Where is Utah Bound to Common Core’s Federal Reforms?
1) The Four Assurances (or federal reforms) in the 2009 Stimulus Package’s State Fiscal Stabilization Fund—which included common standards, new assessments, teacher evaluations, school grading and data collection systems—signed by Governor Huntsman. The “assurances” were promises that Governors made to the Obama administration when they accepted Stimulus money. The Stimulus money helped President Obama build a new federal framework at the state level to, as US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “fundamentally shift the federal role” over education.
See also: The federal grant from the 2009 Stimulus Package for the creation of Utah’s State Longitudinal Data System (This was a $9.6 million dollar grant to Utah to create a data system which would provide a framework for the Obama administration’s National Education Data Model. In order to start collecting individual student and family data without parental consent—including things like bus stop times, health conditions and religious affiliation—the Obama administration bypassed Congress and rewrote federal FERPA privacy regulations).
2) The 2009 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by Governor Huntsman and State Superintendent Patti Harrington, where they committed Utah to Common Core national standards.
3) The No Child Left Behind Flexibility Request (Waiver) in which the MOU was used as “evidence” that Utah, in exchange for flexibility from the stipulations in No Child Left Behind, would adopt Common Core.
4) The Common Core standards copyright binds states to precisely what is written in the standards. States can add 15% more to the standards, but cannot take anything away from them. They are adopted “in whole.”
5) The fact that the K-12 assessments aligned to Common Core will be used by 90% of the states will preclude states deviating from the standards. We are bound by the sheer nature of national standards themselves–and this was by design. To deviate from the standards by even 5% would put states at a comparative disadvantage.