Legal review of adoption of Common Core Standards presented to governor

SALT LAKE CITY (Oct. 7, 2014) – The results of the attorney general’s review of Utah’s adoption of Common Core standards was presented to Gov. Gary R. Herbert, today. The review was requested as part of an effort to resolve divisive issues in education and address questions regarding any current federal entanglements associated with the Common Core standards.

“What we now have are objective and legally reviewed facts,” said Gov. Hebert. “For those whose view has been that Utah has always held control of its own education standards, they can rest assured they are correct. For those who have been concerned the federal government has taken some degree of control of Utah’s education system, they can breathe a sigh of relief.”

The governor asked the attorney general to review five issues:

  1. Does the State Board of Education have authority to set academic standard for Utah students?
  2. By the adoption of Common Core standards, has Utah ceded authority over standards and curriculum?
  3. Are we, as a state, bound by any federal entanglements in regards to our academic standards and curriculum?
  4. Can we change our academic standards, including modifications to Common Core? Can we change the standards?
  5. Can we confirm that our waiver from No Child Left Behind is also in compliance with SB287?

The findings concluded:

  • The State Board of Education has the authority to set academic standard for Utah students, and the State Board’s adoption of the Common Core State standards was in no way illegal.
  • By adopting the Common Core standards Utah has not ceded authority over to the standards and curriculum. Utah charter schools or local school boards have authority to control their curriculum. There are no partnerships or programs that have indirect control on the curriculum.
  • Utah is not bound by federal entanglement in regard to academic standards. Federal entanglements are debatable as to standards and no entanglements exist with respect to curriculum.
  • Utah did not receive federal monies to adopt Common Core Standards. Utah did not acquiesce education control or state sovereignty by adopting Common Core Standards.
  • Utah’s waiver from No Child Left Behind is in compliance with SB287

Yesterday, the Governor’s Standards Review Panel, consisting of higher education experts and other stakeholders, met for the first time to review whether the current Utah standards are properly preparing students for higher education or careers. The Governor’s Panel is co-chaired by Dr. Rich Kendall and Utah Valley University Pres. Matt Holland. It consists of an executive committee and two technical review panels that will evaluate mathematics and English language arts.