From: Christel S
To: Kraig Powell, vantassellforsenate, David Hinkins, DEBBIE JONES, ANN HORNER, BLAIK BAIRD, Terry Shoemaker, JAMES JUDD, shad.sorenson, shad.sorensen,
Subject: Question of the Day: Is the Utah State School Board's Promotion of Common Core's Gold Rush Academic Dishonesty --or Mere Incompetence?
Date: Mon Jan 13 05:49:33 MST 2014

To: Dixie Allen <>
Cc: Board Education <>, Martell Menlove <>

Dear Dixie,
My purpose in sharing the article was to suggest that Utah's State School Board, like so many boards and legislators nationwide, might consider halting or at least pausing Common Core as many other places are doing or are seriously considering doing, given the amount of pushback that continues on this subject. 
I am fully aware that Utah adopted Common Core!
Common Core is, frankly, evil posing as good.  For the state school board to continue to deny this is either evidence of incompetence or it's endorsement of these evils. 
I do not use the word "evil" casually.  Common Core is evil because it is based on academic dishonestesty-- since it cannot back up its lies of "being an improvement" since it's totally experimental and untested. Similarly, it cannot back up its lie of being "internationally benchmarked" because it's not internationally benchmarked
It cannot back up its lie of being unattached to the federal government since it is tied like an umbilical cord to the Department of Education; the Dept. of Ed is officially partnered with the very group that created it (CCSSO) both in the standards and in common data technologies. The Department of Ed has contracts that mandate micromanagement of Common Core testing.  There is much more --all documented online and you can prove or disprove it if you are honest enough to try.
And why should we-- why should you, specifically, fight federal intrusion into education? 
I am a teacher.  Common Core diminishes teachers' autonomy --and students' well-being-- through federally supervised testing  that drives curriculum (or will, by next year when testing really kicks in)  and by the federally funded SLDS data mining that amounts to "unreasonable search as seizure" of private effects.
While there are some harmless or even some good things in the standards themselves at the elementary school level perhaps, the standards do diminish classic literature especially for high schoolers, and they marginalize narrative writing, and dumb down high school math --as has been admitted even by its creators.  (Click here to see this very short video link of this math-dumbing, out loud admission by Jason Zimba). 
Even if this all were not true-- if somehow standards did not diminish classic literature, marginalize narrative writing, and dumb down high school math, they are still AN ATROCITY, Dixie, from which you should be protecting the children of Utah.  And the teachers of Utah. 
Because they suffocate the spirit of liberty and independence. 


If the Common Core Initiative was in harmony with the Constitution, it would be amendable by those governed by it. 

Dixie, if this were legitimate, you and I would have a voice. But we do not. 

Neither you as a state school board member, nor I as a Utah credentialed teacher, have diddly squat to say over what gets tested and taught in our math and English classrooms in Utah-- because Common Core is only amendable by the NGA/CCSSO, according to their own words on their own creepy website.

Read it, for heaven's sake!  It states: “The Standards are intended to be a living work: as new and
better evidence emerges, the Standards will be revised.” Revised by whom

Not you and not me.

Again, from the official Common Core site: (their caps, not mine) “ANY USE OF THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS OTHER THAN AS AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS LICENSE OR COPYRIGHT LAW IS PROHIBITED. ANY PERSON WHO EXERCISES ANY RIGHTS TO THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS THEREBY ACCEPTS AND AGREES TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS… NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made.

2. IT LACKS CHECKS AND BALANCES. The use of checks and balances was designed to make it difficult for a minority of people to control the government and to restrain the government itself. If the Common Core Initiative– a nationalized system of standards, aligned tests, data collection and teacher accountability measures promoted federally– if this initiative were in harmony with the Constitution, it would not be held in the power of a minority of the people (of the NGA/CCSSO and of the Dept. of Ed which is partnered with CCSSO). It would have been vetted prior to implementation by the proper means outlined in the Constitution– but it wasn’t.  As Alyson Williams pointed out, There is no such thing in the U.S. Constitution as a council of governors… Governors working together to jointly address issues and create rules that affect the whole nation is not a legitimate alternative to Congress, our national representative body.”

3. IT LACKS AUTHORITY. If the Common Core Initiative was in harmony with the Constitution, it would have been born legitimately: but its only “authority” is the unprecedented assigning of money to the discretion of the Education Secretary without proper congressional oversight. From that Stimulus money came the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the Race to the Top grant programs that enabled the Department of Ed to get away with setting up their own, experimental rules for us to follow in exchange for the money – rules that normally would be determined by the States alone.

4. IT ALTERS THE LIMITS OF FEDERAL POWER. If the Common Core Initiative was in harmony with the Constitution, it would not be openly admitted even by its most notorious proponent, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, to alter the traditionally limited role of the federal government. Look:

Duncan said, in his 2010 “Vision of Education Reform” speech: “Our vision of reform takes account of the fact that, in several respects, the governance of education in the United States is unusual. Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy… The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more… the Recovery Act created additional competitive funding like the high-visibility $4.35 billion Race to the Top program and the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund… America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform… In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments… Virtually everyone thought the president was dreaming. But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it.”   Secretary Duncan is gloating over his ability to control us.  Yet the honorable Utah State School Board continues to promote the notion that we are free under Common Core.  It's a lie.

Common Core governance is a slap in the face to the work of the Founding Fathers.

Yes, we should rightly be shuddering at the math disasters and the high-stakes tests, should be gasping at the lack of any cost analysis to taxpayers, and at the privacy-robbing aspects of the Common Core agenda. But these arguments are secondary to the hairiest of the reform devils, the destruction of individual liberty.

Dixie, my dear representative!  Please, please stand up to these people.  Stop swallowing the hogwash.  Stop allowing your peers on the board to spread the propaganda.  It is not based in truth.


Christel Swasey

Heber Utah


On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 9:17 AM, <> wrote:

I hope that given the time you have spent the last couple of years discussing this issue, that you would understand that Utah has already adopted and put in place the Common Core Standard in Mathematics and English/Language Arts. We have added some standards and will contiue to update the Standards as needed - but we have already adopted and have wonderful teachers working on Curriculum and lesson design to effectively teach the Core.

If you have specific concerns with specific standards - please let me know.

Dixie Allen
Region 12
Utah State Board of Education
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

From: Christel S <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2014 22:36:27 -0700
To: Dixie Allen<>
Subject: Fwd: NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says case for delaying Common Core 'has been made'

Hoping the Utah State School Board will similarly agree and will also decide to delay or halt implementation of Common Core until it's proven to be beneficial, and constitutional. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Williamson Evers <>
Date: Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 7:13 PM
Subject: NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says case for delaying Common Core 'has been made'
To: Williamson Evers <>

New York Assembly Speaker says case for delaying Common Core ‘has been made’

January 9, 2014

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Ben VeldermanBen Velderman

Ben is a communications specialist for EAG and joined in 2010. He is a former member of the Michigan Education Association.

ALBANY, N.Y. – The debate over the new Common Core learning standards is intensifying in New York.

big pause buttonOn Monday, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, weighed in on the controversy by declaring, “I think the case has been made, if nothing else, for a delay and a re-evaluation of the implementation of Common Core,” according to

Silver said Common Core was imposed on schools and families without public support and before teachers were given proper training in the new ways of education.

Silver added that he’s waiting to see what “remedial actions” the New York State Board of Regents comes up with before he considers a legislative remedy, reports. reports that Silver’s remarks came as a group of New York education professionals – including superintendents, board of education members, principals and teachers – sent letters to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Board of Regents, and Education Commissioner John King, asking state officials to hit the brakes on Common Core’s implementation.

The state Board of Regents has charged a subcommittee with identifying ways the state can address the growing concerns of teachers, administrators and parents who say the transition to the new math and English learning standards – which “bleed” into most other subject areas – is happening too fast and is wreaking too much havoc on schools.

Common Core critics are especially troubled that standardized tests are being aligned to the new standards before schools have a chance to fully understand and implement them. New York students took the new tests last spring, and many saw their test scores plummet.

Falling test scores worry New York teachers, who will soon see part of their annual job reviews linked to how well their students perform on the Common Core-aligned tests. Teachers and administrators are requesting that the current school year and the next one be considered “transition years” before the test scores count toward those evaluations.

The low test scores also bother a lot of parents – a group that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan infamously mocked as “white suburban moms”  who are suddenly realizing “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

But plummeting test scores are only part of the Common Core controversy. A growing number of parents and taxpayers are also angry that students’ personal and sensitive information is going to be aggregated onto a state database and made available to for-profit K-12 technology companies, which will use the student data to design learning software.

State Sen. John Flanagan, a Republican, has expressed serious concerns about the data-collecting plan and recently suggested the state could create its own version of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. That would give parents considerable control over who has access to their child’s personal information.

Perhaps in response to the mounting pressure from state lawmakers, the Board of Regents subcommittee has been given a “small timeline” to come up with solutions by board Chancellor Merryl Tisch.

It’s not all good news for Common Core critics, however. Most state officials still support the new learning standards; their opposition only involves how quickly and chaotically the new standards have been forced upon school districts.

A one- or two-year delay won’t address critics’ larger concerns, namely that the new learning standards are designed to create a generation of workers – not thinkers – and will ultimately provide the federal government a back-door through which bureaucrats can control what gets taught in the nation’s K-12 schools.