Utah Governor Gary Herbert said the Common Core is not a “socialistic program foisted upon us by the federal government.” He added that there seems to be some miscommunication and misunderstanding about the program the Utah State Board of Education adopted last year, which he supports and his Education Excellence Commission has endorsed. Recently, the Common Core has come under attack by some lawmakers, with one alleging the standards include “code-words” for socialism.
Herbert discussed the Common Core, a set of educational standards developed by the states, during an address to the members of the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah State Board of Regents at a joint meeting held today at Salt Lake Community College’s Taylorsville campus. The governor touched on the eight education priorities he has proposed funding this year. These include several board priorities, such as funding student growth, optional extended-day kindergarten, the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program, and a new assessment system the USBE is implementing.
Herbert also urged the assembled board members to work with legislators to ensure the 7-to-10-percent cuts lawmakers are currently drafting don’t make it into the final budget proposal they’ll adopt in March. Instead, he wants to see public education relatively untouched, but with student growth funded for the first time since the economic downturn.
The board members also heard updates today on:
- Prosperity 2020: a business-led initiative to improve education;
- Higher Education’s implementation of Vision 2020, the governor’s Education Excellence Commission’s goal to increase the rate of Utahns who finish college or receive a trades certificate;
- An update on several initiatives in Utah Public Education, including Promises to Keep, Common Core, a new ACT pilot program that starts in 8th grade, the results of a new task force that shows that more rigor and higher standards indeed benefit students, and the importance of having councelors in schools;
- College and Career Readiness Statement, which outlines the strategic priorities to reach the goal of having 66 percent of Utahns to graduate college or receive a trade certificate by 2020.
- Utah Data Alliance, a cooperative initiative tasked with designing, building and implementing a data system to provide meaningful research on student cohorts.
- K-16 Alliance, a five-year-old program trying to streamline the transition from public education to higher education.
- Common Core Standards, which are more rigorous standards for math and language arts that are being implemented over the next several years.