Editorial: Let Common Core conspiracies die in Utah
It should be a relief to conservative Republicans that a committee of parents directed by the Legislature to scour test questions for evidence of liberal leanings found few that are objectionable.
If the review process puts to rest the fanatical opposition to the Common Core standards adopted by 45 states, including Utah, other Utahns also should be relieved.
There has been a persistent movement to stop the Utah Office of Education from revising curricula to meet the Common Core standards. It's time to stop spreading misinformation about what the Common Core is and let educators get on with improving education in Utah.
The hours of work by a 15-member committee, mostly appointed by the Legislature, should go a long way toward accomplishing that. Still, conspiracy theories die hard, and that's what's driving most of the vehement opposition to adopting Common Core standards.
Legislators, lobbied by the Eagle Forum, objected to this practical and non-political set of standards without understanding it. The goal of the states-led Common Core initiative was simply to help state education offices and school districts across the country ensure all students have reached an acceptable level of knowledge and skill at certain points in their education.
It is not a federal-government takeover of states' responsibility to write their own curricula. It is not a political conspiracy to indoctrinate children to a liberal point of view.
Those who believed examining test questions based on the standards would reveal such covert maneuvering should have had those misguided beliefs quashed by the results.
Misinformation about Common Core has come from powerful people who should know better. Sen. Mike Lee last spring joined eight other Republican senators calling for the Senate Appropriations Committee to prohibit the U.S. education secretary from implementing or requiring the standards in any way to end "further interference by the U.S. Department of Education with respect to state decisions on academic content standards."
So it's not surprising that other anti-federal-government leaders in Utah would mistakenly jump on the bandwagon.
The attitude that any education initiative is suspect if it doesn't originate among conservative Utahns in Utah does nothing to prepare Utah children to compete for jobs in a national, and global, marketplace.
We can only hope Utah's use of Common Core standards to improve education will eventually eradicate such provincialism.