Ogden Examiner Covers GOP Rejection of Common Core While Tribune and Deseret News are Silent   6 comments

The Ogden Examiner covered the Utah GOP’s  rejection of the Common Core at Saturday’s convention. But Utah’s main newspapers, the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, have not yet covered the story.

That lack of coverage speaks volumes.

Discussing Common Core is now akin to bringing up religion, sex or politics at family reunions.  People have such varied, and intense, beliefs about it that it can get a little awkward.


Almost whispering, a woman in my town came up to me this week and quietly said thank you.  She said that she and the other educators are grateful for those who speak out.  Most of those currently employed in schools don’t dare say anything against common core, fearing ridicule or job loss.

There are exceptions.  David Cox  is currently teaching; Margaret Wilkin, just retired;  and others nationally have spoken out.  And there’s even me.  I’m also a currently credentialed teacher, but I’m homeschooling instead of sending my ten year old (and myself) into the schools of Common Core.  Will the USSB renew my credential?  Will schools hire me in the future when they know I disagree so strongly with the Common Core agenda?  I wonder.

I spoke with a member of the Utah State School Board this week about teachers’ feelings about Common Core, asking if the board would be willing to create an official USOE anonymous survey for teachers like the one Utahns Against Common Core is doing, in order to receive honest, two-sided feedback about Common Core.  The board member told me that would be pointless because “there are always teachers who are angry.”  Those angry ones must not taken too seriously.

This makes me think that teachers need to make it clear to the USOE/USSB that the angry few are not the minority or the “always angry” types.  I suggest that teachers write letters, anonymously if necessary, but often– and many.  How else will the state leaders believe that there is a serious problem?


Another reason there is a lack of coverage and discussion about the issue is that when we say “Common Core,” we don’t all think of the same thing.

Remember the story of the blind men describing the elephant?  Each blind man reached out and touched the elephant, and were asked to describe it.  One said it was like a tree trunk.  One said it was like a wall.  One said it was like a rope.  All disagreed yet none was lying.  The beast was just bigger and more complex than any of them realized.

Because different teachers teach at different grade levels, and different teachers teach different subjects  (only some of which are affected by Common Core); and because some schools jumped on the Common Core implementation wagon fast, while others are slow; and because the Common Core tests don’t begin until this coming school year; and because the Common Core-aligned textbooks are for the most part, not yet purchased and not yet even printed, things look different in different places.

Then there’s the confusion outside the teachers’ arena; some people are aware of the political strings (such as the lack of an amendment process for common core standards; the copyright on CCSS, the 15% cap placed on it by the Dept of Education; and the lack of voter accountability to the groups who created the standards)  –while many people are unaware, and say, “Common Core is just minimum standards.”

All of these various angles make it difficult to even speak about what Common Core is.

But we have to keep speaking about it.


Common Core is not like past education reforms that are quickly altered and tossed away for another set of equally bureaucratic –but alterable– reforms.

This one’s going in cement. Two reasons:

1.  The main architect for Common Core’s ELA standards, David Coleman, was given the position of College Board president, and is aligning college entrance exams (SAT) to Common Core.  The ACT is said to be aligned as well.  This fact alters our entire system of education in the country –and cannot be easily changed later.

2. There is a philosophical and curricular monopoly happening.  The textbook industry is dominated by Pearson, the world’s largest education sales business.  Pearson is officially partnered with Bill Gates, the world’s 2nd richest man, and the main funder of all things common core.  The partnership is writing model common core curriculum (as are the testing consortia) to align all books, teacher trainings, and tests with the same standards.  Meanwhile, 99% of all smaller textbook companies are also republishing all their books to align with Common Core because of this new monopoly on what academic standards ought to cover (or what they ought to skip).

We need more states, more private schools, and more textbook companies  to stand independent of this outrageous, baseless monopoly.  Otherwise, there will soon be no alternatives, no freedom of choice, no ability to soar above the common –for any of us.

We need alternatives to a common alignment with corporate monopolies and one college exam standard.

I hope the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News decide to cover this issue fully, rather than worrying about what the Governor, State School Board, and Prosperity 2020 businesses want them to do.

People deserve to hear the full story, thoroughly covered.  It’s not unimportant:

We are reclaiming the local ability to determine what we will teach our kids.





6 responses to “Ogden Examiner Covers GOP Rejection of Common Core While Tribune and Deseret News are Silent

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  1. Good for the GOP and local control.

  2. The Tribune and Deseret News should follow the example of the Ogden Examiner’s inclusion of coverage of the GOP’s stance concerning the Federally controlled Common Core program. The GOP is finally doing what’s right in demanding local control. Did the Trib and Des News miss or ignore this very important issue?

    Roger Slagowski
  3. I believe the Tribune and the Deseret News should report on the Republican Party’s demand to get Utah out of Common Core. This is really a very important issue. The media coverage has led people to believe that only a small group of people oppose Common Core. This action by the state Republican party is very significant, for it is no longer the isolated opinon of just a few people that Common Core must go. This is something that is very newsworthy, and we should be hearing how the Deseret News and Tribune are interviewing delegates to find out what got their attention about Common Core, and why they became convinced that it is not a good thing for Utah. That is very important. We should know.

  4. Yes, please, our media needs to cover the Common Core issue. A large number of people haven’t even heard of Common Core, but it will have an impact on them. We need our newspapers and television and radio stations to bring us the issues. In this way we can take steps to becoming informed.

    Kirsten Swanson
  5. I have heard a lot about prosperity 2020 on the radio and was wondering if it was linked to Common Core. Seems like you know a little about this. Could you let us know more about the connection?

    • Education First and Prosperity 2020 sent a letter out to legislators asking them to promote/support Common Core. We have to think together about why they might have done this. Is it part of the workforce training movement, to be able to compare and track students in the SLDS database using common tests? Is it because educational sales companies are making lots of money using Utah school districts to purchase Common Core-aligned curriculum? It’s hard to say. What we do know is that public/private partnershipping is a form of soft fascism and it does circumvent the voter, and does circumvent the people’s voice– the very people who are to be governed by the new system. The big money and big corporate sponsors getting behind Common Core makes me very uncomfortable, since public schools are governmentally operated. I wish we had strong investigative journalists on this issue in Utah.

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