Tag Archives: Common Core

Rebuttal to USOE Fact flier

The USOE (Utah State Office of Education) mailed out a flier (on our dime) to all GOP delegates making unsubstantiated statements to try and persuade them to vote against the anti-Common Core resolution on Saturday.

USOE’s QuickFacts in quotes, responses below:

1. In Utah, the term “Common Core” is limited to only the state level standards for mathematics and English language arts. In our state, those standards are not connected to data sharing, federal funding or mandates, or loss of local control of education.

Adopting Common Core standards, the only standards that fit the definition of “career and college ready standards,” was a condition of the federal Race to the Top RttT grant[1] application that also included requirements for data collection. The USOE committed to the standards in our application[2] before the standards were complete[3].  Utah did not receive RttT money[4] in the end, but by the time we knew this, the reforms were in place[5].

These are not just standards.  Common core is just one piece of a much larger education reform agenda[6].  The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund[7], Race to the Top grant[8], Race to the Top for Assessments[9], and No Child Left Behind Waiver all share the same 4 reform tenents.  Namely, standards and assessment reforms, accountability a.k.a teacher/principal evaluations-school grading, data systems, and school turn around reforms.[10]

2. The Common Core State Standards were created by the states, for the states. Utah adopted these standards in 2010, thus making them part of the Utah Core Standards.

“States” did not lead this effort. The National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) who led this process are non-governmental trade organizations who receive their funding from the federal government and private companies[13] [14].  Proponents of Common Core claim that President Obama is now trying to take credit for what the states started.  While it is true that there has been a movement toward centralized/nationalized education for a long time, President Obama catapulted his vision of education reform on the states with enticements of Stimulus money[15] and threats of losing Title I[16] money.  As noted in several states’ board meeting minutes and audio from spring of 2009, the States had been invited to develop national standards[17] [18] [19] by the US Dept. of Ed.  Further, the NGA and CCSSO are not elected representative bodies and their meetings are not open to the public[20] [21]. This process is not compatible with those laid forth by our state or federal constitutions[22].  According to the Utah Constitution[23], the only people who set standards that the Governor has the authority to help pick are the ones that go on the ballot[24] for State School Board elections… not those who made up the privately-hired standards writing committee[25]. State School Board members are elected to represent the will of the people of this state, not to represent the will of the NGA/CCSSO to the people of this state.

3. Utah and the nation’s economic strength depend on how well we educate our children to compete in a global economy. Utah teamed with other states to adopt evidence-based standards standards that will improve our economic standing in the world, both as a country and as a state.

A correlation between high student test scores (which is how states and countries are compared and ranked in education policy setting) and economic prosperity has never been empirically established: “Unfortunately for proponents of this empirically vapid argument it is well established that a rank on an international test of academic skills and knowledge does not have the power to predict future economic competitiveness and is otherwise meaningless for a host of reasons (Baker, 2007; Bracey, 2009; Tienken, 2008).”

4. The Common Core standards are internationally benchmarked to keep Utah students competitive in math and English language arts, not just with other students in the United States, but with students from around the world.

Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram, the only content experts who sat on the Common Core validation committee refused to sign off on the standards in part because no proof of international benchmarking was ever given.  They asked for specific countries used and none were supplied[26].  Their own comparisons with other nations led them to conclude that students following the CCSS would be two years behind their peers in countries with high test performance[27].

Additionally, in a March 2010 Massachusetts State Board Meeting Jason Zimba, one of the writers of the standards admitted that the standards were written to prepare students for a non-selective two-year college not a four year university[28].

In April James Milgram wrote a letter[29] to a UT citizen for the State School Board and this is what he had to say about international benchmarking – “I can tell you that my main objection to the Core Standards, and the reason I didn’t sign off on them was that they did not match up to international expectations.  They were at least 2 years behind the practices in the high achieving countries by the 7th grade, and, as a number of people have observed, only require partial understanding of what would be the content of normal, solid, course in Algebra I or Geometry. … They will not help our children match up to the students in the top foreign countries when it comes to being hired to top level jobs.”

5. The Utah State Board of Education controls the core for Utah and answers to no one but Utah voters on the issue.

The Utah State Board of Education answered to no one, especially not voters, in adopting the Common Core standards without publicity or public hearings.  Just recently in the audio[30] from the May 2nd board meeting where a resolution supporting Common Core was passed the comment was made, “This is just the beginning of really communicating the way we need to with the general public” and “we need to take our political messaging more seriously and consider it carefully”.  We elect the board to listen and represent the people not the other way around.

In this same meeting when discussing the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) waiver standards options, their legal counsel told the board, “Option B clearly says that you need the approval and certification of those institutions of higher education. In my opinion that is delegating authority, which may be scrutinized.  Cases with regard to delegation of constitutional authority that’s been constitutionally delegated is very fact specific.”   Yet, this is exactly what happened with the Common Core when the State Board delegated their authority to the NGA who certified the standards as “rigorous and internationally benchmarked”.

A step as significant as nationally aligned standards, affecting almost every student in the country should have involved a thorough public vetting process.

6. Utah can utilize any standards it chooses at any time with no penalty or repercussions. States created the standards and any state can withdraw at any time without penalty.

Great news! Let’s get out!

We’ve never said we can’t get out but that we want out.  The longer we go down the implementation road the more money we spend on these reforms and the harder it will be to get out.

Withdrawal would likely affect our ESEA flexibility waiver.  We should demand true Congressional relief from No Child Left Behind.

7. The Utah Core Standards are minimum standards of expectations of what students should be learning at each grade level and states are free to add to these standards. In fact, the Utah State Board of Educationis already developing additional standards in cursive and handwriting to add to the English language arts core.

The Utah State Board of Education voted in August 2010[31] to adopt the copyrighted standards as written, in their entirety.  States can add a small amount to the standards, up to 15%.

The RTTT[32], RTTTA[33], NCLB waiver[34] all use the same 15% language.

8. Nothing in Utah’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards promotes data mining of student’s personal information or other inappropriate use of student data. The Utah State Board of Education is committed to student and teacher privacy and will not share personally identifiable data.

Common standards has been the holy grail of researchers and data mining proponents for years as it greatly enhances the comparable sample size and the ability to compare data across states. One private education data mining company called the CC standards the “glue that ties everything together.” A state longitudinal student data system SLDS was another requirement of both the RttT grant program and the ESEA flexibility waiver. National, “student-level” longitudinal data (de-identified with a student number) instead of aggregate data, is the desired outcome of combining the SLDS with common standards. Making sure data is not “personally identifiable” is only one small safety measure and in no way addresses the many other privacy and policy concerns.

As stated under “fact #1” Common Core is just one piece of a much larger education reform agenda[35].  The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund[36], Race to the Top grant[37], Race to the Top for Assessments[38], and No Child Left Behind Waiver all share the same 4 reform tenents.  Namely, standards and assessment reforms, accountability a.k.a teacher/principal evaluations-school grading, data systems, and school turn around reforms.[39]

9. The Common Core is not a program, assessment system, data collection system, a curriculum, nor a federalization of state education programs. The Common Core is a set of standards – nothing more nor less than the Utah State Board of Education’s expectations for grade-level appropriate knowledge in core subjects. The determination on how to teach these standards rests solely with local schools.

The term “Common Core” specifically refers the standards that are an essential and most visible piece of a broader reform package that has no official name. As a result, the term is also often used (whether the Board condones it or not) to refer to the full package of reforms that were included in the federal incentives of RttT and the ESEA waiver, i.e. Common Core reforms, or Common Core agenda. Policy that affects our children should not be made without consideration to how each small piece interacts with all other factors. When those in the highest positions of authority over education don’t acknowlege the impact of nationally aligned standards in the overall context of other reforms such as data collection, unreviewable assessments, teacher accountability and school grading laws it is highly concerning and fosters a loss of confidence.

10. The standards are not one-size-fits all. Common Core standards for English and math are the same for states that adopt them, but local school districts, charters, principals, teachers and parents decide how these rigorous standards will be met. Standards do not mandate how teachers should teach of how students should learn–Utah will continue to innovate and share its successes with other states.

Standards generally determine what will be taught and in what order. Aligned tests, to which teacher pay is tied, have a more specific influence on curriculum. Practice standards, included in the CCSS, have been interpreted consistently to favor certain methods of teaching. The small sliver of local control over a narrowed selection of materials within the confines of the standards and assessments leaves little room for innovation.

Listen to what Bill Gates[40] who has poured millions into the creation and promotion of CCSS has to say about the standards, assessments and aligned curriculum.

[10] http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/k-12

[11] http://www.nga.org/cms/home/about/financial-statements.html

[12] http://www.ccsso.org/who_we_are.html

[26] http://www.uaedreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2000/01/Stotsky-Invited-Testimony-for-Missouri-on-Common-Core.pdf – page 3

[28] http://www.doe.mass.edu/boe/minutes/10/0323reg.pdf – page 5

[29] http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/utahns-discuss-common-core-math/

[30] http://stream.schools.utah.gov/videoarchive/board/audio/2013/05-02-13/06_Board_Chairs_Report.mp3




What is the problem with Common Core math in Utah? What is the solution?

First, a teacher comment we received this week:

“It just seems like a lose-lose all the way around. 

It may interest you to know that all of us math teachers got an e-mail from Diana Suddreth (state math curriculum rep) about the attack that cc has come under in our state government. The e-mail was saying how concerned she was that the state reps are starting to listen to the parents and was asking for teachers state-wide to start speaking up for the core and defend it to our reps to let them know how great it is. 

We here at ____________ got that e-mail and laughed out loud because it would seem a little funny to defend it when we’re on the side of the parents…

We have a storage room full of old Alg, Alg2, and Geometry textbooks that sit no longer in use because of cc.”

I want to be very clear about something right from the start. The anti-Common Core movement is not just about the standards. It’s about the entire nationalization/globalization agenda that goes along with it. However, this article serves to show the weakness of the Common Core math standards themselves and what it means for Utah students.

In 2007, Utah adopted new standards which were rated an A- by the Fordham Foundation. This was a big improvement over our prior standards which Fordham rated a D. They later rated the Common Core math standards an A- after receiving several hundred thousand dollars from the Gates Foundation to do a review. Money talks. The Gates Foundation is very interested in getting everyone on these standards, and so is the federal government. If you don’t know the connections, watch this video. In their analysis comparing Utah’s math standards and Common Core, they stated:

The Bottom Line

With some minor differences, Common Core and Utah both cover the essential content for a rigorous, K-12 mathematics program. Utah’s standards are briefly stated and usually clear, making them easier to read and follow than Common Core. In addition, the high school content is organized so that standards addressing specific topics, such as quadratic functions, are grouped together in a mathematically coherent way. The organization of the Common Core is more difficult to navigate, in part because standards dealing with related topics sometimes appear separately rather than together.

The chief weakness in Utah’s standards stems from the lack of specific content expectations in the development of arithmetic, and in the failure to make arithmetic a focus in the appropriate grades. Common Core provides admirable focus and explicitly requires standard methods and procedures, enhancements that would benefit Utah’s standards.

In other words, our 2007 standards were pretty good and could have used a little tweaking to make them stronger. If the USOE had actually implemented the external reviewer’s suggestions, we would probably have had some of the very best standards in America.  Dr. Hung-Hsi Wu, math professor at Berkeley and Utah’s external reviewer of the 2007 standards, was shocked months after reviewing the final draft of our standards, that the USOE had failed to implement any of his recommendations. Commenting to the USOE he wrote:

“Nicole [Paulson at the USOE], Thank you for your courteous note. I can understand your consternation upon reading the quote in Jim Milgam’s letter of my reaction to the revised standards (incidentally, he quoted me correctly), but if you realize that I had taken for granted that most of what I recommended would be implemented, then you would also understand why I was so shocked when I was reluctantly made to read the revision.”

What followed was a list of several critical items that should have been included but the USOE left out. Why did they leave them out? It’s unknown for certain, but it is known that they hated the fact that we succeeded in making them raise Utah’s then D-rated standards. Standards are not a priority for the USOE, getting federal money was the driving incentive for applying for Race to the Top money where we agreed to adopt new untested Common Core standards, sight-unseen.

Dr. David Wright in the math department at BYU, was one of the few mathematicians that worked on the Utah 2007 math standards. I recently corresponded with him comparing where Utah was at with those standards, and where we are now with Common Core.

Under the 2007 standards, most students would take the following schedule of classes:

7th grade: pre-algebra
8th grade: algebra 1
9th grade: geometry
10th grade: algebra 2
11th grade: pre-calculus
12th grade: calculus

Some students who are well prepared could take algebra in 7th grade allowing them to accelerate. Some students, myself included when I was younger, double up and take geometry and algebra 2 together in order to accelerate. That option is no longer possible under the new integrated approach to Common Core.

Under the new Common Core standards, students get an integrated approach to math meaning there are no longer discrete years of math, but a blend of subject matter.

Math 7 (7th grade): contains some pre-algebra/algebra
Math 8 (8th grade): contains some algebra
Secondary Math 1 (9th grade): Finish some of algebra 1 and some geometry
Secondary Math 2 (10th grade): Finish algebra 1 and some Geometry and some algebra 2
Secondary Math 3 (11th grade): Finish algebra 2, geometry and some Pre-Calculus
AP Calculus: It is the hope of the USOE that students will be prepared for AP calculus without a year of pre-calculus. In reality, many students will struggle without precalculus.

According to Dr. Wright: “If you are not in honors Math 1 by ninth grade, the USOE does not see you prepared for calculus.  Many students who take the honors Math 1, Math 2, and Math 3 would still be better off in pre-calculus instead of calculus because their algebra skills will not be good enough.”

Some students will be able to take Math 1 in 8th grade, if they accelerated early, but for most students they will either have to skip pre-calculus to take calculus in 12th grade, or take pre-calculus in 12th grade and wait till college for an authentic calculus course. Honors students get a little more content depth but no real acceleration to advance faster.

The problems of Common Core math in Utah are two-fold.

1) In spite of the Gates influenced Fordham grade of A-, Common Core sets the United States back from where we should be. The Common Core proponents used to tout how the standards were internationally benchmarked. That’s been proven false and those statements removed. Dr. Jim Milgram, Stanford math professor and the only professional mathematician on the validation committee, has written standards and worked with international standards for many years. Here are a couple of comments from him:

“The Common Core standards claim to be ‘benchmarked against the international standards’ but this phrase is meaningless. They are actually two or more years behind international expectations by eighth grade, and only fall further behind as they talk about grades 8-12. Indeed, they don’t even fully cover the material in a solid geometry course, or in the second year algebra course.

“While the difference between these standards and those of the top states at the end of eighth grade is perhaps somewhat more than one year, the difference is more like two years when compared to the expectations of the high-achieving countries — particularly most of the nations of East Asia.”

2) The USOE is constructivist oriented. They told Utahns that we would have portability of students with other states as a feature of Common Core, but then adopted a different schedule of learning which will not allow for it. They did this to implement constructivist math across the state. Trainings by the USOE for teachers have included the nonsense that students don’t need to learn their times tables. Good teachers will ignore that, but the fact is, the USOE actively looks to promote this philosophy in their teacher training.

Teacher comments from trainings

USOE constructivist curriculum on video: which do you want for your child?

The bottom line is, Common Core math is not internationally benchmarked, not going to prepare as many children for an authentic calculus class by the end of high school as our 2007 standards would, not allow for portability of students with other states because only Vermont adopted the integrated method with Utah, and the push for constructivism will further damage our children’s math skills and thinking. The best thing Utah could do is immediately go back to our 2007 standards, and implement the changes suggested by Dr. Wu, the external reviewer. Readopting those standards would be superior to Common Core and they would be honest Utah math standards.


Orem Common Core Presentation by UACC

If you have not been able to attend one of the Common Core presentations put on by our group, we taped Saturday night’s presentation by Renee Braddy, Alisa Ellis, and Christel Swasey. It’s just under 1 hour in length and gives a fantastic overview of the true Common Core agenda. Watch full screen for HD resolution.

STEM is Dead in Utah Courtesy of the USOE

dixiecupcalculusSeveral years ago I was involved in what has been called “The Math Wars”. Alpine School District had quit teaching the times tables, long division, and some other basic math skills, to children under the promise that a constructivist (ie. children need to construct their own knowledge) approach to math would deepen their skills. This was an abominable failure. Even at BYU where 2 math education professors got permission (by someone over the math department’s dead body) to teach a class of honors calculus to freshmen with this method. The result was a disaster. Honors calculus students measuring Dixie Cups with rulers while regular students were learning how to integrate. Predictably to everyone but those 2 professors teaching the constructivist class, their students scored below all 17 sections of non-honors calculus on the final exam. Their final defeat? Blame it on the test writer who had been creating the same test from the same objectives for years.

Unfortunately, with adoption of Common Core, the state of Utah took a bad idea that parents in Alpine School District hated, and decided to spread the love around the state. As parents slowly wake up to the horrors of constructivist math and wonder what happened to their child’s love of math, there will begin a new revolt that will bring tens of thousands of angry parents raining down on the heads of the state leadership.

Don’t believe me? Consider how upset a parent is when their child goes off to college with straight A’s in math and winds up in remedial math. At last look, UVU has a 70% remediation rate for incoming freshmen in math. In fact, it’s so bad, they don’t just have remedial math classes at UVU, they have a remedial math DEPARTMENT. SLCC has roughly the same percentage of remediation. That’s a pathetic waste of taxpayer dollars that when tens of thousands of students arrive they can’t do high school math and need remediation, and before someone suggests it’s because young people are arriving after serving LDS missions and have simply forgotten how to do math, that’s been examined and it’s a trivial reduction in the percentage.

Let me illustrate with a video. I recently sat down with an anonymous but very involved person in the Utah education arena, and reviewed a few books. Interactive math, Saxon math, and the Utah State Office of Education’s (USOE) own home grown math book. Watch the horror show demonstrating these textbooks and then read below.


Here’s what the state shows on their RIMS database for schools and districts to pick textbooks from. I’ll start with Saxon.

Saxon math-Recommended Limited

“Evaluation: Textbook review for Saxon Algebra I. Overall, the program matches the Utah Core Standards for Algebra 57.75%. The following is a breakdown of the evaluation by individual Utah Core Standards for Algebra I: …(removed specific line items for space…read it on the site) This program does not develop concepts for deep understanding. It provides few examples and the flow of the program is missing, very disjointed.

If you didn’t watch the video, you’re missing out. Saxon is full of examples while the other programs have NONE.

This isn’t the first time I’ve witnessed a hit job on Saxon math (link 2). Saxon was developed by an Air Force Engineer turned educator and a few years ago when I evaluated the top 10 scoring schools in Utah for math on standardized exams, 7 of the 10 schools were using Saxon. It’s a great program that builds skills and depth of understanding. It’s the type of math most of us grew up on and that we can look in the textbook and remember how to do a problem and help our children. In short, it shows how to do a problem, explains the concept, and gives students an opportunity to practice what they learned so they can obtain mastery over the knowledge.

Contrasted with…

Interactive Math-Recommended Primary

This non-traditional text approaches the study of mathematics through student-centered exploration and meaningful tasks. Teachers would begin the lesson by presenting the task for the day, and students and teachers would work on the tasks together as they develop their mathematical understanding of the topics. The format of this text encourages active learning of mathematics. Each unit in this text has a central problem or theme and focuses on several branches of mathematics including algebra, geometry, probability, graphing, statistics, and trigonometry using an integrated approach.
This text covers more than 80% of the 2012 Utah State Core Standards for Secondary I or Secondary I Honors.
Lessons consist of single-page individual or group tasks without traditional mathematical instruction or explanations. Mathematics is learned through the culture and practice that is developed within the classroom as students work on the various tasks.
Although topics are not easily~recognized by lesson titles, this text includes an index of mathematical ideas which makes it easier to find particular ideas. Problem sets are minimal but build depth of understanding. A nice glossary is included at the end of the text.”

church-of-constructivismRemember from the video above, Interactive math has declared the most important purpose of their book is to make math fun!!!

There is no line-by-line evaluation of the shortcomings of Interactive Math as there is with Saxon. It’s pathetically obvious from looking through the book that it’s devoid of content and yet the reviewer, obviously a disciple of religious constructivism, announces this text will produce “depth of understanding” from minimal problem sets. This comic is worth 1,000 words.

Finally we come to the third book, the USOE’s own creation which is similar to Interactive Math and it’s constructivist approach.

Open Education Math – The Mathematics Vision Project- Recommended Primary

This “textbook,” and I use that term very loosely since there is no instruction or examples, was also given a rating of “Recommended Primary” by the USOE. Convenient that you can rate your own product… It was developed by 5 school teachers, who as far as I know have no prior experience in writing textbooks, at least 3 of which are known constructivists, 2 from Alpine School District.

“Evaluation: The OER Secondary I textbook is designed to be an online textbook that may or may not be printed. The textboook will allow for future updates and improvements as well as teacher customization. The first edition of this online text addresses the first third of the 2012 Utah Core Standards for Secondary I Mathematics. The content of the text is accurate and represents the current research in mathematics. Each lesson begins with a task to help students develop an understanding of the core concepts to be learned. Teachers may need professional development to teach using tasks. There are extensive instructions and teacher notes to guide the teacher to teach each task. Some of the tasks have a lot of reading which may be challenging for ESL students. ~ The homework has three sections. The Ready section has problems that will help the student for upcoming concepts. The Set section contains practice problems for what is being developed in the current lesson. The Go section has problems that help students review concepts learned previously. The homework sets are not long and tedious so students can focus on what is being taught. ~ The Getting Ready Unit reviews ideas from previous courses that begin to connect the content that will be taught in Secondary I. This section may help during the transition to the~new core. ~ Each lesson begins with a task to help students develop an understanding of the core concepts to be learned. Teachers may need professional development to teach using tasks. There are extensive instructions to guide the teacher to teach each task. Many of the tasks have a lot of reading which may be challenging for ESL students. There are no materials at this time to address special educaiton students and ESL students. ~ There is an extensive section for parents that includes online resources such as the Kahn Academy videos and worked out examples of procedural problems. ~ ~ This book would require that teachers allow time for students to think and have a lot of discussion in the classroom.

Wait a minute…this book relies on the Khan Academy videos to teach procedures? That’s convenient. Lets write a textbook and say, “we just want depth of learning, you go somewhere else to learn HOW to do math.”

Require teachers to allow time for a lot of discussion? What if those students actually want to learn math and not have their peers discussing what they ate for lunch?

Now the big lie. Current research says there are NO studies that support constructivism. Dr. Jim Milgram, Stanford math professor who has been and may still currently be the only educator invited to serve on NASA’s advisory board, noted that if constructivist math were a success, NASA would be looking for students that went through that pedagogy. The fact is, BYU’s math education professors’ failure is typical of constructivist programs.

There is only one conclusion. Following the USOE’s math recommendations will kill STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives. All you business leaders and technology oriented professionals supporting Common Core are going to be in for a rude awakening as this machine destroys love of math, destroys math skills, and destroys any edge Utah has for technology…unless…

Utah must drop Common Core and restore local control. The USOE is hell-bent on constructivism and unless there is a major personnel change at the USOE, it’s going to rest on the shoulders of parents to take their children’s education into their own hands (literally), and leave those who can’t get the support at home to drown in fuzzy math.

In 2006 or so, Brett Moulding, state curriculum director at the USOE invited me to his office to ask a simple question. “Oak, you’re a parent who is very involved in your children’s education. How can we replicate that to other parents?”

“Easy,” I replied. “Just implement Investigations math statewide and you’ll have all the parental involvement you can handle.”

True story. I just had no idea they were going to take my suggestion literally. Parents, you may seriously want to consider The Great Escape…Homeschooling.

RNC Unanimously Passes Anti-Common Core Resolution

It’s being reported that the Republican National Committee just unanimously passed an anti-Common Core resolution in their Spring meeting in Los Angeles, CA. This is a significant development which will help encourage other states to follow suit. There is a resolution which will come up at the state GOP convention in May here in Utah, which is similar to this. Please contact your state delegates in your local precinct and share this post with them and encourage them to vote to pass the anti-Common Core resolution in their meeting.

Here is the original resolution text found on the Truth in American Education website. Below the resolution text is an awesome video from a Georgia press conference showing the efforts by legislators and experts on getting Georgia out of Common Core. The momentum is building.

4/18 – Updated language on this resolution to the final approved version


WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of academic standards, promoted and supported by two private membership organizations, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as a method for conforming American students to uniform (“one size fits all”) achievement goals to make them more competitive in a global marketplace, (1.) and

WHEREAS, the NGA and the CCSSO, received tens of millions of dollars from private third parties to advocate for and develop the CCSS strategy, subsequently created the CCSS through a process that was not subject to any freedom of information acts or other sunshine laws, and never piloted the CCSS, and

WHEREAS, even though Federal Law prohibits the federalizing of curriculum (2.), the Obama Administration accepted the CCSS plan and used 2009 Stimulus Bill money to reward the states that were most committed to the president’s CCSS agenda; but, they failed to give states, their legislatures and their citizens time to evaluate the CCSS before having to commit to them, and

WHEREAS, the NGA and CCSSO in concert with the same corporations developing the CCSS ‘assessments’ have created new textbooks, digital media and other teaching materials aligned to the standards which must be purchased and adopted by local school districts in order that students may effectively compete on CCSS ‘assessments’, and

WHEREAS, the CCSS program includes federally funded testing and the collection and sharing of massive amounts of personal student and teacher data, and

WHEREAS, the CCSS effectively removes educational choice and competition since all schools and all districts must use Common Core ‘assessments’ based on the Common Core standards to allow all students to advance in the school system and to advance to higher education pursuits; therefore be it

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee, as stated in the 2012 Republican Party Platform, “do not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level,” (p35)(3.), which is best based on a free market approach to education for students to achieve individual excellence; and, be it further

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee recognizes the CCSS for what it is– an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived “normal,” and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Republican National Committee rejects the collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state, and be it finally

RESOLVED, the 2012 Republican Party Platform specifically states the need to repeal the numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools, (p36) (3.); and therefore, the Republican National Committee rejects this CCSS plan which creates and fits the country with a nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement.


1. www.corestandards.org

2. Federal Law 20 USC 1232a-Sec. 1232a. and The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Pub.L. 89-10, 79 Stat. 27, 20 US.C. ch. 70.


3. http://www.gop.com/rnc_counsel/


Check out this great video showing clips from a Georgia press conference featuring experts Jane Robbins, Sandra Stotsky, Ze’ev Wurman, and others.

Hogwash Alert: “National Review” on Common Core

Reprinted from http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/hogwash-alert-national-review-on-common-core/

I’m calling for a hogwash alert on today’s National Review article about Common Core.

The ironically titled  The Truth About Common Core article cannot be taken seriously.  It’s written without any links or references for its Common Core-promoting claims, and it’s written by two authors whose employers are largely funded by the main funder of all things Common Core.

Can anyone take seriously those who praise Common Core while being paid to do so?

The article makes “truth” claims that include the notion that Common Core is “more rigorous,” (where’s the proof?) and that the standards allow policymaking to happen locally.  How can that be? The standards are written behind closed doors in D.C.  The standards are  copyrighted and are unamendable by locals.  There is a 15% cap on adding to them, written into the ESEA  Flexibility Waiver Request.  And there is no amendment process; thus, no local control.

For anyone who has been living under an education reform rock, know this:   Gates is the single biggest promoter and funder of Common Core, bar none.) So, Fordham’s and Manhattan Institute’s writers should not be expected to be objective about Common Core.

If it seems like practically everyone supports Common Core, Gates’ money is why. Bill Gates has said he’s spent $5 BILLION  pushing (his version of) education reform.  He’s bribed the national PTA to advocate for Common Core to parents; he’s paid the CCSSO to develop Common Core; and he owns opinion maker Education Week magazine.  There’s a near-endless list of Gates’ attempts   (very successful, I might add)  to foist his vision of education without voter input.  In 2004, Gates signeda 26 page agreement with UNESCO  to develop a master curriculum for global teacher training.  Robert Muller, the former assistant secretary general of the U.N. is the grandfather of the world core curriculum, the goal being to bring all schools in all nations under one common core curriculum.

The National Review writes that it is a ”right-of-center” organization, as if that claim is a “trust-me” pass.   This is meaningless in Common Core land because, as Emmett McGroarty  of the American Principles Project, has said,  ”Opposition to Common Core cuts across the left-right spectrum.  It gets back to who should control our children’s education — people in Indiana or people in Washington?”

But we should clarify that oodles of Democrats and Republicans sell or benefit from Common Core implementation.  That is the top reason for the gold rush anxiety to promote the national standards.  A secondary reason is lemminghood (misplaced and unproven trust).

Republican Jeb Bush is behind the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a nongovernmental group which pushes Common Core and is, of course, funded by Gates.   Republican Rupert Murdoch owns not only Fox News, but also the common core implementation company Wireless Generation that’s creating common core testing technology.   Democrat Bob Corcoran, President of GE Foundation (author of cap and trade and carbon footprint taxes to profit GE on green tech) and 49% owner of NBC also bribed the PTA to promote Common Core, and gave an additional $18 million to the states to push common core implementation. Corcoran was seen recently hobnobbing with Utah’s Republican Lt. Governor Greg Bell, business leaders in the Chamber of Commerce, and has testified in the education committee that the opponents of Common Core in Utah “are liars”.  Meanwhile, Republican Todd Huston of Indiana got his largest campaign donation from David Coleman, common core ELA architect;  then, after Huston was elected as an Indiana State Representative and placed on Indiana’s education committee, Coleman hired Huston to be on the College Board.  They are both profiting from the alignment of  and AP courses and alignment of the SAT to the Common Core.  And of course, Huston’s listed on Jeb Bush’s controversial Foundation for Excellence in Education. Even my own Republican Governor Herbert of Utah serves on the elite executive committee of NGA, the Common Core founding group.  He doesn’t make money this way, but he does make lots of corporations happy.

I could go on and on about the Common Core gold-and-glory rush.  I have barely touched the countless Democrats who promote Common Core for gain.  But I don’t want to be up all night.

So, on to the liberals and/or not-right wing radicals who oppose Common Core:

California Democrat/author Rosa Koire  and respected educator like Diane Ravitch  oppose Common Core as an untested academic and political experiment that increases the high-stakes of standardized testing.  They see that Common Core is promoting unrepresentative formations of public-private-partnerships, and promotes teacher-micromanagement.   Chicago history teacher Paul Horton says Common Core turns teacher-artisans into teacher-widgets; he also sees it as a Pearson anti-trust issue.  Teacher Kris Nielsen has written  “Children of the Core” and  teacher Paul Bogush  calls teaching Common Core sleeping with the enemy.  Math teacher Stephanie Sawyer  predicts that with Common Core, there will be an increase in remedial math instruction and an increase in the clientele of tutoring centers.  Writing teacher Laura Gibbs calls the writing standards an inspid brew of gobbledygook.  Anonymously, many teachers have published other concerns in a survey produced by Utahns Against Common Core.

Still, political funders of the standards and corporations selling its implementation try to get away with marginalizing the opposition.  But it can’t be done honestly.  Because it’s not a fight between left and right.

This battle is between the collusion of corporate greed and political muscle versus the  individual voter.

It’s a battle between the individual student, teacher, or parent– versus huge public/private partnerships.  That’s the David and Goliath here.

The Common Core movement is not about what’s best for children.  It’s about greed and political control.   A simple test:  if Common Core was about helping students achieve legitimate classical education, wouldn’t the Common Core experiment have been based on empirical study and solid educator backing?

Did the authors of the Hogwash article really not know that Common Core wasn’t based on anything like empirical data but simply fluffed up on empty promises and rhetoric, from the beginning.

Where’s the basis for what proponents call  ”rigorous,” ”internationally competitive,”  and “research-based?”  Why won’t the proponents point to proof of “increased rigor” the way the opponents point to proof of increased dumbing downWe know they are fibbing because we know there is no empirical evidence for imposing this experiment on students  in America.  The emperor of Common Core  is wearing no clothes.

Many educators are crying out –even  testifying to legislatures– that Common Core is an academic disaster.  I’m thinking of  Professors Christopher Tienken, Sandra StotskyThomas Newkirk, Ze’ev Wurman, James Milgram, William Mathis, Susan Ohanian, Charlotte Iserbyt, Alan Manning, and others.

The National Review authors insist that Common Core is not a stealth “leftist indoctrination” plot by the Obama administration.  But that’s what it looks like when you study the reformers and what they create.

First, let’s look at the Common Core textbooks.  Virtually every textbook company in America is aligning now with Common Core.  (So even the states who rejected Common Core, and even private schools and home schools are in trouble; how will they find new textbooks that reflect Massachusetts-high standards?)

Pearson’s latest textbooks show extreme environmentalism and a global citizen creating agenda that marginalizes national constitutions and individual rights in favor of global collectivism. The biggest education sales company of all the Common Core textbook and technology sales monsters on the planet is Pearson, which is led by  mad ”Deliverology” globalist  Sir Michael Barber.   Watch his speeches.

He doesn’t just lead Pearson, the company that is so huge it’s becoming an anti-trust issue.  Sir Michael Barber also speaks glowingly of public private partnerships, of political “revolution,” ”global citizenship” and a need for having global data collection and one set of educational standards for the entire planet.  He’s a political machine.  Under his global common core, diversity, freedom and local control of education need not apply.

Along with some of the gold-rushing colluders chasing Common Core-alignment  product sales, there are political individuals calling educational shots, and these are without exception on the far, far left.  And of these, the National Review is correct in saying that their goal to nationalize U.S. education has been happening   since long before Obama came to power.

But they are wrong in saying that Common Core isn’t a road map to indoctrinating students into far left philosophy.  Power players like Linda Darling-Hammond and Congressman Chaka Fattah  ram socialism and redistribution down America’s throat in education policy, while Pearson pushes it in the curriculum.

It’s safe to say that Linda Darling-Hammond has as much say as anyone in this country when it comes to education policy.  She focuses on “equity” and “social justice” –that is, redistribution of wealth using schools.  Reread that last sentence.

Darling-Hammond has worked for CCSSO (Common Core developer) since long before the standards were even written.  She served on the standards validation committee.  She now works for SBAC (the Common Core test writer); she also consults with AIR (Utah’s Common Core test producer) and advises Obama’s administration;  she promotes the secretive CSCOPE curriculum and more.

Study her further here to learn the groups she works for, what’s in the books she writes, how many times she quoted herself in her report for the U.S. equity commission, and what she said in last summer’s speech to UNESCO about the need to take swimming pools  away from students.

So yes, there is an undeniable socialism push in Common Core textbooks and in the Department of Education.


The National Review’s authors claim Common Core won’t “eliminate American children’s core knowledge base in English, language arts and history.”  By cutting classic literature by 70% for high school seniors, they are absolutely doing exactly that.  The article says that Common Core doesn’t mandate the slashing of literature.  Maybe not.  But the tests sure will.

What teacher, constricted by the knowledge that her job is on the line, will risk lowering the high stakes student scores by teaching beyond what is recommended in the model curriculum  of the national test writers?

And that’s the tragic part for me as an English teacher.

Classic literature is sacred.  Its removal from American schools is an affront to our humanity.

Common Core doesn’t mandate which books to cut; the National Review is correct on that point; but it does pressure English teachers to cut out large selections of great literature, somewhere.  And not just a little bit.  Tons.

Informational text belongs in other classes, not in English.  To read boring, non-literary articles even if they are not all required to be Executive Orders, insulation manuals, or environmental studies (as the major portion of the English language curriculum) is to kill the love of reading.

What will the slashing do to the students’ appreciation for the beauty of the language, to the acquisition of rich vocabulary, to the appreciation for the battle between good and evil?

We become compassionate humans by receiving and passing on classic stories.  Souls are enlarged by exposure to the characters, the imagery, the rich vocabulary, the poetic language and the endless forms of the battle between good and evil, that live in classic literature.

Classic stories create a love for books that cannot be acquired in any other way.  Dickens, Shakespeare, Hugo, Orwell, Dostoevsky, Rand, Marquez, Cisneros, Faulkner, Fitzgerald– where would we be without the gifts of these great writers and their writings?  Which ones will English teachers cut away first to make room for informational text?

The sly and subtle change will have the same effect on our children as if Common Core had mandated the destruction of  a certain percentage of all classic literature.

How does it differ from book burning in its ultimate effects?

Cutting out basic math skills, such as being able to convert fractions to decimals, is criminal.  Proponents call this learning “fewer but deeper” concepts.  I call it a sin. Common Core also delays the age  at which students should be able to work with certain algorithms, putting students years behind our mathematical competitors in Asia.

For specific curricular reviews of Common Core standards, read Dr. Sandra Stotsky’s and Dr. Ze’ev Wurman’s math and literature reviews in the appendix  of the white paper by Pioneer Institute. (See exhibit A and exhibit B, page 24.)


The National Review claims that the standards “simply delineate what children should know at each grade level and describe the skills that they must acquire to stay on course toward college or career readiness” and claim they are not a ceiling but a floor.  This is a lie. The standards are bound by a 15% rule; there’s no adding to them beyond 15%.  That’s not a ceiling?

The article claims that ”college and career readiness” doesn’t necessarily mean Common Core.  Well, it does, actually.  The phrase has been defined on the ed. gov website as meaning sameness of standards to a significant number of states.  I would give you a link but this week, so oddly, the Department of Education has removed most of its previous pages.  You can see it reposted here:

The article insists that Common Core is not a curriculum; it’s up to school districts to choose curricula that comply with the standards.  Sure.  But as previously noted: 1) all the big textbook companies have aligned to Common Core.  Where are the options?   2) Common core tests and the new accountability measures put on teachers who will lose their jobs if students don’t score well on Common Core tests will ensure that teachers will only teach Common Core standards.  3) Test writers are making model curriculum and it’s going to be for sale, for sure.

The article falsely claims that “curriculum experts began to devise” the standards.  Not so: the architect of Common Core ELA standards (and current College Board president) is not, nor ever has been, an educator.  In fact, that architect made the list of Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform.   A top curriculum professor has pointed out that the developers of Common Core never consulted with top curricular universities at all.

The article claims that states who have adopted Common Core could opt out, “and they shouldn’t lose a dime if they do” –but Title I monies have been threatened, and the No Child Left Behind waiver is temporary on conditions of following Common Core, and for those states who did get Race to the Top money (not my state, thank goodness) the money would have to be returned.  Additionally, every state got ARRA stimulus money to build a federally interoperable State Longitudinal Database System.  Do we want to give back millions and millions to ensure that we aren’t part of the de facto national database of children’s longitudinal school-collected, personally identifiable information?

The article states that the goal is to have children read challenging texts that will build their vocabulary and background knowledge.  So then why not read more –not less– actual literature?

The article also leaves out any analysis of the illegality of Common Core. The arrangement appears to be  illegal. Under the Constitution and under the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA) the federal government is restricted from even supervising education.

GEPA states: “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…”

And for those still believing the federal government isn’t “exercising direction, supervision or control” of the school system, look at two things.

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

2.  The 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”

3.  The recent federal alteration of privacy laws that have taken away parental consent over student data collection.

Finally:  the “most annoying manipulation tactic” award for the National Review Article is a tie between the last two sentences of the National Review article, which, combined, say, “Conservatives used to be in favor of holding students to high standards… aren’t they still?”  Please.

Let’s rephrase it:

Americans used to be in favor of legitimate, nonexperimental standards for children that were unattached to corporate greed and that were constitutionally legal…  Aren’t we still?

Dr. Thompson speaks back…

Dr. Gary Thompson, who appeared on Glenn Beck last week, wrote another excellent brief outlining the massive data collection that will be taking place in conjunction with Common Core.


early life Thompson

A Legal & Mental Health Follow Up To “Common Core” Issues

With Common Core, we have not just the potential, but the very real threat of negligent loss of the most private data as well as no clear restrictions on private business use or dissemination, even for profit, of what was once your child’s most private, intimate information.

An analogy that struck home to us was this: Our children will have invisible yellow Stars of David on them that we can’t see and can’t restrict, but some private company or foolishly negligent government bureaucrat can see it, can make decisions based upon it, and we will never know until the consequences land squarely on the heads of our vulnerable children.  That could be placement, scholarships, employment, any number of “consequences” of our children simply being who they are, but will follow them the rest of their existence.

Even prisoners and persons charged with crimes have more rights against the taking of DNA and the restrictions on dissemination of that information than our children will have under Common Core. Anyone who cares about their personal privacy should be alarmed. And if you’re not alarmed, you should be ashamed. If you are neither alarmed nor ashamed, you probably do not have children in public schools.

Please take a minute to read this entire article and then follow the advice given by Dr. Thompson and his lawyer Ed Flint.

Personal Thoughts & Conclusion & Recommendations To Our Community:

A black doctor of forensic psychology, and a Jewish-Mormon Democrat lawyer set out to prove that Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theory surrounding issues of testing and privacy surrounding Common Core were just his typical nut bag, right wing histrionics.
We failed.

We wanted to let the hundreds of clients who have frequented our clinic, as well as the hundreds of more that will enter our doors know with a 100 % sense of surety that Common Core is harmless to their children.
We failed.
We hope we can make up this failure by providing you some expert, common sense recommendations for you to take back to your State School Boards and lawmakers:
1. Take time to read source documents. Avoid “Common Core Talking Points” as such were put out by the Utah State Office of Education, or any other local school districts or boards. Likewise, avoid any rabid attacks that lack substance; this is not a “Communist plot.” Do your job as a parent and become fully informed.  Read the materials.
2. Follow the money. In our brief three-day research project, we lost count of the many “education service” industries that had contracts out with our state government totaling tens of millions of dollars. Education in our state is a multi billion-dollar industry with financial connection webs far too complex for either of us to unravel.  If anyone involved in educating the public about Common Core has either a past,present, or future financial interest tied to it, take his or her comments with a grain of salt. Better yet, find another source.
3. The actual Common Core Standards themselves may be the next best thing to sliced bread and delivered from God himself from the heavens.  We are not curriculum experts. However, even if God’s hand delivered Common Core to my children, I would expect him to keep their information out of the hands of the Sorenson Genomic, Inc.’s of the world without my express written notification.
4. If the powers that be in your state continue with the company line that your data is 100% safe and confidential and will never end up in the hands of a private, for-profit multi-billion dollar international corporation, like Sorenson Genomics, then insist that your State government put it in writing for the world to see. In fact, make them specifically state that Sorenson Genomics and other private concerns will never have any access to your children’s data, DNA or otherwise, without your express written permission. Make them do such in a simple manner, in plain speak, not lawyer speak.  Currently, the law is extremely confusing and possibly illegal if the lawsuit cited herein against the U.S. Department of Education has any merit.  Even if spokesmen from Sorenson Geonomics of the world release a scathing denial of their potential involvement in gathering DNA data from our children, then perhaps they should be leading the charge to strengthen privacy laws so that “conspiracy theorist” such as Glen Beck no longer have fuel to their “crazy” arguments.

5. Question authority…. respectfully. The only thing this clinic has accused the state and federal education establishment of is “utter confusion.” The vast majority of your statewide leaders and state and local members of your school board are honest, hardworking and dedicated Americans who truly want this (not so common) Facebook Generation of children to be properly and effectively educated. The tone of communication on both sides of the aisles has reached a level of nastiness that is affecting the mental health of our children. If we really want to properly educate our kids, let’s tone down the rhetoric a few emotional notches. They are listening and watching.

6. Other than corporate contracts that have already been signed and implemented with various corporate, educational and political entities, what is stopping our state from taking a step back and examining issues that are truly causing concern and fear to parents and professionals in our community?

7. Contact organizations such “Utahan’s Against Common Core” and sign their statewide petition for lawmakers in our State to take a step back and fully examine all of the possible current and future ramifications surrounding the implications of Common Core.

Read the full article here: https://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Neat-Document-Common-Core-Note-II.pdf


Glenn Beck Slams Common Core

On Glenn Beck’s show today, two Utah teachers, David Cox and Christel Swasey, joined Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project and Sherena Arrington in a discussion about Common Core State Standards. The show was excellent and if you would like to watch the entire show, sign up for a free two week trial on Glenn’s website and look for the episode from today (3-14-2013). Here’s a few clips from the show.


Segment on Data Collection

Segment on Math Lunacy and Freedom Issues

Framework for a Multistate Human Capital Development Data System

Save a copy of this one. This paper received its funding from …SURPRISE… the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Titled “Framework for a Multistate Human Capital Development Data System,” this paper outlines the population tracking of people in America. Here’s a few salient quotes.

The rise of a globalized knowledge economy requires us to understand the distribution of skills and abilities in our population.

This “human capital development data system” must be developed to answer “master” policy questions that benefit each of the principal state stakeholders – the K-12 education system, the postsecondary system, and labor/workforce development system – both for accountability purposes and to inform improvements in policy and practice.

A more effective data system for accountability and policy and practice improvements could provide answers to such questions. Integrated to enable large-scale longitudinal analyses to support state educational and workforce development policy, student or individual unit-record data, linked together across K-12 education, postsecondary education, and the workforce, comprise what we call a human capital development data system (HCDDS). An HCDDS should be able capable of:
Tracking the stock and flow of the skills and abilities (represented by education and training) of various populations within a given state.
Examining the gaps in educational attainment between population groups, based on demography and socio-economic status.
Incorporating information from multiple states, given the mobility of the U.S. population and the fact that many population centers are located on state boundaries.

We are all cattle now.  

Given the sensitivity of SSNs and the fact that even they cannot match all individual student records “perfectly,” it is probably wise for states to adopt a broader approach to “identity matching.” Such an approach would link records using a larger group of variables corresponding to student characteristics, including but not limited to the SSN (when available) or statewide student identifier.

Use of Social Security Numbers would pin all tracking data to an individual instead of aggregating it and protecting children’s privacy.

While there is still much work to be done in linking K-12 and postsecondary records, states also should be planning now for how to incorporate workforce data into their longitudinal data systems. Indeed, the federal government has made this a basic expectation for states receiving ARRA funds.

When Utah applied for federal money under Race to the Top and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), the feds required us to sign onto a database to track students from preschool through college and into the workforce. Just a year ago the Utah State Office of Education announced their partner in a P20w statewide longitudinal database system that can integrate with other states and federal agencies. <sarcasm>All for research purposes of course.</sarcasm>

Some years ago, Outcome Based Education was shot down by parents when they awoke to what was really going on…the tracking of children and “master” planning for society based on creating good little trained monkeys for the workplace. Children are people. We need to stop treating them like widgets being stamped out at a factory.

Concerned yet? Share this with your legislators and ask them to get us out of Common Core and the Statewide Longitudinal Database System. IT’S NOT GOING TO BE USED JUST FOR RESEARCH. Share fliers with your neighbors. It’s time for an overhaul of our education system that brings it all in-state and gets us off the federal dollars.