From: Emina Alibegovic
To: Emina Alibegovic,
Subject: HB 342
Date: Tue Mar 04 17:33:39 MST 2014
Dear Representatives: 

To make decisions about medical protocols, would we call in a team of parents and citizens, or would we be better off with a team of medical experts?  I am in favor of Common Core Standards, but more importantly, I'm in favor of leaving education experts to making decisions regarding curriculum for our students in Utah.  HB 342 undermines the State Board of Education and provides zero funding for creating an entirely new infrastructure for educational curriculum decision making.  It is irresponsible legislation and I hope as our representatives you will stand up in opposition.  

As a professor of mathematics, I can tell you that the content of the Utah Mathematics Core Standards is of high quality. There is absolutely no reason to change those standards. Experts in education and mathematics as well as parents and the public have been involved throughout the creation of those standards and they were open to public comment. The great hope is that having these agreed set of standards across states, those committed to educational improvement can stop fighting pointless fights over the standards and start placing more emphasis on working with teachers to improve our kids academic achievement. 

There is an economic side to this story as well.  We need standards to design tests, we test our students to see what they are learning, based on the student test results we can adjust our instruction and curriculum as needed to better serve our kids.  Designing and validating tests is enormously costly.  This is another reason why having common standards is beneficial for all, but specifically for Utah.  States can save money by working with each other and put that money where we need it more: supporting our children and our teachers as they work together on building the future for our kids. We are one of the states with lowest per pupil spending. Let's use our resources wisely! And let's support educators to make good research based improvements.  

HB 342 is an atrocity which would not only be a major blow to the public school system in Utah, but it would be horrifically costly to an overburdened system and put critical education decisions in the hands of amateurs and political forces. I hope you will not allow that. 

Emina Alibegovic
Research Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics
University of Utah