A Letter Regarding the Core Standards

Dear PTA friends!

When I became the Utah PTA Education Commissioner, I began to learn a lot about the work of the State Office of Education and how their work impacts local schools. I have been particularly interested in the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards. When I heard about them, my first response was, "wait -- is this coming from the federal government? That isn't right. That isn't the role of the federal government!"

Once I learned just where Common Core State Standards have come from, and what they will mean to students in Utah, I became a strong supporter of the standards!

I am concerned now at the growing number of people who jumped to the same first conclusion that I did but instead of studying it out, they are spreading anxiety and misinformation about the standards. I have seen a lot of emails coming from individuals and groups with a battle cry to disassociate with the Common Core Initiative.

I have decided I need to be as active in getting factual information out as they are at circulating misinformation. If these emails have made their way to your inbox, maybe I can answer the questions they are raising. Or, if you haven't seen them yet, maybe I can immunize you from the fear and concerns. The problem is, they can throw out wild, disturbing claims in just a few words. To combat all of them takes a 3-page essay (at least for the claims I have seen thus far) and who wants to sit down and read all that?!

So here is my solution:  I will tell you that the standards Utah public schools have adopted, that are based on Common Core State Standards, are good and will benefit our kids.  Then, if you want to read the details that address the claims of the fear-mongers, I have attached the 3-page essay (plus a summary handout).  I hope you'll want to read it because then if you meet others who are concerned about the standards, you can tell them what you learned from me -- or pass the information I'm providing on to them.

If you have heard things that this doesn't cover, please let me know.  Maybe I need to revise the essay; maybe it needs to be 4 pages long!

I would appreciate it if you helped me to send out this information. No flashing, colorful, 40-point-size fonts. Just the truth. Boring, maybe. But I hope it saves you and your friends some anxiety.

Call me, or email (deon@utahpta.org) if you have questions.

Deon Turley