Lt. Gov. Bell on Common Core

Someone just sent me a link to Lt. Governor Bell’s blog post on the Common Core standards. Here is a link to it with my letter to the Lt. Governor which I sent off.

Dear Lt. Governor Bell,

Having read your blog post on Common Core (, I have a few questions for you.

1) If states joined this initiative without any strings attached, why are some states being forced by the federal government onto the standards if they want a waiver for NCLB and AYP requirements? Why did the federal government offer RTTT incentives to states that signed on? That doesn’t make any sense if you’re right. (see

2) How can you say Utah can adapt the standards to fit our needs and values? We are not allowed to change any of the standards except to add up to 15% more to them. They are not to be changed so they are not Utah standards. By virtue of being mostly nationwide, they are de facto national standards. (

3) You’re correct the federal government didn’t develop the CCSS, but why are we not worried about the assessments and curriculum efforts they are funding to go along with the CCSS? Why are we not worried about the national database they have developed to track over 40 factors on children in such important ways as tooth decay, blood type, religious consideration, and what time they get on the bus in the mornings?

4) Were you aware that the federal government is rewriting federal education laws to remove state and local education rights and to put the federal government over education? Do you not see this directly related to their effort to get all states on the Common Core standards?


Oak Norton

3 Responses to “Lt. Gov. Bell on Common Core”

  • Anonymous:

    Oak, you would have to admit that the new Common Core standards are more rigorous than the current state standards. That is especially true of mathematics, language arts, and science.  That is a good thing.  I can’t believe you are arguing for mediocrity just because of a re-incarnated JBS paranoia of all things Federal.  

    I do wish that the federal government would get out of the education business.  I wish the state government would get out of it as well.  It should be under local control, but you have to admit that it is a quite an improvement that the states got together and created a set of standards that the Federal Government adopted rather than having a set of standards that the Federal Government created that the states would have to adopt.  Yes, the Feds have been trying to use those Common Core standards to influence the behavior of the states, but again, at least they aren’t Federal standards.  

  • I have posted elsewhere that the new CCSS math standards are good standards. They are on par with the Utah standards they are replacing. We went through a lot a few years ago to get Utah to raise math standards from pitiful levels to something that was pretty good. Our old standards were rated a D by Fordham Foundation and a C+ from the US Chamber of Commerce. The new standards we got were rated an A- by Fordham and they’ve rated the new CCSS an A- also. We’re going to spend millions of dollars to make a switch from one set of standards to another that is arguably at the same level.

    What’s the difference between national standards created by the states and national standards created by the federal DOE? If the feds put out these same exact standards would more people like you be griping about it? There is no difference. The Feds bribed and coerced states onto CCSS and they’re wrapping up the package to completely take over education with assessments, curriculum, database tracking, and rewriting the laws. If it looks like a duck, it is a duck.

  • Anonymous:

    I wonder if Finland, Japan, South Korea, China, and other high achieving countries (educationally) would do better on their test scores and national rankings if they reformed their education system to allow local control over schools and reject any national or conformity education standards?