Well, this is amusing. Utah Governor Gary Herbert now calls for an end to Common Core and SAGE (the test Utah uses after leaving Smarter Balanced).
Deseret News reports:
In a letter to the Utah State Board of Education, Herbert noted the ongoing controversy of Utah’s 2010 adoption of the Common Core, a set of standards developed by a national education consortium that raised the bar for student performance in math and English.
He asked the board to adopt “uniquely Utah standards,” while maintaining high academic expectations for students, keeping the federal government out of Utah education decisions, and preserving local control.
“We have learned what works and what does not,” Herbert’s letter states. “I believe it is an appropriate time to fix those areas that have not worked and improve on those that do.”
Herbert has been a road block to Common Core’s repeal in the past, has been generally tone deaf on the subject to his constituents and now is…. ding, ding, ding… running for reelection!
His challenger, Jonathan Johnson, is staunchly ant-Common Core. Herbert also experienced a slap down at the Utah Republican State Convention when they voted to force a primary. He also sent this letter to the Utah State Board of Education after Johnson called for an end to Common Core that same day.
Oak Norton of Utahns Against Common Core shares my skepticism and points out a salient fact.
With Jonathan Johnson defeating Governor Herbert at the GOP convention 55%-45%, largely influenced by Common Core issues, the Governor no doubt had an awakening. I have never doubted the Governor’s intentions to provide a quality education to Utah children, but I still find this move politically opportunistic to try and salvage his chances of being re-elected. Of course, the Governor can make this call knowing he has no authority to actually carry it out. That belongs to the state board…
Read the letter for yourself below:
David Crandall, the chair of the Utah State Board of Education, released the following statement in response to Governor Herbert’s letter:
The Utah State Board of Education is cognizant of the issues surrounding the 2010 adoption and implementation of new mathematics and English language arts standards. We appreciate the governor’s perspective on this issue and his continued support of the State Board.
No set of standards is perfect, and we always look for ways to improve upon them. For example, the Board recently approved an overhaul of more than 50 percent of the K-6 mathematics standards. As has been our practice, we anticipate reexamining all academic standards at certain intervals with the input of professionals and community members throughout the state. As we look at future development and adoption of standards, we intend to maintain a clear separation between standards and curriculum.
We affirm and agree with maintaining high-quality standards and in keeping instruction and curriculum at local levels, as has historically been the case. As a Board, we have worked to maintain Utah’s autonomy from the federal government and will continue to do so.
We appreciate the governor’s willingness to consider eliminating SAGE from high school and look forward to working with legislators during a special session.