Governor Gary Herbert recently introduced a robust process by which state education policy, including the controversial Common Core State Standards, will be carefully reviewed. Of great importance, the process includes the means by which
…parents, teachers, community members and other concerned citizens and organizations across the state have the opportunity to provide feedback on these standards. To give us your feedback, we’ve created a webpage, www.utah.gov/governor/standards, where anyone with a concern can review the current standards and give us their opinion. This can be either positive or negative feedback, but it needs to be specific. If there is a standard or grade level benchmark that you disagree with, I want to hear about it. This input will be shared with Dr. Kendell’s work group and will be invaluable, as the group completes its evaluation. This site is now open for comments and it will be open through the end of August. (emphasis added)
As has become his pattern, Gov. Herbert outlined principles that will guide the review process. Specifically, the state must:
- Maintain high academic standards in all subjects, not just math and English, and for all students.
- Monitor and limit the federal government’s role in education.
- Preserve state and local school district control of our education system, including curriculum, materials, testing and instructional practices.
Last week’s introduction of Utah’s review process comes at a time when an increasing number of states are carefully evaluating the Common Core in the context of their public-education policy.
- On July 14, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed legislation that repeals and replaces key sections of Missouri law relating to elementary and secondary education standards, including the Common Core, and calls for the adoption of new state academic standards.
- As reported by the Associated Press on July 16, “The Common Core curriculum standards that dictate what’s taught in grade school classrooms across much of the United States are on their way out in North Carolina. … [t]he North Carolina House approved a compromise bill … to rewrite the statewide curriculum to better tailor it for Tar Heel students. Gov. Pat McCrory said he will sign it. … A new standards advisory commission would be formed to make recommendations….”
- On July 17, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced: “Today, I call on the members of the State Legislature to pass a bill in early January to repeal Common Core and replace it with standards set by people in Wisconsin.”
- The July 18 Washington Post noted that several other states have dropped out of or have initiated efforts to review the Common Core State Standards. “Three states, Indiana, Oklahoma and … South Carolina, have already officially dropped out of Common Core. … Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is negotiating with his state board of education to replace Common Core with different, state-specific standards. Republican governors of Mississippi and Georgia have issued orders to review the standards, while legislators in at least four other states are considering legislation to review or repeal it.”
Utah parents, teachers and community members are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this window of opportunity to submit specific input via the www.utah.gov/governor/standards website.