Parent math complaints and opting out of SAGE

Here’s a few comments from the UACC Facebook page. Unfortunately, Utah’s infatuation with constructivist math isn’t going to stop till Common Core is replaced with quality math standards.

Don’t miss the success story of one parent using Alpine’s opt out form in her own school district. You have the right as a parent to opt your child out of the SAGE tests. Nobody can force your child to take those tests…except if you sign a contract to do it. Watch out for some charters who made parents sign on that their children will take the exams so the school won’t risk losing funding. Big brother wants your data, or else you don’t get the feds’ money.

Rebecca L. writes:

Here’s a real life anecdote:
My second grader missed almost half of his double digit addition problems on several consecutive math assignments. I sat down with him and had him do a problem for me that he missed: 37 + 26. Rather than efficiently do the problem, he rewrote it as 30+20, added those, and added 7+9 (an error in rewriting). Then he added those two sums to get his final (wrong) answer. THIS IS INSANITY. Will he do the same method for an eight digit addition problem? If they won’t use the common core math to solve multi digit problems, why are they wasting time teaching this method?

The best part is, I showed him in ten seconds how to “carry”. It is so simple to explain: This is the tens column, put the tens part of the number in the tens column. The look on his face was priceless when he realized how quickly he could solve addition problems without so many extra steps. He finished both assignments quickly and I am now confident in his ability to add. I had him add two six digit numbers and- he got it right! The first time! Without “creating” five additional steps to solve the problem.

It is frustrating to me to add unnecessary steps and make math unnecessarily tedious. It’s a fun subject! Let’s focus on mastery of a subject, rather than just focusing on “attempting” to find a solution to a math problem.


Pam W. writes:

I was appalled when I saw my 7th grade granddaughter’s math book (Common Core identified) at the beginning of the year and saw that they still had these kids drawing pictures — circles or x’s or whatever — to solve problems. We need to go back to math taught the traditional way.


Cathy D. writes:

If possible, please send me a resource site to help assist me in how to be able to refuse the math and reading common core that is being forced upon my son along with his other subjects. They are impossible to master! My son already struggles due to the lack of educating due to no child left behind! There is so much he has not learned and is in the 7th grade. But much he has also retained and mastered with the basic academic subjects. Under extreme concern for his education, I placed him in the K-12 homeschool program. They have also implemented the Common Core expecting my son to pass those lessons/tests for a student they also placed in the special ed program years ago. It is a daily fear my son will never be able to reach the learning and education required to maintain a job or career. I find it hard to assist and help as his learning coach when I myself can’t understand the work or assignment. Please tell me what I can do to get my son the education he deserves. Thank you, Ms. D

(For those of you in a similar situation to Cathy, you can consider dual-enrollment and teach your child at home with quality materials you understand and can teach. You can also get help at learning centers that thrive off curriculum that is not aligned to Common Core. Sylvan, Mathnasium, and others are places to check.)


Patricia J. writes:

I thought I’d share a positive today: We did our taxes last night (NOT the positive part!), and the lady who does our taxes every year also teaches Jr. High math (all grades) in the Weber School District. She hates CC, and mentioned that Utah is the only state NOT integrated with other states, and that leaves us without textbooks because no publisher wants to write math books for just Utah, and that makes CC even MORE difficult to teach. I told her that Alpine just released an opt-out form for SAGE, and she perked up. She said “I’m in charge of SAGE for my school, and I haven’t heard this.” I told her I copied the sentence from Alpine’s opt-out form letter and made my own for my 3 children (in K, 4th and 8th grades). She looked surprised and said, “I didn’t know you could do that!” I told her that I didn’t know if it was an option in our District but I did it anyway and my 8th grader’s VP called to ask only whether I wanted to pick her up during testing or go to an office to do work while others tested, no fuss. She said, “I need that form! I just might have to hand these out to my students!” I told her where to look on your website, and she said she would definitely be using it. I told her that my 8th grader’s VP told me that 95% of their students have to take SAGE testing in order to get federal funding, so if we can JUST get 6% to opt out, we’d make a HUGE difference! She said she would start telling parents she knew that opting out was an option, because most don’t even know that it can be done! We need to just make up a general opt-out form for SAGE and pass it around to get the word out. We’re making a difference, guys, we just need to TALK about our OPTIONS!

(Get Alpine’s form at this link. You can’t get it on their own website yet:


6 thoughts on “Parent math complaints and opting out of SAGE”

  1. We were among the first to experience the joy of CC aligned math curriculum in Colorado back in 2009. My children were in grades 4 and 5. It was insane. It was not the only, but a big contributing factor to our choosing to homeschool.
    In 2011 we moved to Utah and I was so relieved and impressed with the level of education my children were receiving here. No Common Core in sight.
    Enter 2013-14 school year. My 8th grader is in an advanced math class that she hates because she can’t understand it, and the teacher is still trying to figure out how to teach it. My husband, who aced calculus, has had to spend an hour at a time studying it to figure out what the questions mean in order to help her with homework. His comments were along the lines of “getting the same answers by a much more difficult and confusing process”.
    It makes me so sad the superior education system Utah has always had (I grew up here) has sold-out.

  2. My fourth grader struggles with the various methods of two and three digit multiplication that he is required to use. He understood the concepts, but invariably he makes re-writing mistakes somewhere along the tedious multistep process. He is much more efficient and accuracte when he uses “traditional” methods, but he is not allowed. My second grader brought home math homework with several problems marked wrong. He had the correct answer and demonstrated his work in a completely rational, common sense manner. However, since he had not completed the problems the way the worksheet required him to, he was marked wrong. Is this a following directions exercise or mathematics? I understand the value of teaching math in multiple ways and with different methods. But to restrict a child to use one specific method, when clearly he understands and prefers a different method, is ridiculous! The frustration these children are facing (and many of their teachers) is heartbreaking and infuriating.

  3. I am thrilled to see that there is a glimmer of hope in opting out. My daughter always loved going to school and was excited to go each day. This common core nightmare has changed all that. I am taking college math and have trouble helping her with 5th grade math the way that they want it done. What happened to the way we learned it which actually made sense? When they are giving these poor kids 4 and 5 different ways of doing a problem they are setting them up for failure. On another subject, I recently had a parent teacher conference and asked about the spelling lists (they used to send one home every week). The teacher actually told me that there was no time for it due to the amount of testing and that it really wasn’t that important anyway because afterall, we have spell check. I was absolutely floored that she would say that. The funny thing is on their class web-site, which she built, there are 2 blatant mispellings on the main page! So much for spell check. As far as I am concerned, if these children cannot read and write properly, the rest will be for naught anyway.

  4. My kids actually had a harder time assimilating to Investigative Math then CC math. It was implemented during my oldest kids elementary years and was a hard change, not only for students but teachers still learning how to teach it. A change of curriculum in our schools happens every five to seven years as educators try and improve education. So every so many years, there will be a change and it will be hard. In seven years a new curriculum will be something different.
    My fifth grader can add faster than I can! While it may take longer to learn the new math in the long run my youngest actually does math faster. He understands math from different angles instead of just the one way like I was taught. I showed him the way I was taught and he was able to do problems that way too.
    We have math textbooks in our schools in Alpine so does that mean our district in integrated? Or did Weber district not order books in time for school to start? That happened in other districts.
    The tests our students have been taking for years are sent to the district and state and federal government. Funding for our schools is based on test scores plus other indicators. So “data mining” is nothing new, even for children. You see the right side of your FB? It’s advertising due to data mining from you shopping on your computer. If your children are on the computer or does searches, ads pop up for their interests, too.
    In all the complaining about CC I have yet to hear anyone give a solution other than pull out. Pulling out will leave us where? With what curriculum? And who do we appoint to create a new curriculum?

  5. Everybody treats me with disrespect when I’m opted out of SAGE, because most everybody is only opting out because they plainly don’t want to take the test. I’m the only one that I know of in the entire school who has a good reason for opting out, and I’m constantly being bullied by adults for doing it. I’m also yelled at by teachers for opposing Common Core, and some teachers even preach about Common Core to all their classes like its a religion. Anybody have any solutions?

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