet this country is founded upon democratic ideals of community and working together. Stop promoting an “us versus them/black and white” mentality when it comes to State and local government and Federal government. Use State and local soveriegnty to negotiate and work together with Federal government. Demand and negotiate for abilities to amend and change a Common Core rather than deny that there may be any benefit to a Common Core standard.

      3. Let me make this perfectly clear. I am in charge of my children’s education-not some liberal teacher or administrator that decides he wants to indoctrinate my child in his hedonistic, leftist agenda. My daughter had a teacher that gave extra credit to kids wearing “I love boobies” bracelets and made derogatory comments about her and her religion -IN FRONT OF HER CLASS-after I complained. I don’t want somebody like that teaching AT ALL. And UEA and the Department of Education are full of liberal minded people just like her. No thank you.

        1. I am sorry this happened to your student. That is very sad.

          But, again, the bad actions of one educator have nothing to do with the Common Core. I have read the core and I can’t find a leftist agenda. It’s just Language Arts and Math standards.

          If you can go to the standards and let me know where the leftist agenda is, I would be happy to change my mind.

          As far as I am aware the word “boobies” not appear anywhere in the standards.

          1. The standards themselves do not contain a leftist agenda. Nobody running this site has ever claimed that. If you would like to see where leftist agenda’s come in, try checking out the newly Common Core aligned Sex Ed standards. I’m sure Utah won’t adopt these any time soon, but it’s been developed, along with science and social studies standards.
            Do you understand why Bill Gates wants to standardize everything? The world is a computer to him. If you can just program each chip correctly, it will work so much more efficiently. And if you can be the one to sell the programming for those chips, you’ll make billions. I don’t plan to go along with Bill’s vision of the future for my children. That’s one reason I oppose Common Core.
            Did you know the World Socialists are also against Common Core? Here’s one article on their website:

        2. It is crazy to assume teachers are liberal, especially in Utah. Don’t paint with a broad brush. It offends me.
          “Hedonistic, leftist agenda…..wow . Don’t confuse those of us I the classroom with the district office .

  10. The Common Core Initiative violates fundamental laws that protects states’ independance.
    We the people of Utah have a right to decide what programs the children are taught and teachers
    should have a right to be free of losing their jobs if they stand up for this, and/or things that are right to do for the children, teachers, State and schools.

    I do not agree with this Common Core Initiative. Let us do what is right and safe for the children and Utah State. Thanks.

  11. There are much better ways to improve education than to increase pressure on teachers to standardize students. Because it is impossible to do, there will be more good teachers leaving and more students dropping out than ever before. We should close down the Department of Education or change it from a dictator of school policy to a research, advisory and resource agency.

  12. We have used Utah standards for decades, and until the Common Core Standards our standards fell abysmally short in challenging students or even meeting their needs. The research alone in finding and defining comprehensive standards is time prohibitive for teachers and administrators. There is less expense and baggage collaborating as teachers and districts. Additionally, these standards are simply STANDARDS; there are not restrictions or fetters binding teachers to specific curricula and each teacher is encouraged to customize the material to their own classrooms. There has not been a set of standards more FREEING for teachers since . . . well, for a long, long time!

    1. Carolyn, I posted my reply to your standards statements on this page below since it was a lengthy response and I wanted people to be able to find the history easily in the future. Most are unfamiliar with the facts of how the USOE is not interested in raising standards. Is it completely disingenuous for the state office to represent to people that we are not in favor of strong standards and that they are.

    2. Carolyn, Please go look on the official Common Core website where it specifically states that teachers must teach “what” Common Core dictates, regardless of how they teach it. Nobody is saying it’s nationalized teaching methods. It IS, however, a national curriculum. And the curriculum stinks. http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/myths-vs-facts

      I oppose Common Core FOR THE CHILDREN and for no other reason.

      1. Have you read the actual standards? They do not include lists of vocabulary, topics, or specific texts. The “what” you are describing are the actual skills and thinking strategies that students need to possess in order to be successful. These were identified from years or extensive research throughout the country. Teachers are free to choose any topic or text through which to develop these skills and strategies in their students. CCSS was actually built upon the guiding principles that are the cornerstones of many important documents, like the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Holy Bible, the Torah, etc. Attend some conferences, do deep and extended UNBIASED research, talk to a diverse group of educators before leaping to extreme positions that only hurt our children. In other words, seek out people who dont think exactly as you do and critically analyze their opinions (by the way, this is a strategy from the CCSS). As a tenured educator, I can wholeheartedly say that CCSS is the best thing to ever happen to education. It will help us return to what America’s founders wanted for this nation. It will help us create strength rather than division from our diversity. It will free teachers to help develop character and critical consciousness among students. It will empower ALL of our nation’s children and give them a chance for success. Ultimately, it has the power to positively affect the citizenry of the United States. For those who don’t want things to be different, for those who seek to maintain the status quo, I suppose this is alarming. But, until we engage the entirety of this country, we will never reach “e pluribus unum” (out of many…one) that our founding fathers dreamed of.

        1. Dear Educator,
          It is a fact that the Common Core standards were not research based or internationally benchmarked. It was not built upon the guiding principles of the constitution or any other document. The Utah state office of education has taken this document and transformed it into something it wasn’t even intended to be, a constructivist approach to education. I’m not sure if you’re in Utah or not, but here’s a few comments from Utah teachers:

          Then check out this article in The Atlantic.

          Dr. William McCallum, the lead writer for the math standards, weighed in with these comments:

          “I agree with you that there is a lot of misreading of the standards out there in the field, and this is a problem. You have done a service by pointing some of it out. For example, I agree that a lot of PD is overemphasizing the practice standards. But by participating yourself this misreading of the standards you validate it, to the detriment of your own position. The standards do not settle the debate on how fluency and understanding should interact in the curriculum; that debate will and should continue, and you are entitled to keep pushing your point of view. The standards provide you with plenty of ammunition here. For example, in response to the reporter who says “This curriculum puts an emphasis on critical thinking, rather than memorization, and collaborative learning”, you could point out that the phrases “critical thinking” and “collaborative learning” do not occur anywhere in the standards. In response to those who overemphasize understanding you can point to the emphasis on focus and coherence on page 3 of the standards.”


          “The intent is to allow the standard algorithm in earlier grades, but not require it until Grade 4. Programs that choose not to mention the standard algorithm at all until Grade 4 will have a responsibility to show that their approach works; that is, that it supports the development of fluency with the standard algorithm in Grade 4. I take your position to be that this is impossible. If you are right, the standards will make your argument against these programs for you.”

          This proves the intent of the writers was not to put emphasis on the process standards, but the content standards. Educrats who favor constructivism are stepping far outside the boundaries of what the writers intended.

          I long for the day that our students actually study the documents you listed and understand their freedoms, but it’s not going to happen under Common Core which seeks to impose a one-size-fits-all set of standards across the country. That’s convergent education, not divergent.

        2. What your saying sounds positive. Reread it and it sounds like a big government takeover of our children. I doubt that the Founding Fathers had this in mind when the Declaration of I dependence, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance were drafted. Especially since many of them were homeschooled.

        3. I disagree, you need to open your eyes and see who is behind common core. There is a definite agenda behind this and it is not good for the education system to steer students into careers, that smacks of communism.

      2. Ado have repeatedly proposed, I believe too many are promoting a black and white/is versus them mentalityaboit Common Core standards. It is more efficient to have common minimal standards and the idea of common standards is societally based. Rather than claim there is no benefit to common minimal standards, work with the federal government in ensuring state and local governments’ abilities to amend, alter and change common core standards as needed and to also ensure state and local education boards’abities to have and implement supplemental higher standards in order to ensure students have abilities to go for advanced classes or more specifically designed curricula classes uncertain subjects. Demand more federal funds in order to implement minimal standards, but don’t claim that there are no possible benefits to minimal common educational standards.

  13. I agree with Carolyn Sharette and Carolyn Taylor on this issue. In reading through the evidence section above, I don’t see any evidence based on measured educational outcomes. My experience as an educator and as a parent inclines me to believe that Common Core will improve educational outcomes overall.

    I do applaud the concern and level of engagement represented by this initiative and your respectful treatment of the discussion, especially for leaving the counter comments intact here.

    1. Thanks Jared. We are open and respectful of those whose opinions differ from ours and believe it is only a matter of time before the evidence will be compelling enough to make converts of your side. :)

      The USOE on the other hand just announced a “forum” they would hold on Common Core but then admitted they will only be presenting their side of the issue. Somehow I don’t think that meets the generally accepted definition of what a forum is meant to be. :)

      As for your comment about measured results, the standards have been measured and that is one article we didn’t post above, but here’s a link and I’ll add it up top for people.


      Make sure you read to the end and then try to answer the question of why we didn’t just adopt Massachusetts’ excellent standards as a baseline starting point?

      1. Oak,
        It would have been great to improve our standards ourselves but we didn’t and yet we are adopting better standards. So our kids will benefit and if that is our primary objective, we will be grateful for a better roadmap for our educators. I am.

          1. We can still do that. Let’s use the Common Core and work to improve on them. Our adoption of the Common Core was completely voluntary. If we want to we can stop using it and adopt other standards.

            We are moving from strength to strength. There is no reason to move backward.

          2. Completely voluntary? In the sense that “if you want a shot at some federal Race to the Top money, just agree to implement Common Core standards and adopt an assessment partner we fund and track your children in a sharable database” is completely voluntary, then yes. The USOE and State Board saw a golden carrot and lost out, switching Utah over to untested standards which are not as high as they should be. Are they voluntary anymore? No. We’ve implemented them and lost out. Our 2007 math standards exceed Common Core. There are a number of problems with the standards, but even larger problems with the agenda. It’s good to know where Aristotle Academy falls in this debate. Thank you for posting.

      2. Excellent article! Thank you! When states are measuring the difference, the bottom line is irrefutable. It is perplexing and disappointing to see the well-intending school board fall for the sales pitch without considering other state’s results or at least questioning where they could be found.

      3. If the CCI minimum standards are lacking – then work with the federal government to ensure they are changed! Work WITH the federal organizations to ensure the ability for amending where and when States and Local governments observe or hear from their consitituents that a need for change, alterations or additions exists – but promoting a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and an “us versus them/black and white” mentality and knee-jerk reactions is wrong and does not promote true democracy, freedom nor the American ideals of community and working together.
        Stop denying that there could be any benefit to a set of nationalized minimal education standards and start working at making those standards be what they should be to give students the best possible basic educations along with opportunities to take advanced educational standard courses.

        1. FYI, a few years ago I advocated for national math standards. It makes sense to have a single logical path through mathematical concepts. Children should be able to go from point A to B to C…. However, then I saw what Common Core was bringing in which was far more than standards. Data tracking (massive behavioral), assessments, loss of FERPA protections, etc… The list goes on. The assessments were created before the standards. Think about that. The feds funded the creation of the tests in 2009 before the standards were finalized. You had two federal consortia (PARCC and SBAC) who make money from assessments already, being paid $350 million by the feds to create special tests. There’s a reason these consortia have largely fallen apart. The tests are horrible. There is no working with a federal behemoth that believes there is no local control. The big tech companies like Microsoft and the Gates Foundation are promoting their own vision of education and putting mega bucks into it to control the direction so they can make a ton of money. We’re losing sight of what’s really important in order to turn out skilled drones for the workforce. There should be no national education establishment. The states were constitutionally to have this authority and it’s time they took it back and shut down the federal beast.

    2. Jared,

      “Measured educational outcomes” are only temporarily meaningful without political freedom. That’s why even teachers like you and I need to care about politics where Common Core is concerned. Looking at this year’s curricular changes is like staring at an ice cube on a hot stove. Regardless of the standards’ current characteristics, under the rule of Common Core, Utah will have no voice in shaping what that curriculum will be in the future. Where is our guarantee of freedom? Where is it written? It’s not; in fact, the opposite is written. That is why we are begging people, especially lawyers, to look at the legal documentation’s binding qualities and testify that they are bad for Utah’s kids, teachers and taxpayers.

      (Starter reading: the relatively clearly written and relatively short Cooperative Agreement between U.S. Dept of Education and the SBAC)


    3. Agreed Jared. This issue simply is not an emergency. Let’s focus on the thousands of Utah children who didn’t learn to read this year. Now that is a true educational emgency.

      1. If only teachers could spend time working with their students to read. Instead they are too busy babysitting their students in computer labs while the students take standardized tests for 5 full school days during each term! What instruction are they missing out on? What subjects are they not learning? In the case of my 4th grade daughter, how much time is she missing out on with the resource reading teacher while she is taking standardized tests? So far all of the statistics taking hasn’t identified anything that we (parents and classroom teacher) weren’t already aware of. It will however take away three full weeks of school instruction time from my child by the end of the year.

        I thought the online testing was bad under NCLB. Under common core this year it is even worse. This is a REAL concern and an emergency for me. How about we spend more time teaching and less time database feeding?

  14. Carolyn

    I am glad you have found such a useful tool to use in your teaching. I thank you for the time and energy you spend as a teacher to educate our youth. Thank you. I wish that this initiative were simply about raising our standards. I would be fully on board if that were the case.

    I have spent many, many hours dedicated into studying how these standards came into play. That is where my concern lies. I wish it were true that Utah simply decided to raise our standards but it simply isn’t true.

    I’ve been reading through state school board meeting minutes and searching USED’s site and here are just some quotes out of the meetings:

    “WestEd which is an arm of the US Department of Education has asked for some that are in that (ADP) to come together to create some common standards. All is coming to a peak moment with the stimulus package for national common standards.”

    In one meeting Brenda starts off by saying this is moving forward more rapidly because the NGA and CCSSO had received money to create CCSS.

    And talking about all of the organizations willing to write the standards (ACHIEVE, ACT, etc…)
    “they’re all willing to do this for free but ONLY if we sign on by Monday – but no pressure there” – Brenda Hales

    I spoke with a teacher yesterday and let her know that I want nothing more than to give her the tools she needs to teach effectively. I have met with the Governor and will be meeting with him next month. I’m happy to take the parts of CCSS that you love to him and come up with a plan to use what the teachers love about this program but CUT the ties with the Federal Government. We MUST have Utah in control. If you’ll take the time to look at the contracts below you’ll see that Utah is not actually “in control” under the current programs we’ve signed up for.

    You may want to take a look at these contracts:

    http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf – Utah is a governing State with Washington State as the lead state so they signed the agreement for the consortium of states.

    Here is the application to receive grant money for the above agreement:
    http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/rtta2010smarterbalanced.pdf – see page 24 to see the membership agreement to adopt CCSS and see page UT-16 (this is a very long document so you’ll have to scroll down a ways) for our signature showing our agreement to sign on.

    Also our current Department of Education is issuing waivers to NCLB but they are holding Common Core over our heads in the process.
    http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/ut.pdf – read the requirement on 18 and how we fulfilled that requirement and pg 32. shows how we are fulfilling the requirement of assessments with SBAC – pg 83 shows the state school board vote to adopt CCSS pg 105 shows our Governor and Superintendent signing us onto SBAC

    Although NCLB was bad for our country holding it over the States to comply with their agenda is no better. We need to regain our sovereignty.

    You may be interested to know that this is not only a State issue. The members of the Education and Workforce Committee recently released two press releases acknowledging the Department of Educations overstep into state rights.



  15. With all the fantastic success that our federal government has had at controlling costs and improving results in everything it’s done, I can’t believe you people won’t simply roll over and hand them the keys to your schools and your children’s education. They will make everything better, just as they have with Medicaid and Obamacare, and the development of oil-rich Federal lands right here in Utah! After all, they still haven’t quite spent all of our children’s money — surely there are a few dollars left for improving Utah schhols that they’ll send our way if we get on board? And we can’t possibly trust parents and local administrators to make good decisions regarding our children’s education without Federal oversight — we need the full power and wisdom of our federal executive branch to make sure our children are taught correct ideas and notions about right and wrong, about how to interpret the Constitution, and — oh yeah, math and English.

    In all seriousness, as a father of ten, I am absolutely FURIOUS with what Governor Herbert and Larry Shumway have done to get us into this mess. Every time we face a policy decision regarding education, we should ask, “Does this increase or reduce the amount of control that we as parents have over our children’s education?” The answer in this case is entirely clear. I believe that if parents understood what is really going on here, they would overwhelmingly vote to replace Governor Herbert and insist that the State Board of Education be eliminated, so that control of curriculum would be returned to local districts and school boards, where it belongs. The Governor and Larry Shumway committed Utah to common core just months after the State Legislature and the former Governor voted overwhelmingly against national standards. This was clearly not done according to the will of the people of Utah. President Obama has pressed forward to control K-12 curriculum despite both a lack of any Constitutional authority and specific prohibitions in Federal law against doing so, and Governor Herbert and Larry Shumway have done everything they can, despite the better judgement of the Legislature and former Governmor, to assist President Obama in doing so.

    It’s time to elect new leadership. It’s time for Utahns to stand up, speak up, and shoulder the responsibilities that are ours. And if there ever was a responsibility that is ours at the local level, it’s teaching our children.

    I’m signing the petition now, and forwarding the link to everyone I know….

  16. How can someone resist looking at the real issues of common core? The real issue is about a government takeover which will sever our ability to teach our own children higher standards and allow others to take away our choice and essentially dumb down our education. This would also give unknown people much of our childrens personal information. Why would any parent choose to do that? Why would sombody cling to something so obviously detrimental to our freedoms, something that will eventually silence our voice and allow no dispute or difference of opinion? Any thinking person who wanted to see issues clearly would resist.
    Why would the governor and others responsible make this choice without contacting his constituents?

  17. I am most concerned about all of the bio-metric data collection at the federal level and who will have access to it and how vague the language is on how it will be used and handled.

  18. Hey! Did any body read the PDF from Hema Heimuli? This is the summum bonum of what is being discussed here as it relates to our existence as humans and our OBLIGATION to our creator in relation to raising and educating these children in righteousness!!! PLEASE read the Document and open your eyes to what our responsibility is in understand and defending the constitution which in turn protects these children!! If the link does not open you can google H. Verlan Andersen “Many are called but few are chosen”

  19. My kids attend a Charter School who is under extreme pressure to change its advanced curriculum which my children have excelled in, to the Common Core Standards. Thank goodness the Principal refuses but now I’m having to figure out what to do when they must graduate to middle school and then High School where they will be bored and too educated to fit the common core curriculum. One of my kids is doing pre algebra in 7th grade, they don’t even teach algebra til 9th or 10th grade now. The system doesn’t allow kids to test out and move at an accelerated pace…

    It is true that many teachers are fearful for their jobs and don’t speak out against the new Common Core curriculum. I’ve spoken to many, one that has been to several Common Core training classes and said he was shocked to see the low caliber of math teachers, their understanding was sub par and felt they were ill prepared to maneuver the kids through the exploratory math sessions where kids are to discover math processes promoted by Common Core. I spoke to another math teacher who spends her summers taking math pedagogical classes to improve her teaching skills and methods. She says each class she teaches requires a different approach as the skill and comprehension level is different even within the same grade level. So this one size fits all is a step backwards for our kids, as kids are diverse in their capabilities, circumstances and motivation.

    I can’t believe that Utah was so close to adopting vouchers allowing parents to chose where to teach their kids to now surrendering education to an out of state consortium that sets a nationalized standard overseen and directed by the federal government. (Governor Herbert did not involve the public in this decision.) All the testing is designed to give the Federal Government the power to manage and steer our children which they consider Human Assets, into the fields they deem them worthy of, based on their standards. I feel my God given rights over my children’s education has been violated without my consent. I also feel that the right to “pursue happiness”, which I view as the right to choose what one wants to be when they grow up – a scientist, a restaurant owner, a singer, a teacher etc will be directed by the Government. They do it in Europe right now…. the government decides what type of jobs you should go into based on your grades. (Many very successful people in many different fields had bad grades at some point before they found their passion, such as Einstein.) It is no accident that Obama took over student loans and now wants each child assessed. With the “control” of both, the government will be able to decide if you deserve a student loan and for what degree they will approve. We are losing the freedom to chose and act for ourselves, we are becoming assets to be managed. Sadly most of those who support a COMMON Core don’t realize that they have adopted the mindset of socialism which is anti free agency.

    1. Have you ever lived in any European countries? Where do you get the idea that their governments choose their citizens’ careers for them based upon their grades? That is patently false. I have personally lived in some European countries, witnessed their educational systems and know many Europeans – their governments do not at all choose their career paths for them. Please don’t promote an idea that is completely false. I would wager that you yourself have never lived outside of Utah much less lived in any European countries and likely have no actual real experience of any other countries’ educational systems.

    2. There isn’t even comparability / equality between the courses and qualifications awarded by the UK Universities, let alone across all 50 countries of Europe (not all are EU members). Similarly for the feeding Primary and Secondary education systems, again in the UK you have a choice of a religious or secular education, as well as a choice of the qualifications, both academic and vocational you study for. In theory you also have a choice, at all levels, as to whether you attend a State or Private institution. In Germany there are parallel academic and vocational educational systems. In France there is a strict National Curriculum. Finland is generally child focused….. These different systems have different outcomes, see for example: OECD PISA 2012 rankings.

    3. There isn’t even comparability / equality between the courses and qualifications awarded by the UK Universities, let alone across all 50 countries of Europe (not all are EU members). Similarly for the feeding Primary and Secondary education systems, again in the UK you have a choice of a religious or secular education, as well as a choice of the qualifications, both academic and vocational you study for. In theory you also have a choice, at all levels, as to whether you attend a State or Private institution. In Germany there are parallel academic and vocational educational systems. In France there is a strict National Curriculum. Finland is generally child focused….. These different systems have different outcomes, see for example: OECD PISA 2012 rankings.

      There’s also the question of how how do you pay for your higher education, some European countries have private fee charging institutions, some have state fee charging institutions. Some countries have Graduate taxes, where instead of fees, higher Education is paid for through an income tax levied on anyone with a degree in the country. Others pay for Higher education out of general taxation. The constituent parts of the UK have all opted for different options, let alone across Europe.

      Then how do you attempt to compare the systems? Is it by the percentage of the population awarded a degree, the class of the degrees awarded, the number of research papers published, the number of Nobel and Turing Prizes / Fields medals? Or something even more subjective such as which continent has the top institution in one or more league tables?:
      QS World University Rankings
      Times Higher Education – World University Rankings

      So there’s no simple way to compare the US educational system with Europe’s, however you define it.

    1. Robert, visit the Action List link at the top of the page to get started on a good collection of articles. Make sure you sign the petition and get on our mailing list.

  20. Carolyn Sharett, You stated that ” we are choosing to work WITH a national group to improve our academic standards.” Talk about “flawed argument” — We are not choosing this! It is being forced down our throats, with a threat of losing funding if we don’t accept. If our small rural school in Arizona doesn’t accept the CCS and the surrounding requirements (PARCC, data collection, implementation costs, etc), th US Dept of ED will withdraw all its funds from our school — OUR TAX DOLLARS, mind you. That withdrawl will equal $500,000 of our $4.5 million budget — or 1/9 of our whole budget. We are being held captive. We are not being given this set of standards as a gift. If it were as you paint the picture, I would have no objection. If the US Dept of ED had spent our tax dollars to research new educational tactics, and were offering it to the states to support educational acheivement, it would be a tremendous idea we could all embrace. We could choose to take it and build on it, and implement it with our own local character and values. We, as parents, could have a major role in seeing that our child is educated in a way we trust and believe in — the AMERICAN way. That is not what the US Dept of Education envisions.

  21. Another argument FOR Common Core by Ms. Sharett, is that the NCLB “did more to help our at-risk and minority students than any other policy initiative in history”, and improvement was shown “at least in title 1 schools.” This is an important issue we are facing. The funding is being poured into bringng the at-risk children up to an acceptable level. This would be easier to swallow if equal amounts of our tax dollars were being spent on elevating the highest level of the most educable children. We are dimming the brightest lights. They are bored in school. They surpass the highest standards in NCLB, and there is nothing left to do. Once they have met the standards, the job of the school is accomplished. The gov’t designed NCLB, and we all admit that it failed to elevate educational standards. So now, we are trusting the gov’t to hand down another idea for us to embrace? Really?

  22. I oppose common core. Let our school boards select curriculum Stop trying to set an agenda for brainwashing our children.

  23. I’m confused by item # 3 (the first one I researched). You link to http://www.smarterbalanced.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Smarter-Balanced-Governance.pdf and indicate that pg 12 somehow requires federal approval to withdraw. However, pg 12 says nothing about withdrawal. Page 14, however, does lay out the requirements for withdrawal. It states:
    “Any state may leave the Consortium without cause, but must comply with the
    following exit process”
    The exit processes basically says you have to submit withdrawal in writing with the same signatures as joining. It does mention “Upon approval”, but requires the approval to come within 1 week, and approval in this context indicates a confirmation that the processes was followed, not an arbitrary decision.

    Given the extremely misleading nature of that comment, I’m inclined to ignore the remainder of the document as little more than FUD.

    1. Tejay, if you notice, the first page of the document says, “Amended March 15, 2013.” They have obviously changed the content of the document and now the requirements are on a different page. It would also appear they have published a revision of the rules of exiting the SBAC. I don’t have the details in front of me, but the statement made above is accurate per the original document. Utah withdrew from the SBAC in 2012 but at this date has still not received or publicized (to my knowledge) the approval of our withdrawal.

    2. My reading indicates the same and I am in agreement. I still promote a minimal common standard of education, but believe that federal funding of schools should not be held hostage – and that state and local governments and boards of education need to do better at focusing on working with the USOE not simply against. An “us versus them” mentality does not benefit our children and their educational needs – nor does it model for them the American ideals of democracy, community and working together.

  24. Some of the people commenting here seem to be missing the most important point: WE THE PEOPLE maintaining local control and freedom are more important than any positive effect that we might or might not receive from standardizing our system with a majority of other states’ systems.

    It’s an anti-constitutional Common Core and it’s education without represenation because of the circumvention of the voter and representative, via private monopolies (Pearson/Gates) and –yes– by federal corruption:

    The federal involvement is evidenced via federal review of tests, federal micromanagement of SBAC in Cooperative Agreemt, federal 15% rule on CC in the NCLB waiver, in speeches by Duncan and Obama) and in the Dept. of Ed’s alteration of federal FERPA regulations is ILLEGAL under the 10th Amendment and GEPA law. Read The General Educational Provisions Act:

    “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…”

    1. See federal technical review of tests being mandated by the Department of Education.

    2. See federal mandate that testing consoria must synchronize “across consortia,” that status updates and phone conferences must be made available to the Dept. of Education regularly, and that data collected must be shared with the federal government “on an ongoing basis” in the SBAC Cooperative Agreement.

    3. See federal alteration of privacy laws that have taken away parental consent over student data collection at the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s website that explains why it sued the Dept. of Ed.

    At a Common Core Informational meeting in Payson on Saturday night, the audience burst into applause in the middle of Alisa’s statement that WE THE PEOPLE have the say, not those who tell us whether or not we get a say. We have to take back our authority over our own government. That is what this is about. Everything else is just twigs on this branch.

    The argument about “mobile society” is silly: while it would be nice for the (less than 1%) of students who move from state to state, to have the same curriculum, assuming that the curriculum is actually good, is it worth tying the other 99% of students to an unamendable curriculum?

    It’s as if we signed up to have our groceries delivered to our doorstep every day. Everyone on the street gets the same bag of groceries, which they all like when it’s perceived as high quality. But when the powers that be negatively alter what’s in the bag, because THEY now have the right to do so, since the neighborhood has given away the right to choose our own groceries, then everyone is stuck. What was originally seen as beneficial and convenient becomes miserable. The point is that WE HAVE NO CONTROL under common core. NO ARGUMENT takes the place of individual rights. That’s what America was founded upon– local control, the freedom to direct life according to the dictates of local, individual, legal, representative conscience, not distant, collective, unrepresentative conscience.

    1. It might be helpful to give the common core a chance and then lobbying our state government if we are not happy with the results. The common core does NOT have the final say in what is taught. It is a framework. The states pick the textbooks, teachers interpret and teach what they want from the textbooks just like they have done in the past. States have the right to drop out any time. They reserve the option to improve on the common core anytime.

      We The People have the say. At the same time We The People also allow our teachers to teach our children and do not feel the need to sit in the classroom everyday to make sure they are receiving proper instruction. Instead of outright distrust of the curriculum, please point to specific examples of the curriculum you disagree with. Every parent cannot be at every curriculum review meeting. We, as a state hire qualified educators to do that for us.

      Please talk to the your local school principal regarding you concern about not having control over Common Core. While I, as a parent cannot change the common core, my child’s well qualified teacher, the principal, the school district and the state education board do have a say and they have repeatedly said that they were under no federal or other pressure to sign on. Yes, there were financial incentives if they signed on. But our elected republican representatives surely saw CC’s merits beyond the incentives and signed on to it. 45 states, both republican and democrat, signed on with the full understanding that they have full control of the process going forward. They can’t all be wrong.

      Again, please point to specific parts of the curriculum that you disagree with. It would be a constructive exercise to get the state board to address those items specifically instead of shooting down the whole curriculum because we feel like we were not given a seat when the curriculum was put together.

      1. Here’s just one part of the curriculum I STRONGLY disagree with: reading 50% informational texts (rather than literature) in High School English class.

        I could write a whole column on why this is such a bad idea, but my main concern isn’t even my own opinion, it’s the question of whether or not this has ever been field tested. Has this ever been in a pilot program? Has it ever been shown that this is more beneficial to students than reading classic literature? Are we going to allow our children to be experimented on and then try to pull out of the program (as you suggest) once the damage has been done?

        My two oldest children were victims of the horrific experiment that was Investigations Math. They are now college age but still suffer from the effects of that terrible program.

        When my oldest was in 3rd grade, his teacher told me what a great program Investigations Math was. I was a young and naive mom, and she was a wonderful teacher. We loved her, my son loved her, so we trusted her. It was YEARS before we realized the damage the program had done. By the time we tried to fix it, it was too late. It was like trying to pour the foundation to a house while it was being built. The whole building ended up collapsing.

        And it took the parents in our neighborhood years of fighting to get rid of Investigations. Once a program is established, it is not so easy to get rid of.

        I’m no longer young or naive. I don’t just trust the school district or teachers when they tell me a program is great. I’m going to study it out and learn about it for myself.

        And I am certainly NOT going to let them experiment on any more of my kids again.

        You shouldn’t either.

        1. “I could write a whole column on why this is such a bad idea”

          Please, then instead of a whole column, at least provide one reason why this is a bad idea. I don’t get it — it actually sounds like a good idea to me. You didn’t provide any explanation at all why this is a bad idea, just some rhetorical questions about how maybe it is a bad idea.

          Thank you,

          1. ANY program that removes the State’s rights is WRONG. If you read their document “On the Road to Implementation” you will see that the State LOSES pretty much every right – very constricted implementation requirements. We should be very, very cautious; I shouldn’t be amazed that 45 states have blindly signed up without a fight or discussion because we have become like sheep in a flock. Our passiveness is disturbing. Shame on us as parents for allowing this garbage to be forced down our throats. If you need more evidence than their document, just look at the news video about the father who DARED to question a Common Core panel during a ‘forum’ – he ended up in handcuffs-and he did nothing but (attempt) to ask a question.

  25. i am so tired of being used by this fed goverment and will not give no more. i draw a line in the sand and stand side by side with those whom stand for freedom and stand for the constitution. i shall never never never give up nor give in as long as i draw breath on this world. this stand is what freedom is about to stop the children from becomeing obama machens. stand tall stand for something but stand. mikkel

    1. You obviously have no idea what Common Core is actually about, do you… Have you even asked an educator that isn’t an ultra-right winger? Most of us actually want this system to work in because we actually know what the hell goes on in the classroom and what it actually takes to give kids and education. Meanwhile groups like this are playing political Russian roulette with their children’s education. It’s disgraceful, and they should be ashamed.

      1. Ummm, do you have any real idea how CC came about? The USOE loves to tell people how they were involved… They didn’t even know who was on the drafting committee until the standards were done. The feds didn’t write CC standards, but they full supported the process which was to let the Gates Foundation get them written. Look at today’s post and you’ll see the feds control the assessments now. The standards largely don’t matter anymore because what’s tested is what’s taught and the feds control the tests.

  26. The article states that Utah would lose its right to soar higher than common core. If you look at several of Utah’s EOL they are WAY below the rigor and depth that other states like North Carolina, and Ohio demand from thieir students.
    I would like my daughters to be as prepared for the elite universities as students in those states. Stop the political BS.

  27. Somebody told you guys that the Common Core State Standards were not developed by the federal government, right? That they were actually developed by a council of state governors and education professionals from multiple states? Because, yeah, you’re going all Glenn Beck on it, and this is not actually a big conspiracy like he told you…

    1. Somebody told you that Governors have no constitutional authority to set education standards, right? So the fact that it was not legal aside, Governors did not actually participate in creating the standards. The NGA, a non-governmental trade association of which many (not all) Governors are members, hired a group of education reformers to write the standards using a combination of Federal Grants and money donated by the Gates Foundation. I recommend reading “Road to a National Curriculum” http://pioneerinstitute.org/download/the-road-to-a-national-curriculum/ written by two former chief counsels to the US Department of Education before you rule out Federal manipulation. This site had been going for years before Glenn Beck picked up on the issue. What conspiracy are you talking about? We’re discussing specific laws and regulations here.

  28. Your presentation tries to paint Arne Duncun as a socialist attempting to pry children from parents’ control to endoctrinate them with his own agenda. The selective editing of the video to change the context of the true nature of the interview completely discredits your message. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLQNFnUhWhw
    It’s interesting how a group of women who claim to represent truth and the ‘American Way’ let half truths and their own propaganda so easily roll off their tongues.

  29. I AM A STUDENT from a jr. high! A few weeks ago, we got a random test. My friend and I thought it was kind of suspicious. You had to write an argumentative essay saying, ” Should parents or the government limit your time on the media?” And of course I said that it should only be limited by my parents. I asked some of my friends to see what they typed in their essay, and they typed exactly what I wrote: “The government doesn’t have the right to control what we use on the media. It’s our parents’ responsibility.” Another thing is that it mostly had ONE side of the argument. They had a large article saying the media is bad and blah blah blah (argument). But it had a tiny article saying what your parent’s can do to limit it (counterargument). Well, I think I aced that test! This website needs to be put out there more! This is almost s two year old website! How come I just barely found out about it yesterday? It’s sad that kids in my school don’t know what these tests are hiding! I understand that we (teenagers) are like sheep and just goes with the flow, but we have the right to now these things before taking the test! STOP common core!!!

    1. Wiramina, we have been trying everything in our power to promote the website. We’ve run radio ads, put up booths at state and county conventions, been on numerous radio interviews, etc… If you have ideas of how to reach more people, let us know.

  30. Despite all that is said, to me it must be fought against vigorously because the states never delegated to the federal government this duty. To do so would take a constitutional amendment. The Department of Education must be disbanded.

    We have seven children. Had we attempted to teach them all the same we may have seven disasters.

    –Robert Stevens, Republican for Congress, Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Utah’s 3rd Congressional District


    1. This Todd Weiler piece contains some accurate information, but lacks much in the way of showing the real background and agenda of what happened to bring it all about. I do not have time or the ability to summarize hundreds of articles on this website that show everything that took place. Your comment that we quote from other anti-CC websites rather than authentic sources is false. We quote from original sources all the time. That’s how we got started. We asked the USOE a lot of questions as we were reading the documents and they either couldn’t answer them or finally wouldn’t answer them. Here’s one example that shows the source documents contradicting the state lines about how (until we got out of SBAC) Utah could change the CC standards.

      1. Nor do I have the time to add in all the information you are not giving or fix the information you throw out that is misleading or incorrect.

        I understand you are trying to provide evidence that CC is a bad thing. That information abounds. There is just as much information supporting it. Additionally, there are plenty of third party articles out there from respectable places that support it with no reason to (and yes, there are some third party sources that argue that CCSM is a bad idea, but not for any of the reasons like you make here on this site).

        None of the links I click on here have sent me to an original source, unless the original was written by someone else with the same agenda. All of those ‘sources’ are from shady resources or very old educational journals where the information has been outdated (one article I read linked from your site was from 1988! We have learned so much more about learning methods since then: it is like trying to build a car from 1910’s technology). Often when you quote government documents you leave out everything that derides your claims.

        One example of what I am talking about, you claim over and over again on this site that we had no power to change the standards and we are stuck with the core. That is not only misleading, but if it were true then your whole purpose is in vain! How can you have an agenda to change something that cannot be changed? The truth is, Many educators in the State (including those who were part of creating the 2007 core that you rave about so much on this site) were on board with the decision. We got to decide on a set of standards from the CCSM and would revisit and revise them periodically. Not every CCSM standard is in the Utah Core (both currently *and* before the revisions that just took place) and the Utah Core has a few standards that are not CCSM ones. In fact, The legislation to adopt common core (Utah Code 53A-1-402.6(2)) states clearly that:

        “The State School Board adopts standards in a range of subjects including math… These core standards are REVISED every FIVE to SEVEN years to assure that students learn what they need to know to be successful after public school.”

        Undoubtedly you will come back and claim that I am interpreting this incorrectly or that it is just a some sort of front and that we really were pinned down. We are all being buffaloed except for you, who seems to know it all. You’re just smarter than everyone else, including those involved heavily in it, so what you say (and the sources you quote) must automatically be more accurate than what they and all the other sources say. You are so hell-bent on spreading your agenda; you are working from the script that adopting CC WAS a bad idea and so you look only for information to appeal to your beliefs and ignore everything that doesn’t. There are plenty of evidences out there that say good things about CC and show it is in fact working (when implemented properly), but those stories are absent from your site. Doesn’t matter to me, I’ve seen it for myself. I actually came here to find some valid arguments against the CC because everything else I’ve come across has been tin-foil-hat garbage. And after weighing what I already know with the information you provide at this site, I am still unswayed.

        I’m not saying the CC is perfect either, but it isn’t the ‘sent from the devil’ evil that you portray it as here. Throwing it out all together would have both good and bad consequences; likewise if we chose to stay with it. As with many things, the answer is not in either extreme but to weigh the information and proceed logically, which is somewhere in the middle.

        …I am not a proponent of CC, but I am a proponent of truth, light, and accuracy.

        1. Dry well said and I and others I know are in agreement. Promoting an “is versus them/black and white/extremist” mentality is not optimal nor does it help students or model for young people the ideals of working together as a community. State and local governemwnts should work WITH federal government to implement minimal educational standards that are wholely beneficial to all – and ensure that they have the abilities to vote and alter, change or amend those standards as necessary. Throwing the baby out with the bath water is not the way to ensure a decent basic minimum standard of education for citizens’ children. They need to stop claiming that there is no benefit at all to minimum common standards – entire societies and cultures are based upon minimum common standards.

      2. Tyler, did you even read the Menlove article I linked to? There is an image from Utah’s state board minutes from August 6, 2010 which clearly states we can’t change the standards and only add 15%. This was absolutely true when we adopted the standards and the state board and state office of education acknowledged it in writing. That’s called a source document. Also referenced on that page are numerous direct quotes from our ESEA waiver application. That’s also called a source document. AFTER we left the SBAC a couple years later, which took quite a bit of effort on our part to get the state out of that consortium, THEN we were able to change our standards, but not until then could that take place because we were trapped inside a federally funded assessment and they couldn’t have a couple dozen states doing their own thing with the standards, so they FORCED everyone to not change anything. Oh, but that’s just tin-foil hat garbage I guess. :)

        1. Just because your articles do not persuade me to take on you view does not mean idid not read them. In fact, isearched for the actual letter to read instead of your commentary on it. My point is, we were able to leave. And we could have at any time with the proper proceedings. Case clossed.

          Those proceedings may have taken time/effort. Everything in government does. That is nothing new and if that bother you, then perhaps you’re fighting the wrong battle.

          1. Here is my own source:
            “The Common Core State Standards are and will remain a state-led effort, and adoption of the standards and any potential revisions will continue to be a voluntary state decision.” –CCSM document

            As well as Utah Code 53A-1-402.6(2) cited above.

            And another:
            “The Board adopted these standards because it believes that they are a substantial improvement in both quality and rigor for Utah school children. Some have erroneously insisted that Utah is still obligated to retain the common core standards, despite the grant rejection. The Utah Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel has determined that such an argument is legally invalid. In fact, federal law expressly rejects any notion that a state or agency can be bound to a federal grant requirement unless the state or agency (1) has been approved for such a grant, and (2) has signed a grant or cooperative agreement with the federal government (Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, 31 USCA 6304-6305). Utah has done neither with respect to the Common Core. Finally, Arne Duncan, the US Secretary of Education, has also written a letter to Governor Gary Herbert, dated March 2012, in which he confirms that Utah retains complete autonomy in determining its core standards and may change them at any time.” –Utahpublicschools.org

            You have a quote from some letter that refers to http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/DOCS/UtahESEAFlexibiltyRequest.aspx (supposedly on pages 87 and 91) but that quote is not in the document I have here.

            …Besides, If you you want them changed, which standards precisely are you unhappy with? Just one specific standard as an example will suffice.

          2. Of course we could have with the proper proceedings. That’s why we fought hard to get Utah to exit the SBAC because under that agreement we signed a contract that we would not change the standards and only add to them up to 15% new standards. We were stuck. After exiting SBAC, we were able to change the standards, but didn’t for years. In fact it took 8 months to get the state board to put cursive handwriting back into the ELA standards since Common Core removed that and 50% of literature by 12th grade.

          3. “The Board adopted these standards because it believes that they are a substantial improvement in both quality and rigor for Utah school children.”

            Does that mean it’s true? The fact that the only professional mathematician on the math validation committee refused to sign off on the standards (Dr. Jim Milgram), and Dr. Stotsky who was in large part responsible for MA’s success with their standards for ELA also refused to sign off, both stating the lack of quality, should be a concern for everyone involved. Then you have all the lies that have been told that this was state led, internationally benchmarked, etc… Totally false.

            As for the USOE information and Herbert’s 2012 letter, that’s after we exited SBAC. This “Evidence” page is outdated. There are hundreds of articles on the website and I have not tried to come back here and update it regularly. Much has happened since this page was first put up as more and more information has been revealed.

            I do hope you’ll keep reading the site. I really hope you’ll watch Dr. Duke Pesta’s presentation on Youtube called “From Farce to Failure.” Listen to Gates and Coleman and Duncan describe their plans and see if it doesn’t alarm you a bit.

          4. “The fact that the only professional mathematician on the math validation committee refused to sign off on the standards (Dr. Jim Milgram), and Dr. Stotsky who was in large part responsible for MA’s success with their standards for ELA also refused to sign off, both stating the lack of quality, should be a concern for everyone involved. ”

            Actually, I know plenty of professional mathematicians who love the CCMS.

            Dr. Milgram’s critiques raise no concerns for me. My reasons quite coincidentally can be summarized in this article: https://anhpe.org/2014/01/23/james-milgrams-dishonest-critique-of-the-common-core-math-standards/

            (As a note, I held these views prior to reading this article, I only found this article by happenstance tonight. Rather than make all these points in redundant fashion I have referenced the above article which closely mirrors my opinion on Dr. Milgram’s critiques.)

            Also, there were many other qualified mathematicians on the Validation Committee. Dr. Milgram is refereed to as “the only professional mathematician” because he is the only one who is an Emeritus Professor of a mathematics department. There are several Emeritus Professors at local universities around the state of Utah that promote CCMS.

            As for reading further on this site… I think I’ve bad enough. I can only stomach so much. I just hope people aren’t as easily buffaloed by the spins presented by EITHER side. Think for yourselves people. And get a second opinion (preferably from a non-biased source. But at very least, examine both sides and weigh your options).

  31. It is ridiculous to complain about balancing literature with informational text. If you want your child to go to college, they will need to be able to analyze informational text. It was added to the Utah Core because some teachers were not teaching informational text at all, causing students to have no research skills.

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