Utah’s Common Core is Rising

An early adopter, Utah welcomed Common Core into its educational system on August 8, 2010. Like with a majority of states, this one found almost no resistance in the beginning and only recently felt the tugs of animosity due to upcoming elections. While this battle has raged on for a few years now, Utah has managed to do what it can to find a happy medium for both supporters and anti-Common Core groups alike.

 

Dropping Out

Originally, Utah was one of many states in a consortium designed to develop tests based on the Common Core. In a 12-3 vote, the state pulled out in an effort to quiet some of the dissension occurring. To the fearful, such work within a group comes off as a conflict of interests, inevitably paving the way to federal intrusion due to the simple fact that the consortium and Common Core have received federal dollars for funding.

Even so, the major of education leaders in the state saw the move as a blunder. This was Utah’s chance to really help lay out testing based on what Utah teachers have been doing. Even with consortium involvement, the state was never required to use any of the tests developed there. By withdrawing, proponents see it as doing the opposite of allowing the state to exert more control over the educational future – something opponents argue vehemently for.

 

Increased Scores and Vetoes

More currently, there have been lawsuits pressed upon the Utah Board of Education calling the adoption process of the Common Core unlawful. Unfortunately, though, it seems that no matter how many times the judges through these lawsuits out on various grounds, they just keep coming. Those that make them claim that six educators and a few local parents weren’t asked to weigh in on the Core’s adoption. As in most states, though, the truth of the matter is that they were but since Common Core wasn’t a hot button issue, many parents ignored the critical process altogether.

In addition, now that the Core has been implemented, its results are showing improvements in both Math and English. Since adoption, Utah has risen in its national standing for almost every grade level. In fact, the biggest problem, the educational gap between minority and majority students, is also improving significantly. The biggest victory with this is that to do it, the best performing students haven’t been forced to do worse. Instead, they continue performing at higher levels while the standards are helping the low-performers catch up.

Though the Common Core issue won’t be laid to rest until after the election season is finally over, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume Utah will remain with a set of standards that has proven to do what it said it would after being ushered in correctly.