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Common Core conspiracies abound in Utah, not based in reality

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  • Nathan W Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2012 8:14 a.m.

    People capable of believing in one provably untrue story (the biggest in Utah) find it easier to ignore contrary evidence and believe in a whole range of conspiracy stories and theories.

  • Anissa Heber City, UT
    July 18, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    These women you talk about ARE NOT conspiracy theorists. You may not agree with them, but they are not making this up, they have proof/evidence to back them up, what does USOE have? I thought that you Chad were a much more upstanding and good person, but this shows me that you are listening to one side and not the other side. It is very evident that you are not the kind of person that I would elect to represent my children and it makes me (along with reading your wife's communications back and forth) that your wife should not be in her position either. This is not a popularity contest, these are our children's lives.

    School Board members are voted in by the people to listen and to actually do their own homework on issues, our board has shown that they do not do their homework on many of the issues placed before them. When a board passes a budget that they do not fully know what is contained, when they only read an abridged copy...they ARE NOT doing their homework and they are NOT representing the citizens.

  • Mamma C HEBER CITY, UT
    July 18, 2012 9:53 a.m.

    The writer, like many, unfortunately, assumes Common Core will solve our huge education problems; the common standards raise only some areas, while they lower many. Mr. Jones cites Obama's support of Common Core as the main thing opponents have against it; not true. Binding governing documents of Common Core make the loss of local control to consortia and feds extremely clear.

    Jones is right about Common Core not being a federal curriculum and not being initiated by the Dept of Education; but the feds now do control both. The test system of PARCC/SBAC is run by the authority of the Dept. who gave PARCC/SBAC its grant to write the tests. High stakes tests and common standards DO determine curriculum, even if that curriculum wasn't selected by those who control the tests/standards.

    And the standards are not amendable by Utah; they're under NGA copyright. No matter how smart the NGA is, should we trust our educational future to that group, who has not even given us an amendment process should we disagree with a strand of the common standards?

    So yes, local control is gone, and that's no conspiracy theory.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    July 18, 2012 9:56 a.m.

    CK: when it comes to the Eagle Forum and the Sutherland Institute conspiracies abound. That is their agenda. When you can promote fear rather than solutions you will always get your 30 seconds of airtime and 15 minutes of fame. I was just hoping that people would finally realize this.

  • Bounty Hunter Heber City, UT
    July 18, 2012 10:25 a.m.

    Contracts are signed now, words are penned. We are out of the conspiracy’s theorist’s imagination here, this not a trending a fad in fashion at issue, these are your rights and they are hard to get back. At the end of the day, do we have more rights or fewer rights with common core? The answer is already signed and approved by the Gov. At this point, the burden of proof is on Gov. and school boards to explain these statements of how they “believe” common core does not take rights away. Those same leaders will have to explain how they even considered this.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 18, 2012 10:35 a.m.

    The Conservative extremeists like those mentioned in this article -
    Eagle's Forum, Sutherland Institute -
    as wll as many many others here in Utah kind of reminds me of that scene in
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    The one where the ignorant village people are making up ridiculous stories accusing an inocent young girl of being a Witch.

    Facts, reality, logic mean abolutely nothing to them --

    They somehow got it so ingrained in their heads to burn a witch,
    if they don't have one, they'll make one up!

    Silly...

  • Mamma C HEBER CITY, UT
    July 18, 2012 11:18 a.m.

    Speaking of Mony Python and the Holy Grail, dear LDS Liberal, there's also a scene in which the knight is being slaughtered, limb by limb, and the whole time, he insists it's "just a scratch." This reminds me of those with their heads in the sand, believing that the fact that Common Core's lopping off local educational freedom, autonomy, and rights to privacy over student data, are "just a scratch" on the armor of the Constitution, when really, we are losing limbs we can't afford to lose.

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    July 18, 2012 11:23 a.m.

    This was the best piece I have read in the Dnews in a long time. Well said my friend. Our schools are better than ever and we get that with the worst funding in the nation.

    Anyone that has complaints about Utah's education system needs to go live in another state for a few years and realize what a bargain we are getting.

    The teachers here are amazing and dedicated to what they are doing. If you, as a family, put education as a top priority, your child will be very successful and totally prepared for college.

    Believe me, I know. I have lived in other states and we have it better than anywhere else I have lived.

  • BobDean Camas, WA
    July 18, 2012 12:01 p.m.

    What is not based on reality is any legitimate research or basis for the many claims made by those who support the Common Core Standards. Incredibly, the biggest reason given by governors, state school chiefs, and school board members, including CK Jones, for adopting the CCSS is that everyone else is doing it.

    There certainly is a conspiracy to have national standards in this country. That conspiracy was not hatched by the federal government but the federal government is certainly complicit in that conspiracy by way of requiring adoption of the CCSS by states seeking Race to the Top funds, and by funding the national assessments that will measure state progress on the CCSS.

    The CCSS are not about higher standards or increased learning as claimed. They are about taking away local control and giving it to unelected and unaccountable people who have their own agenda. The CCSS have legions of supporters like CK Jones who believe it must be a good thing because everyone is doing it.

    Supposedly the CCSS will increase the ability of students to think deeply; an incredible claim when you consider the CCSS have been adopted using the shallowest thought process imaginable.

  • Lehi Mom Lehi, UT
    July 18, 2012 12:48 p.m.

    @Mamma C and Bounty Hunter. Your comments are exactly what the article is about. Scare tactics. Specifically what “rights” and “freedoms” are being taken away by having educational standards in common with other states?

    Local school districts will still approve curriculum and budgets. Individual teachers will still decide how to achieve goals. Nationwide testing and data have been in place longer than most of us have been alive. How else would we have constant stories about how the states compare to one another? And what personal information do you think your local school would share that isn’t already known by the state or federal government – besides test scores and grades that are already shared?

    Finally, we are more conservative than any state. Virtually everyone you accuse of undermining our “rights” is as conservative and wary of the feds as you. Do you ever consider that you might be part of a very small vocal minority?

  • Reagan#1Fan Henderson, NV
    July 18, 2012 2:06 p.m.

    CK Jones, great article. You just get it.

    Lehi Mom's final paragraph is right on point as well. Let me add to the end of her paragraph. "Do you ever consider that you might be part of a very small vocal minority? YOU ARE!"

    This is why I will never move my family to Utah. Even though the majority of it's citizens share most of my beliefs, they also add a whole new meaning to the term, CRAZY!

  • Reagan#1Fan Henderson, NV
    July 18, 2012 2:18 p.m.

    Issues like this are on my short list of things I don't miss about living in Utah. It's so nice not to have to wonder whether the legislature is going to waste time (taxpayer $) trying to send messages or placate a tiny constituency. Thank heaven there's at least one school board willing to stand up to the loud, but self-righteous few.

  • jb heber heber, UT
    July 18, 2012 2:48 p.m.

    Amen to this article. I am a teacher. No one says that the Common Core is the answer or a perfect system. But its standards are a good start. Critics don't want to cooperate with other states, but at the same time don't offer any real solution to improve the educational system. Utah does well with what we have, and I take offense as an educator to be attacked by those who criticize the system that we are working so hard to improve.
    MammaC: What is your solution??? What can we do better???
    The reality is that it is program designed by teachers, not politicians or bureaucrats with an agenda. Its not perfect, but it is good, and its a million times better than No Child Left Behind.
    Stop complaining and realize that we all want what is best for our children. Stop politicizing programs that are in place to strengthen education, especially until you have something to replace it with.

  • Bizteacher44 Henderson, NV
    July 18, 2012 2:58 p.m.

    As a current high school teacher, I think I am one to be able to see the difficulties of common core. In the last three years, I have had to redesign the three classes I teach each year. Any teacher knows that rewriting your lesson plans is not an easy task. Especially when you are attempting to get kids to learn things on an exit test you have never seen. This only gives me the opportunity to research more, read more, and become a better specialist in the subjects I teach. I had a student this past year that had to retake the same class, wasting time, money on materials, and a desk space in my room because common core was not yet practiced in my subject area. She was bored relearning the same things just because she moved and was attending a new high school. I believe Mr. Jones has this right, and that Utah will benefit from this great program which has its focus in the right directon, the children. It allows teachers and students to be flexible and adapt to the ever changing "real world."

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    July 18, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    For some pathetic people, fear is the only thing they have going for them.

  • Tracy M South Jordan, UT
    July 18, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    Mr. Jones - Thank you for having the courage to share your opinion. It is not easy to do so when the people against this are not afraid to lie, bully and attack character. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I have been very suspicious of the groups that are against the common core. I have done a lot or research and discovered that most of the "facts and research" being sent out by the groups against the core are gross misrepresentations of the truth. I hope our legislature learned a lesson from the sex education bill veto and Rep. Wright losing his re-election bid. This very vocal group does not represent the majority of Utahns. The core is not perfect, but it's a start toward improving educational standards. We need to work together with our school districts and legislators to ensure the common core continues to work for our state.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 18, 2012 7:00 p.m.

    I find it odd that the people who support common core, attack groups and indviduals and NOT their arguments, and coall thme names lie "fearmonger"

    We have extreme leftests here that reject any argument from any conservative or conservative group just based on fact they they are conservative!

    And then they mock them severely t and name call them to try and minimize the conseravtive opposition..

    So who is really spreading ignorance and fear (for conservatives and their ideas) just to impose a bad program and everyone.

    Conservative have come up with great arguments, and serious concerns, what has the left got say?

    We don't more head-in-the-sand-support from the left-wingers.

    Anything the imposes a one size fits all answer is bad and dangerous.
    It is extreme socialism, even communism, to impose social equality at the expense of the loss of local control, individual freedom and responsibility,

    but that seems to be the answer for everything from the extreme left, in healthcare and now in education,

    and if an argument comes from the right or a conservative attack and destroy the individual or group.

    How about listening for once rather than hating the messenger?

  • formetoknow PAYSON, UT
    July 18, 2012 8:07 p.m.

    Regardless of who the messenger is the message that the State of Utah and local school boards should do everything thing in their power to retain control of curriculum. This is not about standards this is about ceding our responsibility to bureaucracies that have no local interest. My questions are: Why is it that Utah or any other state, must contractually agree to the standards? Why can't we look at them, like them and use them or change them to suit our needs, without contractual acceptance of the whole ball of wax? Most importantly, why are the State School Board, the Legislature, and the Governor so anxious to wash their hands of importance of teaching our children, choosing to accept without question curriculum that they haven't even seen?

  • Heber Realist Lehi, UT
    July 18, 2012 9:21 p.m.

    Is there something that has leached into the water in Heber City?

    As a very ambitious student at Wasatch High 10 or so years ago, I never went without an opportunity (within or outside of the curriculum). My PUBLIC SCHOOL teachers were and remain as my greatest role models. Jones is right. This is a fear thing-- I can almost hear the panting. Take a deep breath and get real. Think back on your own education at any level. You learned as much from the experience as you learned from any teacher. The culture in public school fosters that growth and experience without sacrificing academics. The biggest problem facing our country today is polarization in politics. Issues like this make things worse. Let the teachers do what they get underpaid to do.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    July 18, 2012 9:28 p.m.

    @formetoknow: yours is one of the few letters/statements I have ever seen on here accusing the legislature and the Governor of "wash their hands of importance of teaching our children". Our state's education system is one of the most micromanaged systems in our state. You have legislators who, as an example, required our students to take the old UBSCT test as a step in the graduation process but refused to take it themselves. They have tried to ramrod through school vouchers when the voting public told them time and time again no. Senator Stephenson, and others like him, want to"starve the beast". Choosing to accept without question curriculum they have not seen? They have seen the standards and they know when they have met a mountain they should not climb.

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    July 18, 2012 9:47 p.m.

    The author is guilty of exactly what he is accusing the opposition of, i.e., "trying to influence the curriculum...the battle is on to control legislators...." In fact the author sounds a lot like what Obama is trying to do to Romney - make him look guilty of ulterior motives and a radical in order to discredit him instead of listening to his legitimate concerns.

  • formetoknow PAYSON, UT
    July 18, 2012 10:16 p.m.

    @EJM: I don't disagree with the idea that the state education system is micromanaged. The micro management however focuses on petty issues, more suited for the political arena. They have been unnecessarily handsy with public education, which makes the decision to adopt Common Core even more confounding. Why would they want to be so specific with sex education and yet adopt a curriculum that they haven't seen? They may have had a chance to review the standards now, but the decision was made to adopt the standards before they were even completed. So yes I believe that they are outsourcing our children's education, something that I would think everyone would be opposed to.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    July 19, 2012 7:27 a.m.

    People are confusing standards with curriculum. The Common Core is a set of standards or goals that all students are expected to reach within a specific school year. Here's an example of a fifth-grade reading standard found in the Common Core:

    "Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem."

    Did you notice that this standard does not say a thing about which stories should be used to teach this concept? It is still up to the state, school districts, school administration, and individual teachers to determine the curriculum they will use to meet this standard. While a lot of fear is being spread about the Common Core, we are still not losing local control in regards to the curriculum we will choose to teach our students.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 19, 2012 7:41 a.m.

    @ Anissa - a conspiracy theorist is someone who believes somethng is the result of secret manipulation rather than known facts. this describes perfectly how almost every opponent of the common core starts a discussion.
    @ Mamma C - Neither CK or anyone I've heard speak about CC claims it is the answer to all problems. Standards inform curriculum but do not determine it. Hence, the difference in the way core subjects are taught across the nation and even within states, destroying your "no local control" argument.
    @ Bounty Hunter and Mamma C - Please name a single "right" you have lost. The burden of proof or a claim falls on accuser, not on the accused.
    @ BobDean - Not "that everyone else is doing it," but instead that most states are finally trying to coordinate on doing something to compete in th real world.
    @ truth - please read the article again for a discussion of the speciic "arguments"
    @ formetoknow - again, not about curriculum, which is varied and local

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    July 19, 2012 7:42 a.m.

    The John Birch Society and Fluoride poisoning our minds in Utah. Hum...considering the mental state of the right wing, maybe there is something to that.

  • Bounty Hunter Heber City, UT
    July 19, 2012 7:42 a.m.

    After rereading this article and comments below I have had a change of heart. I see this article is better than the period ending it.
    So I scratched off Taking over the world and Stop government takeover, off my bucket list… Apparently I can’t go to Henderson Nevada, no work there because they are ready for fear mongers and they would see me coming.
    And now I am left with only 3 show stoppers of fear. They just so happen to be about cc.
    1. Why does a non Utahan have to control 85% of what is being taught in our Utah schools.
    2.The numbers on the cost analysis are puzzling, yea even astounding.
    a.I believe teachers could use a little help and it is not paying for tests.
    3.The data collected by a federal employee and others deemed worthy, is individualized to an uncomfortable point (for me). (i.e. behavioral info, financial info and family info). (My family might be crazy but we still want to go to college)
    Solve these and you got yourself a convert to reality. Solve just one of these and I will burn my Ray Bradberry collection.

  • formetoknow PAYSON, UT
    July 19, 2012 7:54 a.m.

    So this isn't about curriculum. There is no need to spell out what the words curriculum and standards mean, I am aware that they are two different things. Tell me why if this has nothing to do with curriculum is the State wringing their hands on how to pay for the new textbooks that Common Core will require. If this isn't about curriculum, why have we also contractually accepted the testing requirements, something that every teacher knows directly effects what is being taught in the classroom. If this isn't about curriculum than does the state or any local school board have the freedom to teach something that isn't in the standards if they feel like something in the standards is inadequate or inappropriate? Don't parse words and say that curriculum is separate because we all know that the standards dictate the curriculum.

    To make my point clear, I have nothing against the standards themselves, I have an issue with the outsourcing of responsibility to those who have no vested interest in our children.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 19, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    "If this isn't about curriculum than (sic) does the state or any local school board have the freedom to teach something that isn't in the standards if they feel like something in the standards is inadequate or inappropriate?"

    Yes!! There are no lesson plans or suggested reading lists in the standards - they are benchmarks. Please read them. Individual states and local schools who have adopted the standards are already teaching (curriculum) whatever they deem appropriate to meet the standards.

    Some communities think Reagan's inaugural address meets the "informational text" standard; others satisfy it by teaching the nation's founding documents; still other communities choose MLK's speeches. In other words, local adaptation and control.

    Hopefully they will raise the bar above these minimum standards. .

  • Mamma C HEBER CITY, UT
    July 19, 2012 8:36 a.m.

    Dear JB, There are so many solutions other than Common Core to solve our education problems. We can imitate the Massachusetts standards, which are/were light years ahead of Common Core standards (before Mass adopted Common Core). We could engage the best minds from state and outside the state, universities, etc. to write OUR OWN standards that take from the very best but leave out the worst of the CC standards. We could, at very least, withdraw from Common Core until it's been PILOTED on the rest of the nation for five years, and then decide. The anti-common core movement is not to be blamed for politicizing education; common core is, by definition, an "Initiative" and is politically, contractually, based. IT is the problem. Freedom and self-determination is the solution. Texas and Virginia are still free from Common Core. Study why and you'll understand so much. Texas rejected Common Core because it would cost 3billion to implement while lowering their math standards. Virginia created Sequences of Learning, which works better than Common Core.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 19, 2012 8:45 a.m.

    Last try:

    "1. Why does a non Utahan have to control 85% of what is being taught in our Utah schools?" Utah decides what Utah teaches. Wasatch High decides what Wasatch High teaches. See today's Trib for an explanation of the process.
    "2.The numbers on the cost analysis are puzzling, yea even astounding." Our district (Wasatch) is not spending one additional dime - unless you count the wasted time district employees are spending answering attacks.
    "3.The data collected by a federal employee and others deemed worthy, is individualized to an uncomfortable point (for me). (i.e. behavioral info, financial info and family info)" There are strict controls in place, and districts can only share data they (not feds or others) collect, which does not include the things you list. Your financial and family info is already known (tax returns and census).

  • Bounty Hunter Heber City, UT
    July 19, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    Owen, My facts and sources and your facts in the parking lot after school. Are you up for it?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 19, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    I’m going to make a wild assumption here, but here it goes…..

    Those who are AGAINST Common Core have never lived anyway else besides Utah.

    The fact is,
    By having every State do their own thing,
    And then having every School District within every State doing their own thing ---

    As a parent,
    How can I assure my child’s education will be consistent when work and travel requires 100’s of Millions of America’s to move about the U.S. of A.?

    You can’t.

    Hence a real need for standardizing education at the Federal level.
    To assure Colleges and Universities, Businesses and Foreigners – that a degree from one High School of College amounts to the same level as another.

  • Rufus1 Highland, UT
    July 19, 2012 8:26 p.m.

    Wow finally someone with the guts to call a spade a spade. I hope the legislature stood up and took notice of the part where it is pointed out that they are sometimes merely pawns to these groups that hide behind well sounding principles but are really more a part of the problem than any meaningful solution. As a teacher in Utah I welcome measures which will make me a better educator and my students more prepared to face a modern workplace. Change is always hard but change happens whether we ask for it or not. Do we not realized how by rejecting what has been adopted by 45 states plays into other's notions of us as a state being impossibly close minded and extreme? A child moving in from other another state will now be better positioned to pick up where they left off. A Common Core insulates educators from such groups as those mentioned in this article. Those that throw rocks from the sideline with no vested interest in public education in the first place. A bit ironic that theirs is the shrillest voice heard. Thanks for the article. It took guts.