Utah Senate Committee Approves Common Core Measures

Utah's Senate Education Committee has voted in favor of two new measures that urge the state school board to "continually monitor the board's implementation" of the new Common Core standards.

The measure makes it clear that lawmakers share state school board concerns over the new national standards.

SB287, a bill sponsored by Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, says the "state may exit any agreement, contract, memorandum of understanding, or consortium that cedes control of Utah's core curriculum standards to any other entity," writes Lisa Schencker at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Gov. Gary Herbert had requested lawmakers to ensure legislation passes that keeps control over the standards at state level.

Herbert said:

"There are concerns that somehow this is going to morph into a ‘No Child Left Behind' approach where the federal government is going to come in and try to take it over.

"To that end I've asked the Legislature in order to kind of resolve the tension to come up with some legislation and resolution to reinforce that this is a state driven approach, that this is voluntary if we get into it, voluntary if we get out of it."

Proponents of Common Core say the standards are more rigorous than Utah's current measures. However, critics say the state will lose local control over its classrooms.

Pro-Common Core State Superintendent Larry Shumway said the state board would never allow local school control be passed onto others.

He also said the board went through a long, careful process in adopting the standards, soliciting feedback from parents and educators — contrary to the resolution's claim that citizens and elected officials were shut out of the adoption process, writes Schencker.

"Shumway noted that the standards were adopted after lawmakers complained several years ago that Utah needed higher standards."

However, Matthew Piccolo of the Sutherland Institute said:

"Whether the standards themselves are the best standards for Utah is highly debatable, but I think we would be naive to think we could adopt these standards and they won't be linked to a national curriculum."

The proposal is set go to the Senate floor for vote.

03 7, 2012
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