USOE Still Dodging Honest Debate, USOE Asking Teachers for Stories About Common Core Agenda   6 comments

The Utah State Office of Education  sent out this email to state curriculum directors yesterday, labeling calls by teachers, senators and parents who ask for honest debate on the many constitutional, academic and privacy-related issues of the Common Core agenda, “vicious” attacks.  The recipients of the email have been removed to protect privacy.  The links have been added to clarify the email.

 

Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 3:55 PM
To:
Subject: [Curriculum Directors] Your action is needed

As you are probably aware the Utah Core based on the Common Core is under vicious attack. Opponents of the core cite reasons against the core ranging from fears about data collection to federal government intrusion. They have specifically begun attacking the mathematics core, in some cases because it “holds students back” and in others because “students who were formerly receiving good grades are now struggling”. These complaints have caught the attention of the legislature and some members of the Utah Board of Education.

At the same time, everywhere I go I am hearing stories of student successes that far exceed previous expectations. I am visiting with teachers who tell me about engaged students who are doing real mathematics, not just copying problems out of textbooks. And teachers are empowered by creating units of study for students that go beyond anything their textbooks ever provided. Wonderful things are happening in Utah!

The time is now to contact policymakers and reassure them that the adoption of the Core was the right thing to do and give them specific evidence of how the integrated model is supporting student learning of mathematics. It’s ok to recognize challenges, but it is critical that policymakers understand that the Core has already had a positive impact on student learning and is likely to result in changes that really will close achievement gaps in the future. I cannot stress enough how important it is that policymakers hear directly from teachers regarding what is happening in their classrooms. The teachers do not need to advocate for the core, just give evidence of the results.

Please invite teachers to send their stories to their own legislators and State Board of Education members. Also, letters to Aaron Osmond aosmond@le.utah.gov and Todd Weiler weiler@le.utah.gov may have extra pull because of their roles in the Utah Senate. Copies sent to USOE, either to me or to Brenda Hales Brenda.hales@schools.utah.gov are also appreciated. The legislators and other policymakers need real information. If we do not voice our thoughts now, we may not have another chance.

Diana Suddreth, STEM Coordinator

Secondary Mathematics

Teaching and Learning

Utah State Office of Education

250 E. 500 South

PO Box 144200

Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200

801-538-7794

diana.suddreth@schools.utah.gov

 

——

So, the USOE is inviting teachers to speak out.  I thought that was what I was doing.
Please invite teachers to send their stories to their own legislators and State Board of Education members.”

Now, I invite teachers to truly do this.  Send your stories anonymously if you fear career repercussions for telling the State you don’t like to be micromanaged.  Tell them the truth:  that whatever’s okay about Common Core, we are free to do without the federal mandates.  Whatever’s bad, we should be able to amend.  The Constitutional right to self-direct education by states has been violated.  SPEAK UP NOW or lose your chance, maybe forever.

Send letters and stories to legislators, the school board (at board@schools.utah.gov ), newspapers, and send a copy here, in the comment area.  I will repost as a guest post.

 Also, remember to take the optionally anonymous teacher survey at Utahns Against Common Core.

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6 responses to “USOE Still Dodging Honest Debate, USOE Asking Teachers for Stories About Common Core Agenda

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  1. It’s the parents fault. I begged parents to come to the meeting to review the new math. (I graduated in 1977 in Elementary Education and later became a Special Education teacher. I raised 5 children in the public schools. I taught them to read when the school failed in California. Most of the time I was the PTA president or on the SITE Counsel. Later, after raising my family, I participated in presenting to my University the results of the Reading Panel. Guess what? No one cared. When the new core was introduced, a note went home and all parents were emailed. 1300 students attended the school and their parents were invited to come to review the new core. 2 parents showed up. When parents wake up and realize the teachers they should be supporting are no longer teaching and new teachers are puppets for administrators for less money, we may get your attention.

  2. I am looking for a highly informed speaker on common core. Putting together for Parents in our community a forum. Not sure how I can reach Christel.

  3. The irony in the invitation for teacher stories is that those who have bad things to say about the Core probably won’t feel comfortable with their names on their stories. I imagine the stories will be heavily skewed with praise for the Core, because opponents or even those who just dislike some aspects must risk their jobs in saying so.

  4. According to the research I have been aware of over the years, it is the quality of the teacher in the classroom that is the main factor in determining what constitutes a quality education–not a list. There has always been an outlined curriculum to follow, but it is the teacher who determines the quality. Common Core is destroying the teacher’s freedom to use their creativity and talent to teach these guidelines.

    CSD in Salt Lake City, the district from which I retired last June, has given the elementary teachers a rigid schedule which MUST be followed.
    The morning is three hours of reading and language arts and followed by two hours of math in the afternoon. P.E.,and computer lab time has
    been shortened from 45 minutes each week to 30 minutes. That leaves 15 minutes of discretionary time in the day for music, art, social studies and science. The teachers are monitored regularly by the principal, reading specialist and district personnel to make sure they are following the schedule.
    Last year when I was still teaching, the math portion of common core was put into place with the purchase of the Pearson/Scott Foresman
    math book. We were given a schedule to follow which did not match the organization of the book, so after school each day we had to hunt for what we were going to teach the next day in order to follow the schedule. We were to teach certain concepts in three week blocks after which the kids were tested in the computer lab so that the district could monitor the teachers in order to make sure we were following the schedule. Even if the students did not understand the concepts being taught, we had to move on anyway to keep on the outlined schedule. This removes the teacher’s ability to teach according to the needs of the class. I have taught the math exactly like all of the ridiculous examples people have posted on Facebook, because that is what is on the test. Since these methods and schedules have been put into place, the effectiveness of my ability to teach math was substandard at best.

    This current school year, CSD purchased the Pearson reading series, “Reading Street”. Again strict adherence to the schedule is required with regular monitoring by the principal, reading specialist and district personnel.

    The students have 8 math and 6 computerized math and reading tests as well as 3 oral reading tests administered by the district.
    The teachers are called in to the principal and the reading specialist and asked why ALL of their students have not met the benchmarks and what they are going to do about it, if the students have not met the benchmarks. I am still in close contact with some of my former colleagues and they tell me that all they can do at this point is teach to the test.

    These tests are in addition to the regular spelling tests, weekly reading tests from the book publisher both in reading and math for the report card grade.

    My colleagues also tell me that some of the lower achieving students have given up and won’t try, being frustrated with all of this testing, and that their scores are actually getting worse. And then the teacher is called into the principals office along with the reading specialist and grilled about what they are going to do to bring up the scores.

    One of my former colleagues, a second grade teacher, told me that she didn’t dare have her students color a shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day because of the constant monitoring and coloring a shamrock is not on the “schedule.”

    They also tell me that the older teachers can’t wait to get out of the profession and the ones who have been there just a few years say they can’t do this anymore. As Patti Ratliff said in her comment above mine, the new teachers will go along because they haven’t experienced anything different.

    Where is the joy in teaching?? Unfortunately it is gone.

    So this is success–kids and teaching burning out on rigid schedules and tests?

    Since when is questioning our public officials and expecting honest answers, a vicious attack?

    Margaret Wilkin
  5. If Common Core was so fabulous they would not have tricked the Governors, duped the teachers and hid it from the public.
    the proof keeps being displayed over and over, case in point pineapplegate.

    code: common core = communitarian cognitive restructuring.

    This STEM coordinator from our school had the school do a project that involved Orangutans of Borneo and their habitat being incroached on
    by the growing of Palm for Palm Oil. a definate political movement connected to radical environmentalists and multinational corporations. they wanted the children to support SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL, promoted by the roundtable for sustainable palm oil, shutting out the local small farmers to their advantage.
    this situation is a large geopolitical story and a broad study by a college student for say a senior thesis might be in order. instead the kids were given all leftwing periodicals, no scholarly journals, and you tube videos of not only no credible source but with violent images and vulgar comments below. then they were given a survey by another teacher asking them how often they went to McDonalds and would they be more likely to eat there if McDonalds used sustainable palm oil?
    I think you get the picture. CAUSE MARKETING. data mining. I was unaware that SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING AND MATH covered political science, zoology, international economics, international politics and marketing. So the aformentioned STEM coordinator is in the bag for the Common Core schemers and their UN buddies whether she knows it or not.

    PA SAY NO COMMON CORE

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