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State Superintendent defends new academic standards

Published January 14, 2011 10:36 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

On the state office's new blog today, State Superintendent Larry Shumway defended the state school board's decision to adopt new academic standards, known as Common Core State Standards.

His defense comes several days after the Senate Majority caucus voted to ask the House to join it in sending a letter to the state school board asking it to reconsider adopting the standards out of concern Utah was giving up some local control by adopting the standards. (The standards outline what students are expected to know by the end of each grade.) Sen. Chris Buttars told me at the time: "We're dropping Utah's moral and ethical standards in favor of a more national [set], and I don't like it." He also said he was concerned that the new standards contain "code words for socialism." To read more about what happened in the caucus, here's my Tribune article that ran on Wednesday about it.

When I asked Dr. Shumway for his thoughts about the caucus motion Tuesday evening he declined to comment saying he wanted to find out more about the motion. Today, Shumway lays out a defense on the new blog emphasizing the standards are voluntary and not federal.

He says in the blog: "The members of the Utah State Board of Education and the staff at the Utah State Office of Education welcome the senators' interest and encourage their inquiry. After honest investigation, we believe they will come to the same conclusion that the Board has come to: Common core standards will help increase the academic rigor of Utah's public schools and help make students across the nation more academically (and, consequently, economically) competitive with their peers from around the globe."

To read more of his defense go here.