Monday, October 1, 2012

Utah's Common Core

I don't mind having access to a national grassroots standard, as long as we have the flexibility to amend/modify/add/delete anything to make it better.

Math teachers I have talked to believe the standard will do 2 things, help ACT scores rise and decrease the number of students taking remedial math when they reach college.

Many do not like the no text books and wants other options.

There are those that would have taken 8th grade Algebra that would take Calculus their senior year that should not have to waste their 8th grade and could move faster and those that are not understanding the concepts, and may not understand, that have traditionally been taught by rote.

The standard, a is a one size fits all approach, which will only work with the middle students.

The race to the top funding competition provided little time for the states to adopt common core, so almost no legislatures were involved in the adoption nationally. With the National Governors Association behind it, I am not surprised it was signed in the approx. 2 months the states were given initially. Federal Funds are the only enforcement tool, and we haven't got any of them over this yet.

I believe it was Governor Huntsman in 2009 who signed up for this direction along with the state school board who was acting constitutionally: "The general control and supervision of the public education system shall be vested in a State Board of Education. ", were within their duties. Saying the Feds are outside their constitutional powers is one thing, which I agree with, but saying the state school board was outside theirs is an argument that would be lost.

The only thing the legislature has done so far is raise concerns and provide some barrier to federal control, calling it Utah's Common Core in the Statewide Adaptive Testing request for proposal. The feds have lowered the student privacy laws and so we have tied Utah's student privacy laws to any Statewide Adaptive Testing system funding. See 2012 HB 15 and 2012 SB 97.

2012 SCR 13 passed the senate, but ran out of time in the House. I am not sure it would have passed and the house killed a move to bump it to the top of a short list at the end.

The schools have spent the last 2 summers gearing up for this, and changing their books, etc. If the legislature is going to now get further involved, it should be very limited.