New report: Common Core not best for Utah children

Should Utah’s education standards, or learning goals, be crafted to meet the needs of children, or the desires of adults like administrators and teachers?

In a new report, “Common Core: Is It Best for Utah Children?” Sutherland answers this question by examining Common Core standards the state school board has adopted. Having standards and goals in public education is a good thing, but the standardized goals of Common Core do not best fit children’s needs.

For instance, Common Core standards require every child in Utah public schools to follow the same path and pace of learning, regardless of each child’s unique needs and abilities. This might make it easier for administrators to manage the system or for teachers to make lesson plans, but it also means thousands of children might be stigmatized as “stupid” simply because they do not fit the standardized mold of Common Core.

For these and other reasons, Sutherland encourages Utah to change course by exiting agreements it has made related to Common Core and, instead, develop its own standards and assessments that are best for Utah children. 

According to the report, Utah education standards should adhere to the following three principles:

  1. Utah standards should be broad in substance and application in order to preserve a personalized learning environment for each individual student
  2. Utah standards should be the best possible
  3. Utah standards should be independent, with the ability to be changed at will

Based on the evidence, we have determined that Utah’s participation in Common Core and related agreements violates all three principles; namely, Utah’s new standards are (1) overly prescriptive, (2) inferior to other similar sets of standards, and (3) not truly independent. The main result will be a more standardized education system that harms children and learning.

We recommend that Utah avoid standardization wherever possible and, instead of continuing with Common Core, create its own standards and assessments that abide by the principles we have outlined. We all want the best for children in Utah, and parting ways with Common Core would be a step in the right direction.

You can read the executive summary and full report here:

Executive summary
Full report