Archive for the ‘kraig powell’ Tag
Senator Aaron Osmond
State School Board Chair Debra Roberts
Representative Kraig Powell
Governor Gary Herbert
We are not put here on earth only to eat cupcakes, to quote one another and make each other feel lovely. We are here to STAND UP and DO something when we see our freedoms being threatened, or when we see corruption or cruelty or lying or any wrong thing.
One verse that I particularly relate to in the Book of Mormon is this: “And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their concerning the freedom of their country.” (Alma 59:13)
I could paste it right into my diary: “And it came to pass that Christel was angry with the [Utah State School Board, Federal Dept. of Education, Governor Herbert, Representative Powell and Senator Aaron Osmond] because of their concerning the [educational] freedom of the country.”
In the Book of Mormon, there are two Moronis. This Moroni was a military captain, a great patriot, of whom it was previously written: “if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto , behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. (Alma 48:17)
Where are our local Moronis? I think in D.C. we have two: I’ve seen Senator Chaffetz and Senator Lee each valiantly take on corruption and assaults on America’s freedom. Lee fought Hillary Clinton’s U.N. “Let’s take over the American oceans” treaty. Chaffetz put the “Fast and the Furious” corruption on trial at the Executive level. I haven’t followed all they’ve done, but what I’ve seen matches the spirit of Moroni’s fight for freedom.
But locally, we could really use more.
Today, I’m extremely upset with Senator Aaron Osmond for promoting SB100, a bill sponsored by Sen. J. Stevenson. I realize these legislators don’t have malicious intent, but neither do they seem to see what is so clear when you have studied what socialism is, and what our Constitution is supposed to protect. They just haven’t studied enough!
If you go to the Utah Legislative website right now it will say that the bill is passing merrily along with no trouble. Why? Have these legislators really not done any homework at all, or are they complicit with the socialist/globalist goals of those who wish to degrade the United States? SB100 gives preferential treatment to IB schooling in Utah, (and permits the expense of IB). International Baccalaureate (IB) schools, curriculum and tests are in no way accountable to Utah teachers, parents or the State School Board. It is a program run globally out of Switzerland, with tests graded by IB staff, and no say for any local voice in what is tested or taught. None. Additionally, IB curriculum promotes global citizenship, meaning that any country or system (such as the U.S. Constitution and its God-respecting principles) is no better or worse than ANY other– it’s equally to be taught and honored as is the communism of China, the socialism of Sweden, or the evil dictatorship of North Korea. IB cloaks itself in tolerance and global awareness, but it is anti-American in its refusal to acknowledge the superiority and goodness of any political system over another. There are other problems with IB. But that is the only one that is a real dealbreaker for me.
Meanwhile, Representative Kraig Powell has bought, hook, line and sinker, the notion that “global warming” and “climate change” are settled science– so much so that he’s pushing a bill run by environmentalist extremists in Utah. If you read the Twitter feeds or the newspapers, you will see it. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55764715-90/utah-climate-committee-bill.html.csp?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
It’s funny because just this week, there’s also news that makes Rep. Powell’s ideas look silly, saying that science shows humans are not creating global warming, even if it is somehow legitimately ever proven that the earth is warming, that it’s going to do real damage, or that legislation can alter its outcomes. Read that science here: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/11/19/study-drought-trends-estimates-possibly-overstated-due-to-inaccurate-science/ and here: http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/13919-new-report-man-made-global-warming-is-a-farce
I’ve never spoken to Sen. J. Stevenson, but have repeatedly spoken with Senator Osmond and Kraig Powell about these bills and I’ve asked them to run bills helping Utah to shake itself free of the chains of Common Core. Neither will act. Senator Osmond, of course, is an employee of Pearson Company, the main purveyor of Common Core and global same-education implementation products worldwide, (and Pearson has huge contracts with the State School Board of Utah) so Osmond’s not motivated to even study this stuff.
Powell, I can’t figure out. I see him in the hallway at church sometimes and we smile at each other and there’s no animosity from either of us. He knows a ton about Common Core because many of us in Heber have knocked ourselves over trying to educate him and get him to help us in this fight. But he has a lot of liberal and socialist friends, and friends in education who believe the claims of the proponents of Common Core. And I guess that’s why he won’t act. I don’t know, really.
Then there’s Governor Herbert. Just this week he was in D.C. testifying about how wonderful it is that Utah is aligning education with business to create a managed workforce. Sorry, but the whole Prosperity 2020 thing sounds exactly like socialism to me: manage the people; use your “human capital,” and I don’t see much liberty or individuality in that. Our Governor is likewise doing nothing about the data collection invasion that his state technology director, John Brandt, is foisting upon Utah, using six Utah agencies in his Utah Data Alliance. Brandt gives speeches for the federal agencies like NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics) as well. He cannot be ignorant about the damages he’s doing to student and citizen privacy in our state. Can the governor be?
I hope and pray that better people will be willing to study these important issues, compare them to the original founding fathers’ documents, and to scripture, and to common sense, and to real, actual, empirical science.
I hope many of these good people then decide to run for office or school board or city council –or at least teach those who do, by studying the political movements and by trying to influence them correctly.
We need more people with good brains and solid hearts, who have an abiding testimony that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of freedom and truth, that the Constitution is a tangible reality to honor –and not something to claim that you honor while you write socialist bills.
I get the feeling that Herbert, Powell and Osmond actually like people like me. They see us as cheerleaders for the Constitution and for the GOP. They pat us on the head, figuratively, and say, “Run along now, dearie, and thanks for your enthusiasm,” while they continue to lead us down the path toward total socialism, which is the same thing, years down the developmental (progressive) path, as communism: total control of the state of each individual, including the absorption of property rights and family authority over the child. This is what I see as the result of Powell’s climate philosophy, Osmond’s education bill, and Herbert’s Prosperity 2020 (business-and-education-partnership).
Yes, I’m angry. We deserve more from these men.
Want to “shake the powers of hell” like Moroni? Vote in some guys like this ancient defender of freedom:
“And Moroni was… a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the and safety of his people. Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood… this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity.” (Alma 48)
Moroni wrote a letter to his political representative. He said:
“Great has been your neglect towards us. And now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state. Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless , while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you?” (Alma 60)
And that is how I feel. The neglect of Herbert, Powell, the State School Board and Osmond is not a lack of sending provisions, but in their having done so little research homework, or, if they have done their research, the neglect is in not acting upon the truth when they learned it.
Dear Francis Gibson,
Missouri, South Carolina and Indiana have written legislation that could withdraw their states from Common Core.
I am writing to ask you to help pass similar legislation for Utah.
I was able to give a speech on this subject at the Weber County Republican Women’s group meeting this month. http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/weber-county-republican-womens-meeting-speech-on-common-core/
I will attach the text of that speech here, so that if there is still any doubt in your mind that Common Core is a financial, academic, states’ rights and privacy-rights disaster, this will clarify the point.
I write to you because my own representative, Kraig Powell, has closed his mind on this subject.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Please keep this in mind above all: the difference between what I am saying and what the proponents of Common Core are saying, is that my statements and claims are referenced and verifiable. The DOE’s and the NGA/CCSSO’s and the USOE’s all match, but all are empty claims with no provided references and no validation from empirical sources anywhere. Common Core is a massive, expensive academic experiment. An experiment! On our children.
We have been sold out, not by malice, but simply by the ignorance of our state school board and the former governor who signed us up.
My motive is pure, as a teacher and a mother who wants high quality education and actual freedom to change standards when we find some of them don’t match Utah’s needs and wants.
There is still plenty o’confusion in the state of Utah. Lawmakers are realizing that due to the Utah Constitution’s giving authority to the Board to determine educational issues, they are almost powerless (except to defund Common Core). The board seems skittish and embarrassed now that so many of us know the new standards are inferior and that our freedoms have been traded for what started out as a way to increase Utah’s chance at a federal education grant during an economic low. And some on the USOE and state school board ship seem to be steering toward the possibility of purchasing SBAC tests despite the fact that Utah just voted to cut membership ties with SBAC.
The board now admits it’s a federal program. Lawmakers are not fully aware yet of all aspects of Common Core, while the Board is digging in their heels about giving any references for their claims of increased rigor or local control.
It’s a great drama, but a sad one.
Illustration: After the meeting, Alisa Ellis and I asked School Board Chair Debra Roberts if we might get a chance to sit down and talk with her about all of this. She said, “We’ve already wasted $10,000 in Board time as this group has been sitting down with us so much.”
Really? We asked who they have actually been talking/sitting with. (I’ve never had the opportunity, but would like it. I have had the majority of my many emails ignored and was told “no” to a sit-down conference with USOE lawyer Carol Lear.)
Chair Roberts said, “Well, we’ve sat with Christel many times.” Hmm. I said, “I am Christel. And that is not true.”
She insisted it was. So, I asked who said that they had sat and talked with me. She didn’t say. I said that somebody has misinformed you or somebody needs to take a lie detector test.
She hurried away, refusing to even discuss sitting down with us. So did Superintendent Shumway. Strange. The board now seems afraid of the truth that might come out during a legitimate discussion with an educated citizen, and they simply will not give references for their claims nor will they sit down and talk like gentlemen. Or gentlewomen.
Both the Tribune and the Deseret News covered the historic meeting of the House and Senate Education Committee on Common Core at the State Capitol yesterday. But they failed to report on some of the more fascinating moments.
Like what? Well, they skipped the Data Alliance’s data-mashing discussion and skipped the probing questions legislators directed toward both the pro-Common Core, such as Utah Superintendent Larry Shumway (and his staff) and to the visiting experts who testified at the meeting, the heroes of Utah’s day:
Jim Stergios of the Boston-based Pioneer Institute and Ted Rebarber of the D.C. -based AccountabilityWorks
The papers also totally blew the hilarious part, where Rep. Moss’ rhetorical questions got “Yes!”es –called out by several audience members including me, after Rep. Moss asked, “Have these people even read the standards? Are they English teachers? Do they have Master’s Degrees?”
So, here are links to the local newspapers’ coverage of the event:
And here’s my version. Photos first, details follow.
Senator Howard Stephenson: he said if he were “the king of Utah,” he would follow the recommendation of the visiting education experts.
Representative Francis Gibson: he asked Stergios and Rebarber to clarify whether it was true that Massachusetts had had the highest educational standards in the nation [and had tested as an independent country, ranking in the top six internationally] before they dropped their standards to adopt Common Core. You could have heard a pin drop. Stergios answered: it was the very reason a Massachusetts scholar traveled to Utah to testify against Common Core.
Rebarber and Stergios: Why not brand Utah as the great state with courage to be independent of federal manipulation via Common Core?
Jim Stergios and Ted Rebarber have agreed to share written copies of their ten minute testimonies to the Utah legislature, but until I get a copy, here are a just few bullet points:
- The quality of the Common Core standards is mediocre. Cutting classic literature to make room for informational texts has been said by Dr. Sandra Stotsky to be weakening college prep, taking away from the richer and broader vocabulary of classic literature.
- The math standards are less rigorous; for example, they place Alg. I in high school rather than in middle school. Math lacks a coherent grade by grade progression. The Common Core experimental approach to teaching geometry has never been successfully piloted in the world.
- Stergios quoted Jason Zimba, math architect for Common Core, who said that passing the Common Core test in math will only show a student is prepared to enter a nonselective community college.
- Stergios said that CCSSO administrator Gene Wilhoit’s recent statement to the Utah School Board that “there’s no Common Core police,” is misleading. Stergios said that gentlemen’s agreements quickly become mandates, as the pattern of the Dept. of Education’s recent history shows. It is best to rely on what is in writing.
- Stergios mentioned the Race to the Top for DISTRICTS, which is brand new. This shows zero respect for state authority over education. There is a steady pattern of encroachment by the federal government on education.
- Common Core did not have adequate deliberation; after a 2 day approval and no public input, Utah adopted Common Core. Even Fordham Institute, a pro-common core think tank, rated Utah math standards higher prior to adoption of Common Core.
- Stergios said Utah should brand itself as independent, thus attracting more talent and economic growth by reversing the adoption of Common Core.
- Legislators hold the purse. There’s a separation of powers between the legislature and the State School Board, which holds the authority over determining standards. There’s also the Constitutional principle of checks and balances. The ESEA waiver shows the federal arm is tying funds to adoption of Common Core –or to a college program that the Dept. of Ed must approve. If legislators don’t approve of either the experimental, inferior aspect, or the federally-promoted aspect of the standards, they can withhold all Common Core funding. The school board will have to create independent standards.
- NAPE tests provide national results; SAT and ACT do not. They are only used by certain states, not all.
- SBAC’s passing scores are non-negotiable; the purpose is to define what proficient means. Utah can’t affect SBAC.
- Federal Dept of Education has herded states into a set of standards. The benefits for collaboration are over when all have the same standards, whether you call them Utah Core or Common Core. It is the same.
- Texas’ Robert Scott has said he would love to do collaborative work with other states, creating an item bank rather than exact common tests. There are other approaches and ways that don’t require everyone to be the very same.
- The legislature has a duty to protect the right of Utah citizens not to give up education to federal control. Protecting state sovereignty is a legitimate concern.
Of the nearly packed to capacity room, who spoke up or asked questions? Several lawmakers:
Rep. Ken Sumison:
Who spoke up from the Utah Data Alliance and NCES? One man:
And who spoke at lennnnggggth from the Utah State School Board?
Superintendent Larry Shumway
Assistant Superintendent Judy Park
(who used the word “thrilled” multiple times in the same sentence as “sharing with the Department of Education”)
–and Utah State School Board Chair Debra Roberts:
Chair Roberts said: “I don’t care what the federal government has to say…I will listen to Utah educators.” (But she refuses to speak for even five minutes to educators like me, who oppose Common Core. )
Others in the audience (non-speaking roles) included:
The Honorable Judge Norman Jackson: (who has thoroughly reviewed the legal aspects of Common Core and based on his assessment, recommended Utah reject Common Core)
Rep. Kraig Powell
who has been studying both sides of Common Core with interest
And the pro-freedom in education activist, Alisa Ellis, with many more citizens against Common Core restraints:
So, with the exception Aaron Osmond –who says he’s to the point of nausea because of how much he’s had to face Common Core controversy –most legislators and citizens and teachers still don’t understand what Common Core is. I make this judgement from having heard very important, basic questions asked by legislators.
Sen. Stephenson, Rep. Gibson, Rep. Nielsen, Rep. Moss, Rep. Christianson, Rep. Sumison and others asked good, probing questions and made clear, excellent points, such as Rep. Sumison’s “Whoever pays, makes the rules.” (He wasn’t referring to the fact that the legislators hold the Utah public purse, but to the fact that the federal government has financially incentivized Common Core.)
–I’ll get to the rest of the legislators in a minute.
First, all in the audience had to trudge through almost two hours of the Pro-Common Core Show led by Superintendent Larry Shumway and Judy Park.
Park reported on the No Child Left Behind waiver. Dr. Park bubbled and gushed about what she called her “thrill of sharing Utah’s work with the Department of ED” in applying for No Child Left Behind. She used the word “sharing” and “thrilled” multiple times. Superintendent Shumway said that he was “offended” that people “in this room” have implied that he gets something out of sitting on boards outside Utah other than providing a helpful service. He said he receives no pay for sitting on the board of CCSSO (The Council of Chief State School Officers). He did not mention another board he sits on, WestEd, which is the test writer for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).
John Brandt and his staffer said the Utah Data Alliance is no threat to citizen privacy, although, he chuckled, ”there are no guarantees,” and he admitted that ”about 10 people will have clearance to access personally identifiable” citizen information.
The Q + A:
So: What did the legislators want to know? What did the pro and con answerers say?
When Rep. Moss asked her rhetorical questions and got “Yes!”es shouted out in response, Superintendent Shumway answered her, too: “Standards set a base line. Standards don’t set a cap.” (I thought: Really? What does the 15% speed limit on learning set by the Dept of Education, and copyrighted by NGA/CCSSO, do– if it does not cap our rights to educate as we see fit? Please.)
When Rep. Stephenson pointed to the academic reviews of Common Core that are unfavorable to the school board’s claims that the standards will increase rigor and strengthen legitimate college prep, Superintendent Shumway deflected the question. Waving aside official reviews by actual members of the only official national Common Core Validation Committee, professors who refused to sign off on the Common Core standards as being adequate, Superintendent Shumway said: “there’s no dearth of documents.” (The referenced reviews of Dr. Sandra Stotsky on English and by Dr. James Milgam on math are available in Exhibit A and B here: http://pioneerinstitute.org/pdf/120510_ControllingEducation.pdf and in many other places.
Rep. Christensen said he wants Utah to be independent and said, “Education is a local matter.” He was troubled by the”implicit recognition of federal supremacy,” illustrated by the majority of states having asked the federal government for waivers from No Child Left Behind. He added, “We’re going down a road” he is not happy about, illustrated by the fact he cited: a school board member said Utah had paid a $90,000 fine for noncompliance with No Child Left Behind.
In response, Superintendent Shumway said that there were various disclaimers in the No Child Left Behind application.
Rep. Nielsen asked if it was true that by 7th grade, under Common Core math, students would be two years behind world class standards. Jim Stergios responded that indeed, Common Core was a step backward for Utah, but it would be closer to one year behind. For other states, Common Core brings math standards back two years.
Rep. Nielsen stated concerns about local control, saying that the U.S. Dept of Education uses terms like “allows” this and “allows” that. Sup. Shumway responded that “We are navigating through compliated waters.”
Sen. Osmond and Sen. Stephenson asked cost-related questions: hadn’t Utah already borne the brunt of the online costs for technology to match Common Core? Ted Rebarber answered that the state should do a cost analysis as other states have done. Common Core requires transformative realignment to the national standards. Rebarber asked, “Why do it?” –Since the cost/benefit analysis shows Utah is giving away state authority while adding costs, for inferior standards or at best, very similar to previously held, state standards.
Sen. Stephenson asked about the “legitimate concerns about abandoning what districts are doing” concerning assessments. Sup. Shumway said, “We haven’t preselected any vendor [for testing]. We were careful not to create requirements that would exclude anyone.” Shumway invited any Utahn to go to schools.utah.gov and click on “popular links” and submit input on specific standards that Utahns find problematic. He said these must be academically central comments, not comments about state sovereignty over education.
Several legislators questioned the timing of simultaneously asking the public for feedback to change the standards when the test Request for Proposals (RFP) has already been written and the SBAC has long been in the test writing process. How could Utah’s changed standards match? (I would add, how do you think we’re going to get away with changing more than 15% of our standards when it’s copyrighted and the Dept. of Ed. is aiming for seamless commonality between states?)
Sup. Shumway said that the timetables are challenging.
Both Rep. Nielsen and Rep. Christensen were concerned with the costs of Common Core and the state longitudinal data system (SLDS), costs which have not been studied by Utah. The SLDS grant will run out in 2013.
Utah Technology Director John Brandt responded that he hoped the legislature would continue to fund SLDS, ”this valuable tool.”
Valuable tool for whom? Children? Parents? Freedom lovers? –Excuse me while I run screaming from the room and cross-stitch and frame in gold the 4th Amendment to the Constitution.
The SLDS and Data Alliance is either–
- What John Brandt and his team said it is, yesterday: a state network of data (never to be shared with federal agencies) –a way to share preschool-to-workforce data about Utahns, among six state agencies (Dept. of Workforce Services, Utah State Office of Education, and more). Brandt assured legislators that personally identifiable portions of this data would be only accessed by about ten people in the state, but countless people can access the nonidentifiable portions of the data.
This makes more sense since Brandt belongs to the Dept. of Education’s research arm, the NCES, and he also belongs to -and chairs– the group that developed and copyrighted the Common Core standards, the CCSSO or Council of Chief State School Officers. NCES has a long-standing “National Data Collection Model” you can view here: http://nces.ed.gov/forum/datamodel/Information/howToUse.aspx
So Brandt is a fed, along with being the Technology Director for the state of Utah.
Relevantly, the Dept. of Education’s Chief of Staff, Joanne Weiss, has recently said that she’s combining or “mashing” data systems of federal agencies and is “helping” states (Oh, thank you!) by writing reports to assist them in developing research partnerships. She has said, ”Politicians often warn of the law of unintended consequences—as if all unintended consequences are negative ones—but in the world of data, we should also be aware of the law of welcome surprises.” (Weiss at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) annual conference. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/ed_urges_states_to_make_data_s.html Thanks, Ms. Weiss. That makes me feel better.
I will keep this in mind while I continue to study exemplary progressive collectivism such as China’s Ministry of Public Security, as I recall the “data sharing” on citizens in Germany’s 1940s, or as I enjoy George Orwell’s immortal “1984″.
Utah, let’s keep our wits about us.
There’s a meeting, open to the public, to be held in room 30 in the House Building at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City. This meeting will be important, as heavy hitters will be speaking about Common Core issues:
Dr. Larry Shumway, Utah Superintendent of Schools, John Brandt, Technology Director, and Dr. Judy Park, Associate Superintendent, will be speaking.
Dr. Sandra Stotsky, University of Arkansas, member of Common Core Validation Committee http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/People/stotsky.html
–and Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott, will be speaking.
A G E N D A
Education Interim Committee – Utah Legislature
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 • 2:00 p.m. • Room 30 House Building
1. Committee Business
2. Flexibility Waiver
Utah is among the 32 states granted a flexibility waiver to replace the federal accountability system created under No Child Left Behind with its own state accountability system. Beginning with the 2011-12 school year, schools will be evaluated based on a new state accountability system, and school performance reports will be issued this fall showing each school’s results under the new state accountability system. Committee members will receive a briefing on the flexibility waiver and the new state accountability system.
3. Utah Data Alliance and the State Longitudinal Data System
As a collaborative, multi-organizational partnership, the Utah Data Alliance seeks to enhance the quality of educational research and analysis in Utah regarding policies, practices, and programs by utilizing an integrated statewide longitudinal data system of individual, de-identified information. The Utah Data Alliance provides policy and decision makers research findings with the goal of improving education and workforce policy and practice. Committee members will receive a briefing on the Utah Data Alliance and the state longitudinal data system.
4. Report on Utah’s Core Standards and Participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
Dr. Shumway will report on a process for the State Board of Education to receive and consider proposed changes to Utah’s core standards for English language arts and mathematics. He will also report on State Board of Education action regarding Utah’s participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment consortium.
5. Common Core
Dr. Stotsky, a member of the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, will testify on the common core standards. Mr. Robert Scott, Commission of Education of Texas, a state that has not adopted the common core, will express his concerns with the common core.
• Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas
• Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education of Texas
6. Other Items/Adjourn
Democrats, Republicans and others packed the Wasatch Bagel Cafe in Park City to standing room only last night in an effort to learn the pros and cons of Utah’s membership in the Common Core Movement. Common Core is a set of national standards and common tests that was initiated by states, is incentivized and promoted by the federal government, and is backed financially by private interest groups, largely by Bill Gates.
Wasatch Representative Kraig Powell, Senate Education Committee Chair Aaron Osmond, House Committee Chair Francis Gibbons, and Joel Briscoe, also of the Utah Legislature, led the meeting. None of the four vocalized a strong stand for or against the Common Core Initiative. Questions and comments by citizens generally addressed the questions of whether local autonomy and control over educational standards and good education would be available with Common Core.
Doctor and Park City citizen John Zimmerman said, “We don’t need the federal government in education,” and asked why the Common Core educational movement was involved with the federal government. Aaron Osmond responded that the movement did not start out being federally led but the federal government has taken advantage of the movement. Kraig Powell added that it’s as if we were headed down the road in a small car and the federal government came along with a faster car and we got in.
Representative Kraig Powell said that raising educational standards is an important and laudable goal. He said that he trusts people and feels that as long as there is plenty of public discussion, Utah will come up with something we can all live with. He voiced concern about the Department of Education’s use of “shall” language in the No Child Left Behind waivers that push states toward Common Core. He mentioned that there was a larger legislative turnout than he’d ever seen last month when four national educational experts spoke against Common Core at a legislators’ lunch and at another public forum. He emphasized that there must be lots of input and study so people’s voices can be heard. (Currently, few citizens know what Common Core is.) Powell also noted that just as Medicaid has put mandates on Utah which come with funding concerns many Utahns are not comfortable with, there is a concern that the same demoralization of teachers and the same costly requirements may happen with Common Core that were problematic with No Child Left Behind.
Senate Education Committee Chair Aaron Osmond said that the Utah Constitution allows the state school board a lot of power. He voiced a concern that we must preserve state sovereignty and the right to control standards in our state, saying, ”If we lose that, I concur that it’s wrong.”
Newly appointed chair of the Utah House Education Committee, Francis Gibson, said that both the pro and con sides of the Common Core have arguments that make sense. He liked the fact that the standards promised not to dictate curriculum and hoped there was a way to fix the low portion of the math segments of Common Core. He did not mention whether there was a way to amend standards under the common core contractual documents.
Representative Joel Briscoe said that his entire family, including himself, consists of teachers. While the Common Core requires students to read less literature, he felt that fact did not represent any lowering of standards. He addressed the fact that at the high school level, 70% of English language readings are to be informational text with only 30% being allowed to be classic literature readings. He supports the less-literature, more-informational text shift. He did not address Common Core’s shift away from narrative writing. He did not address the non-amendability of the reading and writing standards.
Heber citizen Anissa Wardell asked what the legislators’ stand was on data collection, including personally identifiable student information, to be gathered without parental consent, a concern connected to Common Core reforms. Kraig Powell responded that we have to ask ourselves whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that the P-20 systems and/or private entities track a child from before kindergarten through college and work. He did not take a stand on the question.
All four legislators said they applauded the effort of the Utah State School Board in attempting to raise educational standards for Utah.