"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Monday, July 15, 2013

What Did They Used to Say About Common Core? Just Listen!

This video contains actual audio from the beginning of the Common Core standards discussion in Utah. Having listened to these meetings, I wanted to make sure some key points were readily accessible and available to everyone.

As human beings, sometimes it's helpful to go back to original sources instead of listening to talking points.  This information on the Common Core process is invaluable in providing insight from those who were there at the time. What was their perspective, and what was their focus?

Please take a few minutes to watch and to understand what was being said about Common Core from the very beginning, not the least of which was the Utah State Board Agenda Item: "National Common Standards".  Contrast this to the Utah State Office of Ed flyer which states: "Fiction: Utah adopted nationalized education standards that come with federal strings attached."  Then ask these questions:
What was the overriding reason for Utah joining in with a group that was developing national, common standards?
Was there any federal involvement, real or implied, that motivated the jump into Common Core?
With all the public involvement, who do you know who was involved in vetting the Common Core standards?
The answers you get may be different from what you are being told.

Links to audio files featured in the video:
May 1, 2009 Utah School Board Meeting, Agenda Item: National Common Standards
June 17, 2009 Legislative Interim Education Committee Meeting
Quoted audio starts about 27:30
July 18, 2011 Alpine School Board Training, select the first audio file, quoted starts about 27:14


  1. Great information. Thanks for putting that together, Wendy!

  2. Excellent job on gathering these details and providing a timeline! I've assumed all this time that the State School Board was duped by the federal government into adopting Common Core. Given the clarity of the statements made in public, I'd like to know what the board discussed behind closed doors, and why the school board continues to pay for propaganda that is clearly contradictory to the facts.

  3. Thanks for the links. I actually used them and listened to the whole part about the Common Core. I'm disappointed that you took almost all of your statements out of context from this meeting.

    1. Taffy, can you please specify what you find to be misleading?

  4. Good to know the actual history of it.

  5. Out of context is an easy criticism to make. You may have a different interpretation of it, but that's why I put the full links out there. I, too, listened to the entire thing. Multiple times, enough to make a transcript of parts of it. I think it is fair to say that Sec. Duncan's people were there at the Chicago meeting. I think it's fair to say there was no discussion of rigor; there couldn't be. It is fair to say that they signed on to an agreement with the group over the weekend. I do hope everyone listens to the full audio. If you feel it is out of context, I hope you will put together something that you feel is more in context. That is what healthy dialogue and debate are all about. My best to you.

  6. excellent review

  7. Thanks, Wendy.
    The agreement they signed over the weekend was not to do the core. It was to give the go ahead for the panel to start making a national standard. At one point the superintendent even said she wouldn't do anything "sight unseen". And through the following years, the standards were sent out to states (board of educators and parents, from what I understand) to get their opinions and suggestions then the panel worked through those. There was no discussion of rigor because Utah hadn't decided on their curriculum yet. Utah's standards were very close to the base of where the national standards are starting so our students shouldn't have a problem starting Utah's new curriculum next year. We can only go higher and get better, right?

  8. Thanks for the clarification, Taffy.

    I can appreciate your perception. I had tried to make the point clear that this wasn't the standards adoption vote, since I state that the standards were adopted in 2010 and the meeting was in 2009. Also, the minutes graphic shows that it was the development. It's very hard to condense hours of audio into a short segment, so that's why I provided the links, in case there was any confusion. I was not confused, and maybe that's the difficulty. I've followed this timeline quite extensively, so it was very clear to me.

    Additionally, once they started down this path, they could have pulled back, but they'd committed so many resources and time, it would have required standards that "we couldn't live with" to pull out. So, in essence, that was the first step in putting the train on the track. It has had major implications, and it was done without a formal vote and with minimal research by our elected representatives on the State Board.

    Next, I do state that the standards hadn't been developed yet, so there was no ability to talk about rigor. My point was to say that if rigor was so important (especially since now it's considered one of the selling points), it wasn't even brought up initially. The end result, if it was better, was a matter of luck, not intent. And, the assumption that the standards are better than what we had before isn't necessarily an accurate one. Our math standards were rated A-minus before CCSS and CCSS standards were rated the same. (Of course the rating organization, Fordham, received money from the Gates Foundation to promote Common Core, so...) Our ELA standards, were arguably, less than CCSS (C to B+). However, there were many states that had A-minus and A ELA standards. So, again, the emphasis was on adopting Common Standards that we could live with, not on increased rigor, because we could have done much better in English, and we could have saved money and not adopted the math.

    As for public input, I'd love to have evidence of public comments. The standards did have a national public comment period, but this wasn't widely publicized, and, as the final segment of the video points out, having public comments from local parents, teachers, and others really wasn't done. They did have a public comment period last year (in April, I think), after concerns started coming to light. If you can find evidence of public comment/hearings on the standards in Utah prior to Sept, 2010, I'd love to find it. That's why I asked in July, 2011, and you heard the response--if it had been just a Utah thing, more public input would have been sought. To me, that's really taking us, as parents, out of the process.

  9. BTW, Utah's standards, with the addition of the cursive requirement, for math and ELA are EXACTLY those of Common Core. It is called Utah Core (and if you listened to the full audio, you will recall they point out that we don't want to call it Common Core--we'll need to wordsmith or something).

    Utah agreed to be associated with the group developing the Common Core standards. One of the benefits was they could be "worthy" of Race to the Top because of that association. There was no discussion about us starting with Common Core and changing it. That has only come up since it's been pointed out that the No Child Left Behind waiver limits us to 15% additional material, and no deletions. Also, the Common Core standards are copyrighted by the NGA and CCSSO. We can add, but we can't change those standards. We can get rid of them entirely and use something else. But, to fulfill our NCLB waiver, we said we would adopt the Common Core standards with the limitation of adding 15%. As long as the waiver is in force, we take the Common Core standards 'as is'.

    Please search this blog for Common Core. There are many posts about all different aspects of the process, the standards, and the tests.