A large crowd that included parents, teachers, legislators and others attended a local forum Monday night where the pros and cons of Utah’s Common Core education standards were discussed in a civil manner.
The forum was moderated by KVNU’s For the People co-host Jason Williams and included Tami Pyfer and Dave Thomas, chairperson and vice chair of the State Board of Education.
Allison Williams, a concerned parent, and Wendy Hart, a member of the Alpine School District Board, were on the other side.
After the forum, Amanda Willis said that she is no fan of the state’s Common Core standards and she did not change her mind after the debate Monday night. Willis said her three children all take their classes on-line and it is working out very well. She does, however, have a concern about how Common Core might affect her home-schooled children.
“I’m worried that the ACT tests are going to change to adapt to Common Core,” Willis said. “And if your kids don’t have the Common Core are they going to be able to pass the ACTs? That’s a concern for me.”
Proponents of the standards emphasized Monday that Common Core standards have nothing to do with curriculum, but instead they are about expectations.
A man who only wished to be identified as Mark called the forum “incredible.” Mark added, however, that he is still not sure what the opponents want.
“I don’t understand what solution there was,” Mark said. “I didn’t feel like they were offering a solution to the problem, just grievances about how we got here.
Another concern he listed was about the national implications of going another route.
“The other fear I have is when my kids apply to college, if Utah goes completely on (its) own, all of the colleges are going to hold people to their standards,” Mark explained. “If Utah’s (are) different, how are our kids going to get accepted?”
A woman who wished to be identified only as Rebecca described the forum as “overwhelming.” She said her family moved here four-and-a-half years ago.
“When we came we were really disappointed because our children were doing things they had done a year or two before in the schools in Virginia,” she explained. “So I can see some really great things about Common Core.
“But listening tonight I could also see some concerns about where it could go in the future and opportunity for the federal government to come in and seize control. I can see where it’s very concerning for some people but I can also see great things about it.”
She said she feels it would have been a lot better if there had been a national standard when her family moved here.