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  • Utah Takes First Step in Regaining Control of Education

    When the fight for control over what is taught in American schools is won, Utah will be remembered for having fired the shot heard ’round the country’s classrooms and statehouses.

    In a move that should inspire other state leaders concerned with the Obama Administration’s push to nationalize standards and tests through the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the Utah State Board of Education voted 12–3 to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), the national testing consortium the state joined as part of the its agreement to adopt national standards.

    While Utah still plans to implement the standards in the coming academic year, it will now choose from among various testing companies to measure the academic achievement of students, divesting the state from the federally funded testing consortium. As Washington’s overreach creeps further into the nation’s classrooms, Utah has wisely taken a step away from further federal intervention into its schools.

    After the Berlin Wall fell in the late 1980s, central planning was all but discredited throughout the world. The exception, Representative Rob Bishop (R–UT) notes, was in Washington, D.C., “where every bureaucracy has, since that time, doubled down to insist that central planning be done out of Washington with one-size-fits-all solutions.” Indeed, the central planning mentality continues apace with the push for national standards and tests. As the Pacific Research Institute’s Lance Izumi points out:

    The end result of President Barack Obama’s centralization schemes is loss of control by individual Americans. Under the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office says that millions of workers will not be able to keep their current coverage. Under the president’s national standards-and-testing regime, individual parents will have less and less control over the education of their children and what takes place in the classroom.

    Bishop argues that further centralizing education and nationalizing standards isn’t going to solve Utah’s education woes. “The only thing we haven’t tried to do,” Bishop notes, “is allow schools to be free. Go back to what has always worked: the free market. When people have freedom, they make better choices.”

    Utah has now gained a little more of that freedom back and will be choosing from a market of testing companies. Hopefully the Beehive State will take that thirst for educational freedom a step further and exit the national standards bandwagon entirely.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Utah Takes First Step in Regaining Control of Education

    1. JBB says:

      Thank you UTAH! Finally, some common sense. And a move away from the tentacles of the federal government.

      • The Common Core State Standards were not developed by the federal government, they were a project of the National Governor's Association and have been voluntarily adopted by a vast majority of the country for overwhelmingly good reasons. I hope you will look for information on the Standards somewhere other than the Heritage Foundation.

    2. Kate J says:

      When it comes to the government, it is smart to suspect anything with the word "smarter" in the title.

      • The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is not an entity of the federal government, it is a coalition of states who decided to work together to design better assessments for our students. Better testing gives teachers more usable results quicker, driving instructional changes in the classroom and improving student achievement.

        • christelswasey says:

          Read the Cooperative Agreement between the SBAC and the Dept. of Education. It's online. Although the SBAC and PARCC aren't federal entities, they are to be micromanaged by the feds. The Cooperative Agreement is the proof of that pudding. Utah has done a really smart thing in getting out of SBAC. Utah is the master, not the servant, of its educational testing program now.

    3. me. says:

      i am glad to live in Utah. i will probably be here for the rest of my life.

    4. Way to go Utah. A spark of Federalism returns to America. Is there a sufficient amount of intestinal fortitude in Illinois? I can only pray.

    5. Can someone please explain to me why the Heritage Foundation has devoted so much time and resources to misleading the country about the Common Core State Standards? Not a single dollar of federal money was spent for the development or adoption of the standards, nor did they originate with the federal government. The National Governor's Association recognized that having 50 different sets of standards made it difficult for teachers to collaborate, prevented states from taking advantage of economies of scale in textbooks and assessments, and created unequal educational expectations for children based solely on where they live. The Common Core is common sense, and the Heritage Foundation and Ms. Burke lose credibility every day they continue to advocate for our current broken system of disparate expectations.

      • christelswasey says:

        The federal government financially incentivized the standards every step of the way. The Race to the Top came from the Dept. of Ed, which lured states to join common core. The second Race to the Top for Assessments tangled states into the consortia of tests that Arne Duncan could micromanage via the Cooperative Agreement. Bill Gates paid for most of the development of the standards, and we all know his loyalty is to the U.N. rather than the U.S. The NGA/CCSSO are nongovernmental groups that copyrighted the standards, but it was the Dept. of Ed that said you can't add more than 15% to them. So the top down control is rather obvious. I vote for local freedom. Do you really prefer nationalized control to local control? Which is best for an actual student? Who loves them and knows them best, the Arne Duncan gang, or their local parent and school?

        • There's a difference in incentivizing states to do things that will improve education (like they're doing now with Race to the Top and Common Core) and dictating/mandating, as the Heritage Foundation has alleged. Isn't that a proper function of government, encouraging people to do things that will produce better outcomes for our nation? I would argue that it is.

          Your comment about Bill Gates and his loyalty to the United Nations really casts doubt on everything else in your comment. Come back from the far pasture, Bessie, the rest of the rational world is waiting on you.

          I agree, parents should have a say in their child's education. That's why it puzzles me that so many people are opposing the Common Core when the National PTA, the nation's premier advocacy group for children, parents, and families, strongly supports it.

    6. Linda says:

      David – You raise some good questions such as why would Heritage spend so much time & energy on fighting central control of education when it seems to have many benefits. Though I do not work for Heritage, I can only tell you what I know which is based on following the education issue since 1991 when the OR Education Act for the 21st Century was pushed through our legislature on an emergency clause attached to an unrelated bill in the last 2 days of the session without public input or media coverage. 21 years later, our test scores are mediocre at best (based on the OR Assessment Test, not the Stanford or Iowa Achievement Tests). So now after 21 years of state controlled education,.we're signing onto a national CCSS program, and guess what, the same people who developed the OEA for the 21st Century are involved with the development of these standards. Check out Marc Tucker (who was also behind the outcome based education in Chicago in the 80's). To be continued…

    7. Linda says:

      Cont'd When we had local control of public schools, our students led the world in science & math. Today, our students lag behind many countries. I wish I had all day to respond to your obviously sincere questions. I encourage your to look into the Heritage archives for more articles on this subject as well as into the archives of "The Education Reporter" by Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum (she's studied the issue for at least 4 decades), and perhaps those of the Cato Institute. Maybe then you'll understand why Heritage is against federal standards in education.

    8. Bobbie says:

      anything posed by the media or government with the term "smart' in it has the hidden agenda behind it. Another government "control" mechanism.

      Can't trust feds in control of anything when we're left with the consequences stemming from within their control we handle much better in our own control. They show clearly their interests are above the interests of this country as a whole as states do have standard education teaching the basic fundamentals with no invitation to the feds who's only input is suspicious with added dictates, costs and complications. Teachers are turning step-ford.

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