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.