Gov. Herbert: Common Core not “socialistic” program

 Utah Governor Gary Herbert said the Common Core is not a “socialistic program foisted upon us by the federal government.” He added that there seems to be some miscommunication and misunderstanding about the program the Utah State Board of Education adopted last year, which he supports and his Education Excellence Commission has endorsed. Recently, the Common Core has come under attack by some lawmakers, with one alleging the standards include “code-words” for socialism.

Herbert discussed the Common Core, a set of educational standards developed by the states, during an address to the members of the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah State Board of Regents at a joint meeting held today at Salt Lake Community College’s Taylorsville campus. The governor touched on the eight education priorities he has proposed funding this year. These include several board priorities, such as funding student growth, optional extended-day kindergarten,  the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program, and a new assessment system the USBE is implementing.

Herbert also urged the assembled board members to work with legislators to ensure the 7-to-10-percent cuts lawmakers are currently drafting don’t make it into the final budget proposal they’ll adopt in March. Instead, he wants to see public education relatively untouched, but with student growth funded for the first time since the economic downturn.

The board members also heard updates today on:

  • Prosperity 2020: a business-led initiative to improve education;
  • Higher Education’s implementation of Vision 2020, the governor’s Education Excellence Commission’s goal to increase the rate of Utahns who finish college or receive a trades certificate;
  • An update on several initiatives in Utah Public Education, including Promises to Keep, Common Core, a new ACT pilot program that starts in 8th grade, the results of a new task force that shows that more rigor and higher standards indeed benefit students, and the importance of having councelors in schools;
  • College and Career Readiness Statement, which outlines the strategic priorities to reach the goal of having 66 percent of Utahns to graduate college or receive a trade certificate by 2020.
  • Utah Data Alliance, a cooperative initiative tasked with designing, building and implementing a data system to provide meaningful research on student cohorts.
  • K-16 Alliance, a five-year-old program trying to streamline the transition from public education to higher education.
  • Common Core Standards, which are more rigorous standards for math and language arts that are being implemented over the next several years.

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6 comments to Gov. Herbert: Common Core not “socialistic” program

  • Kenneth Eddington

    The Common Core is a positive for Utah Schools. A huge amount of effort and money have been spent to implement this program. Students have been performing better and this program should not be discontinued because a small vocal group who generally doesn’t support public education erroneously believes it is a socialistic program.
    Ken Eddington

  • Delene Jaques

    To whom it may concern:

    The Common Core was created through the states for academic structure not a social structure. Many states found that need for having a common set of academic standards. There are many reasons for creating the common core, but as a mother with children that has moved an average of every four years since I’ve been married. I see the common core to have some immediate benefits for our mobile society.

    In our 21st century society, Americans are on the move. According the US Census Bureau, over 42 million Americans moved in the 1-year period between March 1992 and March 1993. This amounted to 16.8 percent of the population 1 year old and over. Most of these persons made local moves – 26 million moved from one residence to another within the same county. Nearly 8 million persons moved between counties within the same State and another nearly 7 million changed States. During that 1-year period, 1.3 million persons moved into the United States from abroad. We can only imagine what the increase of moves is now in our American society.

    If adults are moving, so are the children. Without a national system of standards like the common core, our children will continue to fall through the cracks. Before the common core, a 3rd grade student might live in California where multiplication is taught in 4th grade, however they move to Colorado the next year. In Colorado, multiplication is introduced and taught in 3rd grade. Oh, no! They just missed a major concept in math. How will they caught up? Now, with the new common core, when children moves almost all states will be working on the same concepts each year. Even if a child moves from California to South Carolina, they will be working on the same concepts in the core subjects relating to math and language arts. Amazing, they won’t miss any essential concepts.

    As a 6th grade language arts educator, the amount of significant and relevant free lesson plans and ideas on the internet is truly remarkable. If I need a lesson on revising for the writing process, I do a quick search on the internet for lesson, Power Points, and or learning videos. Instantly, I can find it with the help of teachers from around the United States. Plus, it is now relevant to the new common core instruction that I teach.

    As a parent and educator, I truly hope that the common core is much like the US Constitution. It will never be perfect, but I hope it can be changed and adjusted as research sees fit and as our societies needs change.


    Delene J Jaques

    • Michelle Stallings

      Just wondering why you are using data from two decades ago (and from the 20th century- not the 21st century.) Also, your 16.8% figure seems to include moves within states as well as moves between states. Since states have core state standards, moves within states are irrelevant since no matter where you move within a state, your child will be taught the same standards. If you are making a case for common national standards, you have to look at mobility between states. Based on 2010 census numbers, only 2.2% of the population moved between states during a one year period. The question then becomes: Should we invest our limited education funds into common national standards in order to cater to 2% of the population when we have more pressing funding concerns such as overcrowded classrooms? With student growth underfunded, should funding technology for Common Core assessments really be the State School Board’s number one funding priority? Where are the studies to support the claims that common standards, common assessments, common data bases will actually improve student achievement? One study I came across found that common national standards will have little (if any) impact on student achievement. It really is too bad that the legislation requiring a cost evaluation be done on Common Core didn’t pass. As a taxpayer, I would like to see our tax dollars be used to actually raise the quality of education for all students here in Utah- something common national standards will not do.

      • Delene J Jaques

        I used government information, but here is more private and newer government sources for information on amount of people moving.

        In 2006, almost 50 million people, or 16.2% of Americans, had changed residences in the previous year. Most of the draws for out-of-state movers are in the West. Destinations included Nevada — the state with the fastest-growing population throughout much of this decade — Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona and Oregon.

        In 2010, 69.3 percent of all movers stayed within the same county, 16.7
        percent moved to a different county in the same state, 11.5 percent moved to a different state, and 2.5 percent moved from abroad to the U.S.

        Just look at the information related to where people are born and where they are currently living. The Western United States has about 78 percent of children ages 5-17 living in the same state they they were born in. This means that at least 22% moved to a different state at some point in their lifetime. (Some moved before school age.)

        I am looking at the percentage of people that currently live in a state and were born in the same state. I think your statistics are from the percentagof people who moved in just one year’s time. I’m looking at the overall picture.

        Also in my 6th classes just last year, I had about 20% of the students who were not with me the entire year, they either moved in or out of the area.

        It should also be noted that not all states had a common core. When we lived in New Mexico, each school district had their own standards. There curriculum varied from school district to school district. If a child moved from one county to another, it was like moving from state to state.

        The common core will improve standards because we will now be able to effectively and fairly compare states at each grade level. It was impossible to compare before when each state had their own system of tests and curriculum. We will finally know where we stand.

  • Michelle Stallings

    “The fight for quality education is about so much more than education. It’s a fight for social justice.”
    -Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, 2009.

    I guess Arne is part of that small vocal group.

  • Jody Kadel

    I know the part of the draw of Common Core is the moving issue. However, as a former public school teacher, I know that the issue of portability is never going to be fully addressed unless there is a set calendar for every school across the country (heaven help us if that happens). Using the standards as a base, teachers can teach things in whatever order they feel addresses the needs of the students in the class each year. I’ve had students move from my school to a school about 5 miles away and, in the new school, repeat something they’ve already had with me while missing something that was already taught at their new school but I hadn’t covered yet. In addition, Utah is one of only a couple of states that is doing something different with the Math Core, so the issue of student mobility doesn’t hold much water if you’re moving to or from Utah.

    It is interesting that the first comment states that our students are doing better under Common Core since it hasn’t been fully implemented through the testing phase. From what I’ve seen while working in the schools (now as a substitute teacher), I see more kids falling behind and struggling because of the way Common Core is set up, especially in math. Our math standards before were good and it’s a shame that they’ve been replaced with something that is not rated any better (by the Fordham Institute).

    While I know there are teachers that support Common Core, the ones I’ve heard about like what they’re teaching but haven’t necessarily looked at the whole thing from K-12. ALL the teachers I’ve personally talked to do not support Common Core but don’t dare speak up because they are afraid for their jobs. So, the small vocal group might not be so small if people weren’t afraid to speak out.