Utah State Office of Education explains “Common Core”

Utah State Office of Education explains “Common Core”

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Although many Utah students are taking their summer break, education is a hot-button topic right now. The controversy stems from a classroom mandate called “Common Core.” Many Utahns aren't happy with it, but ABC4 Utah learning many may actually support it.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Although many Utah students are taking their summer break, education is a hot-button topic right now. The controversy stems from a classroom mandate called “Common Core.” Many Utahns aren't happy with it, but ABC4 Utah learning many may actually support it.

Right now many Utah parents and teachers have strong opinions about the education mandate called "Common Core."

"It's a necessary upgrade," said Steven Harper, English Teacher at Olympus Jr. High School.

"It's an educational disaster," said Christel Swasey, parent against Common Core.

It's a new higher set of standards for math and english created by 48 states, Utah among them. If you're one of the hundreds who attended a meeting Wednesday night with lawmakers at the state capitol, you might think a majority of people oppose it. But according to the Utah State Office of Education, that's not true.

"We've got 15,000 teachers we've been working with over the last three summers training on these standards and the overwhelming feedback from the teachers is positive," said Mark Peterson, Utah State Office of Education Public Relations Director.

Peterson tells Reporter Brian Carlson opponents of Common Core don't understand the standards.

"A lot of it gets confused with things Common Core isn't," said Peterson.

For example, some opponents believe Common Core takes control of curriculum away from local schools. Peterson showed Carlson the standards and said schools and school districts are still very much involved.

"What text you're going to be reading, what novel you're going to be reading in 10th grade, what text book you're going to take for 4th grade math, those are all decisions made by local school boards and charter schools," said Peterson.

And regardless of where you stand on Common Core, many agree Utah needs education reform.

"This really grew out of concern that we're falling behind our international peers in education, and particularly in Utah we're not having students college and career ready," he said.

Testing based on Common Core will begin in the 2013- 2014 school year.

ABC4 Utah wants to know what you think of Common Core. We've posted this story on our ABC4 Utah Facebook page. Log on and join the conversation.

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