As more governors enact legislation to remove their states from the controversial Common Core standards, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said Thursday he will ask his state’s attorney general to reexamine Utah’s adoption of them in 2010, including any federal entanglements that may have been involved.
Herbert also plans to gather a group of Utah experts to review the Common Core standards from a higher education perspective, says the Salt Lake Tribune.
The governor said Thursday morning that he has heard both positive and negative comments about the Common Core. His office has created a website to collect comments from the public about specific standards.
Herbert said both sides of the Common Core debate are “talking past one another using different terms to describe shared frustrations” and that it was time to do something about it.
The governor added that Utah parents, educators, and school board members “should determine what is taught and how it is taught.”
“I state unequivocally today that we will not cede that responsibility to anyone else,” he said. “We as a state need to resolve these contentious matters.”
In February, Utah U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) (R) co-sponsored a resolution that strongly denounced the Obama administration’s decision to entice states into adopting the nationalized standards by offering Race to the Top (RttT) stimulus funding and waivers from federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) restrictions.
“Common Core has become polluted with federal guidelines and mandates that interfere with the ability of parents, teachers and principals to deliver the education our children deserve,” said Lee. “Rather than increasing coercion, we should be demanding that further interference by the U.S. Department of Education with respect to state decisions on academic content standards be eliminated.”
During a recent meeting of the National Governors Association in Nashville, the Common Core standards were referred to as politically “radioactive.” In this week alone, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) of Missouri signed legislation to replace the nationalized standards, and Gov. Pat McCrory (R) of North Carolina said he will sign similar legislation.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is also now calling upon his state legislature to repeal Common Core, and Gov. Chris Christie (R) of New Jersey issued an executive order to examine the testing associated with the Common Core, though his support of the standards has drawn the ire of grassroots parent groups.
Oklahoma and South Carolina have already abandoned the Common Core standards, and other states, such as Indiana, have “repealed” them, but then replaced them with standards that are remarkably like the Common Core.
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has been battling his state’s superintendent and state school board president – who had threatened to sue the governor – over his decision to remove Louisiana from the PARCC Common Core test consortium.
At least 34 states now have had some form of legislation raised against the standards themselves, the aligned testing, or the associated student data collection.
The two multi-state test consortia funded by the U.S. Department of Education – Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) – that are developing assessments based on the Common Core standards have dwindled significantly in their membership. PARCC is down possibly to nine states, and SBAC now has fewer than 20.