Educators meet with state leaders, offer evaluation of Common Core standards

Posted at 3:33 PM, Feb 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-06 19:09:28-05

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Gary Herbert appointed a team of educators to assess whether Common Core standards were helping or hurting Utah students, and Friday those educators offered their opinions and recommendation to state leaders.

Herbert was present with members of the State Board of Education, and he spoke about his primary issue.

“This federal overreach is a concern,” he said.

Herbert appointed educators to examine the issue due to concerns about the federal government dictating standards without input from state and other local education leaders. The educators looked at the standards in math and English students are expected to master each year.

Educators said they believe the standards are fundamentally sound and more rigorous than previous standards, which they believe makes students better prepared for college and the workforce. Still, they urged board members to make changes as they find them necessary.

Matthew Holland, Utah Valley University President, said that, “These standards are not fixed in stone and that evaluations and revisions, as necessary, of Utah core must be done on an ongoing basis."

Herbert said he sees problems with the way the standards have been implemented.

“This new integrated math program, which is a new way of doing things, which people seem to think is a good change--but the teachers have not been prepared, there's not been good communication with parents,” he said. “And, consequently, the implementation of this has been flawed.”

Educators on the committee also said hiring more teachers is a priority.

“There is now and will continue to be a high shortage of teachers in both of these basic disciplines,” Holland said.

Herbert was encouraged by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ legal review of Common Core, as Reyes said the state can make changes without losing federal funding.

Kris Kimball is a parent who opposes Common Core who felt excluded from the discussion, and she also said she believes Common Core standards will have a negative impact on students in the long run.

“We're not allowed to make comments during the presentation, just the board itself,” Kimball said. "…There are others who would disagree with the standards not being rigorous enough.”