I like Superintendent Martell Menlove. He’s approachable, pleasant, polite; has a warm smile and even responds to emails.
But there is a problem. Dr. Menlove is not just any Utahn; he’s the State Superintendent. He supports Common Core and he’s a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which created and copyrighted Common Core (with the NGA).
Dr. Menlove is also on the Board of Directors of WestEd
, an organization with a key role in the creation of the Common Core tests.
I don’t know why he remains a member of these groups. Maybe he thinks he can influence them for good instead of having them drag him (and our state) down. Maybe. But Dr. Menlove told me once that the reason he supports Common Core is that the ACT and SAT do. He thinks that our students have to align with whatever ACT/SAT do because of college entrance traditions. (I suggested to Dr. Menlove that now that David Coleman has corrupted the college entrance exams
) down to Common Core standards, we should flee ACT/SAT and find alternative testing
for Utah students.) He did not agree.
Yesterday, my friend Oak Norton wrote a letter
to Dr. Menlove. He asked him to publically clarify whether Utah Core Standards are the same thing
as Common Core Standards because some people are of the false belief that Utah has independent math and English standards. Dr. Menlove wrote back and clarified. Utah does Common Core standards
. He wrote: “The Utah State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards as Utah Core Standards in Math and English/Language Arts. I do not believe I have said anything contrary to this. If I have, I apologize.” (See? He is nice.)
But there’s still a problem. It’s never been made clear by him nor other leaders that because we do Common Core, we cannot control our own standards anymore. Whether our leaders don’t understand this, or choose not to understand this, or don’t want the people to understand this, is no matter. What matters is that people are confused.
Let’s not be confused. We can fact-check our leaders who say, “Utah isn’t obligated to Common Core and we can easily alter “our” standards while still belonging to the Common Core Initiative”. It’s wishful thinking at best; lies at worst. Here’s why:
Look at 7 basic facts:
1. The Department of Education’s official website explains the conditions of getting ARRA money. It says:
“As part of its application for initial funding, the state must assure that it will take actions to: (a) increase teacher effectiveness and address inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers; (b) establish and use pre-K-through-college and career data systems to track progress and foster continuous improvement; (c) make progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments;
and (d) support targeted, intensive support and effective interventions to turn around schools identified for corrective action and restructuring.”
F.Y.I. – “College and Career Ready Standards and high-quality assessments” means only ONE thing to the federal government: COMMON CORE. Read their definitions page
Yes, we traded our educational freedom for federal ARRA money. Sad choice, Governor Huntsman. That’s where it all started: there were four assurances in that
signup (which included common standards
and assessments and data collection) that Governor Huntsman signed us up for in that State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
; the standards were one of the conditions. Data collection and testing were also included.
Maybe Dr. Menlove doesn’t know this. He really should.
2. BUT THERE IS MORE: the MOU
(Memorandum of Understanding) that the school board signed got us started further down the path of Common Core –this MOU, which was used in other federal funding applications, proved we were on the Common Core commitment train.
3. BUT THERE IS MORE: the NCLB temporary waiver application (see page 18)
binds Utah to COMMON STANDARDS.
4. BUT THERE IS MORE: the Common Core copyright page
itself binds users to precisely what’s written and offers no amendment process for states governed by the standards;
5. BUT THERE IS MORE: there is a 15% clause in the Achieve implementation manuals (see page 23)
and in the NCLB waiver and elsewhere, that is a “ceiling rule”, stifling what Utah can add to the Utah Core, and ensuring that anything Utah adds to the Common standards, including or beyond that 15%, won’t be tested
or recognized by the national testers nor written into the “acceptable” Common Core aligned curriculums
6. BUT THERE IS MORE. The lack of any amendment process for the states to alter the common standards should be a red flag to our leaders– whose duty is to protect us from the tyranny of corporate copyrights as well as to protect us from the tyranny of the federal Department of Education.
7. BUT THERE IS MORE. Even if we stand firm and reject the coming science
and social studies standards, which Dr. Menlove told us he would do, we are still standing without control over what our students will learn about history and science! We’ve been duped by David Coleman, lead Common Core creator and now College Board President.
This duping is clearly explained in a letter from another friend of mine, Jakell Sullivan, on the subject:
Oak Norton published Superintendent Menlove’s reply to his email where Dr. Menlove admits that we have indeed adopted Common Core; however, he does not make any effort to address the places where Utah is bound to the federal mandates—this is, in my opinion, a consistent effort by him and Board members to never address the actual reality of the situation. Please see Dr. Menlove’s response, and please keep in mind that the Common Core Standards creators were clever in their approach to telling states they were only adopting Math and English. The actual cover of the English Language Arts standards reads:
“English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects“
This was a sleight of hand by the Standards creators, and why parents around the country are beginning to see such wordy math problems. All subjects will be enmeshed under Common Core standards, providing an easier framework to slip ideas and beliefs into all subjects.
Here is video of CC architect, David Coleman, talking about how he threatened to resign from writing the standards unless “teachers in history and social studies, and tech subjects bear the responsibility of bringing their kids to literacy.”
But, it is not about bringing English into all subjects, it is about bringing all subjects together so that states, who would never accept the anti-American history standards, would be getting those standards through the back door through the recommended curricula.
Watch from about the 6 min.-7.5 min. point.
I hope legislators will find a way to vet what has actually occurred.
Please make your voice heard. Call or write to your local and state leaders. Let them know that this loss of local control is NOT OKAY with you. Speak up or you will lose your window of opportunity to defend freedom and your children’s rights. Silence is acquiescence.
Here’s contact information: