Educators meet with state leaders, offer evaluation of Common Core standards

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SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Gary Herbert appointed a team of educators to assess whether Common Core standards were helping or hurting Utah students, and Friday those educators offered their opinions and recommendation to state leaders.

Herbert was present with members of the State Board of Education, and he spoke about his primary issue.

“This federal overreach is a concern,” he said.

Herbert appointed educators to examine the issue due to concerns about the federal government dictating standards without input from state and other local education leaders. The educators looked at the standards in math and English students are expected to master each year.

Educators said they believe the standards are fundamentally sound and more rigorous than previous standards, which they believe makes students better prepared for college and the workforce. Still, they urged board members to make changes as they find them necessary.

Matthew Holland, Utah Valley University President, said that, “These standards are not fixed in stone and that evaluations and revisions, as necessary, of Utah core must be done on an ongoing basis."

Herbert said he sees problems with the way the standards have been implemented.

“This new integrated math program, which is a new way of doing things, which people seem to think is a good change--but the teachers have not been prepared, there's not been good communication with parents,” he said. “And, consequently, the implementation of this has been flawed.”

Educators on the committee also said hiring more teachers is a priority.

“There is now and will continue to be a high shortage of teachers in both of these basic disciplines,” Holland said.

Herbert was encouraged by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ legal review of Common Core, as Reyes said the state can make changes without losing federal funding.

Kris Kimball is a parent who opposes Common Core who felt excluded from the discussion, and she also said she believes Common Core standards will have a negative impact on students in the long run.

“We're not allowed to make comments during the presentation, just the board itself,” Kimball said. "…There are others who would disagree with the standards not being rigorous enough.”


  • Deedee

    While most would agree that standards are important, and that “the standards” are not rigorous enough and do not require classical history training in the basics of governments and the history of America, “The standards” are actually fairly neutral ground. Governor Herbert has yet to address or get feedback on the issues that his constituents are really concerned about. Over the last two years people have been to his office to educate him on the issues, yet he refuses to leave neutral ground. The issues of the assessments: 1) how much time they take away from teaching (30 days a year just in testing – no prep time counted), 2) how they are negatively impacting the children psychologically (especially younger children) – and having to institute stress management courses in the younger grades, 3) the content of the assessments is suspect as it is liberal-leaning, tests behaviors vs. academics (they are crossing a boundary), 4) the uselessness of them with regards to the children – only used as a stick to beat the teachers, are paramount. Additionally, data collection and privacy is a huge issue. So many parents are opting their kids out because the Federal Government has access to the significant data reported on the kids. Then there is the electronics in the classroom, taking over real teaching. There is a place for electronics, but in some classrooms, the teacher is only a facilitator and the kids are failing miserably because they don’t get the help. Computers don’t educate, and the children are not robots. Finally, parental rights is a critical problem. Fortunately, the Utah legislature put into place the Opt Out rule. But Ward keeps trying to change it to reduce parent’s rights to opt out of testing. Also, Senator Osmond has been trying to give more freedom to families regarding the school attendance policies, which are so controlling and try to keep kids in school. (Parents wouldn’t pull their kids out of school if they felt they were missing something!!!). I’d say this is Utah Government overreach, not Federal.

    Until Governor Herbert chooses to listen to the concerns of his constituents vs. only hearing counsel from his advisors and from the Governor’s Council, this anti-common core effort will continue to grow. All the people want to do is be included in the process rather than having these policies rammed down their throats. The people want good education for their children, and the product they are seeing is detrimental to their children.

    The media has also been irresponsible in their reporting, as they only address “The Standards” as well, and have also refused to leave neutral ground, and have refused to report what is really going on. You really could make a difference for parents. Will you choose right, or go along with what is politically correct?

  • Tamara Forsyth

    Gov. Herbert says we will never be under any Federal control… that is all good, but I don’t my kids bullied by the state and the USOE either. Just because the state has control doesn’t mean they are not adopting Common Core philosophies and curriculum. I’ve already seen enough examples of policies, assignments, and questions for kids inside our schools right now that tell me that the Governor and USOE are on the wrong track. Parents are getting angrier every day and this is going to blow up into major walk-outs and confrontations if there isn’t more deference given to parents’ rights to see to their children’s education. From the first moments of life a child’s primary caregiver is the parent, not the state. The parent has full responsibility for that child until adulthood, and if parents deem the education system is harmful to their child then they have full God-given rights to stand up and push for change or abandon the state education system altogether without penalty.

  • Jennie

    The math expert (Dr. James Milgrim) on the national committee refused to sign off on the standards because they are poor standards (and in fact failed in Texas), so the committee excluded his name as being part of the committee. Dr. James Milgrim recently gave a radio interview where he stated that students who were given common core standards math for 4 years would never be able to catch up with their peers who didn’t have common core math. See the interview here:

  • S

    Experts everywhere are coming forward regarding the Common Core Standards, Psychologists Are Warning Thst These Standards Are DEDEVELOPMENTALLY Inappropriate. The hand picked committee are all those who would support a one size fits all education system. The governor needs to choose a more diverse group of people including those who have reason to be against CC. Only appointing those that have the same views does not represent the people of Utah and just goes to show he cares not for all of his constituents. I am very disappointed Mr. Herbert. You need to listen to parents as well as educators. Shameful how the Utah State Board and Gov. Herbert are handling the serious business off our children’s education and the future of Utah.

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