Retired Utah Judge Goes After Common Core in Op-Ed

From the Deseret News:

In 2010, Utah and other states rushed to join the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia, or SBAC, for two reasons. First, to escape the strictures imposed on educators and students by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Second, to receive federal money the Obama administration promised to disburse from stimulus funding. President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan then offered “waivers” from No Child Left Behind with grants as incentives for states to develop their own “Common Core Education Standards.”

However, this was a bait and switch program because the waivers pushed states into “Federal Common Core Education Standards” regarding testing and assessments. Some states, including Utah, are now taking various measures to opt out or step away from the federal standards.

Utah has made two moves to pull away. First, Utah enacted SB287 at the end of the 2012 session attempting to limit our participation. Second, our State Board of Education has placed on its August action agenda a recommendation to change our SBAC status from governing to advisory member.

To counter these moves by states, Duncan is now dealing directly with local school districts to adopt the federal standards. Because both federal and state governments have adopted “Common Core” as the name for their respective standards, their disparate “core” education programs have become as “ships passing in the night.” For example, on May 23 a Utah school district foundation announced receipt of a federal grant for its “Fully Integrated Common Core Project.” It proudly reported, “The standards have been informed by the best available evidence and the highest state standards across the country and the globe. … States can choose whether to adopt them ?— the Utah Department of Education adopted them.” Obviously, confusion reigns regarding who is really in charge. Further, those destined to suffer most are students and parents.

Read the whole piece here.