Candidates take shots at Common Core

Common Core took a hit Monday from Republicans and Democrats running to represent Mesa County in the state Legislature.

The candidates for state House districts 54 and 55, as well for state Senate District 7 and the open seat on the Mesa County Commission, made pitches to roughly 100 members of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce on Monday at the DoubleTree Hotel.

Democrat Brad Webb and Republican Yeulin Willett, who are vying to represent House District 54, both took shots at the program, which is intended to provide a set of goals for education nationwide, but which has stirred criticism on several levels.

It’s unnecessarily cumbersome and complicated, said Webb, who said that with the advantage of a finance degree, he tried to tackle a Common Core math problem and “I couldn’t do it.”

Common Core “rewrites history,” Willett said.

HD 54 takes in all of parts of Delta County and all of Mesa County except the city of Grand Junction.

Chris Kennedy, the Democrat running for HD 55, said he likes one aspect — “An A in Colorado should be the same as an A in Michigan” — but that Common Core and associated testing takes away time that could be better spent in class.

Dan Thurlow, the Republican in the race for HD 55, which generally shares a boundary with Grand Junction, said education needs a “change of paradigms” and called for school uniforms and more hours in class as a way of making better use of class time.

Claudette Konola and Ray Scott, the Democrat and Republican respectively seeking the Senate District 7 post, disagreed on their approach to government.

Scott is “focused on one industry and one industry only,” referring to oil and gas, Konola said.

If she is in the Senate, “Families will be treated in the Legislature as well as our businesses are,” Konola said.

A robust energy industry, said Scott, would deal with many of the financial problems that beset the state.

Scott joked about his antagonistic relationship with Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, on the issue of development of energy on the Western Slope.

“The governor and I are great friends and I know how to get to his soft spot,” Scott said to laughter.

Democrat Mark Williams and Republican Scott McInnis, the candidates for the county commission, said they represented familiarity and reliability.

He grew up in the Grand Valley and has been involved in urban and rural issues, Williams said.

“I’m a worker,” who will stress hope, vitality and allegiance, Williams said.

McInnis is a known quantity who represented the region in Congress and who now works with the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado.

“You will have a zero learning curve with me,” McInnis said.


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The first problem is politicians taking shots at education!  They created part of the problem way back when no child left behind became the supposed answer.  Now, ill-informed politicians believe it is the common core standards that are at issue!  Typical response from politicians who believe there has been no reform over the last 20 years.  It is all about the over abundance of testing and the ridiculous mandates for accountability for teachers via that testing that has created the misgivings of education!

If you are a politician running for office at least do so e research rather than spout out your ignorance on the subject!

While Gary Harmon’s report (“Candidates take shots at Common Core”) aptly captures the tenor of yesterday’s Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s candidate forum –  eight candidates exchanged comments and addressed questions for nearly two hours—Gary’s editor apparently abbreviated his chronicle.

Thus, for example, while both Brad Webb and Yeulin Willett were critical of Common Core, Webb acknowledged the need for credible national standards while Willett falsely accused Common Core of “rewriting history” and insisted that any “core curriculum” should be determined by the states (thus advocating an “uncommon core” with perhaps 50 versions of history) – and was apparently unaware that Republican governors (states) initiated the push for a national Common Core in the first place.

Similarly, while Chris Kennedy aptly distinguished the imperative to establish national standards from dubious over-reliance on standardized testing, Dan Thurlow made only vague references to “changing the paradigm”.

Before the forum, the Chamber recognized thirteen of its members for their job creation and economic contribution to the Grand Valley in the last quarter, only one of which—HRL Compliance Solutions, Inc. (“HCSI”) – is involved with the oil/gas industry (consulting on compliance with environmental regulations).

Thus, ironically, HCSI’s continuing expansion disproves the tired “conservative” claims that “government can’t create jobs” and “government regulations are job killers”.  Rather, because oil activity is booming elsewhere, Colorado’s rigorous regulations (negotiated with the industry) have actually created jobs at HCSI in Mesa County, even though local natural gas development remains depressed due to low demand.

Similarly, albeit unreported in the Sentinel, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (built on the wealth created by Standard Oil) is divesting all its investments in fossil fuels – because “business as usual is not the business of the future”.  Ray Scott represents Republican “business as usual”; Claudette Konola campaigns for a more diversified “future”.

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