The Governor's Education Excellence Committee today voted to start calling Common Core State Standards the Utah Common Core State Standards instead. The standards outline what students in grades K-12 should know in reading and math by the end of each grade and are the product of a states-led effort meant to improve college and career readiness. More than 40 states, including Utah, have agreed to adopt the standards.
The name change follows unrest last month over the standards by some Republican senators who worried that Utah was losing local control over what's taught in schools by adopting the standards. Specifically, the Senate Majority Caucus passed a motion last month asking the House Majority to join it in sending a letter to the state board asking it to reconsider adopting the new standards in place of Utah’s current ones.
State education leaders, however, defended the Common Core, saying it's not a federal program, but instead state driven. Gov. Gary Herbert echoed that sentiment today.
"We're doing our own thing," Herbert said. "We maintain our autonomy on this."
State school board chair Debra Roberts said she hopes that by changing the name, it will reinforce that the standards are a state choice and that Utah controls its standards.
I also asked Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins today whether the common core is still an issue of concern for the caucus.
"No, it's not. we've beat that issue to death and we've really got to the bottom of it to [where] we understand who's driving it, where it came from, what it is and so far we as a group have seen no real problem with that," Jenkins said.
He said the caucus is no longer planning on sending the state school board a letter.