Thank you to those who rapidly signed the letter to the board and especially those who came out to the protest. In a 24 hour period from when I posted the letter to when I had to send off the letter, we had received 2,107 signatures from Utahns and I removed dozens of non-Utah signatures including columnist Michelle Malkin’s signature.
The letter with signatures was emailed to board members late Thursday night and a physical copy was delivered to the board on Friday morning at their board meeting. The text of the letter is below. I’ll refrain from posting all the signatures below, but a few hundred more continued to sign after sending off the letter. We will be posting the speeches from the board meeting here after compiling them.
Christel Swasey posted a brief report on the protest at the state school board including pictures and a video, so I’m not going to recreate the wheel. Here’s a link.
I will duplicate her links to news stories though.
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58276195-78/utah-waiver-board-state.html.csp
So what happened? They signed the waiver but changed the assurances. This isn’t the ideal outcome we wanted, but it’s a compromise that under the circumstances will set up an interesting showdown. Please read this link for a post by Jefferson Moss on the state board, and scroll down to read Heather Groom’s (also on the board) comment as well. You may have to join the group first to see it.
Here is the letter to the state board that was signed by so many people.
To the Members of the Utah State Board of Education:
We the undersigned are among the many Utahns who value local control of education and do not want the Utah State Board of Education to renew the ESEA/NCLB waiver.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is a failed law. It failed schools, it failed teachers, and it failed children.
To receive a waiver from NCLB, Utah agreed to option A, which required Utah to show proof that we had adopted Common Core. In other words, the state was coerced into agreeing to a reform package that exerts a far greater control over our state education system than NCLB.
The waiver should not be renewed as it solidifies and gives credence to the pattern of federal involvement in Utah’s education system.
The U.S. Constitution gives the federal government no opportunity to be involved in Utah education. By renewing the waiver Utah will be obligated to continue with their Common Core commitment to the Federal Government which is in violation of both the federal and state constitutions. Trading one bad government mandate for an even worse government mandate is irresponsible. It is the State Board’s responsibility to work to reduce federal involvement in education and promote general state control, and pass everything possible down to the local school and district level that should appropriately be governed there.
Utah law states that we can and shall be flexible with our funding to utilize it to meet state goals and objectives over federal goals and objectives.
Concerns that there MAY be a reduction in federal funds affecting Title I schools should not stop the board from doing the right thing. It will be the responsibility of the legislature and the Governor to make sure that the Title I schools have the necessary funding.
Please do not sign the waiver.
Earlier in the week I sent this brief letter to the board.
In 2005, the Utah legislature unanimously passed HB 135, a bill by Senator Margaret Dayton, that specifically gives Utah the ability to resolve NCLB funding control issues by giving Utah the flexibility to [first prioritize funding to meet] “state goals, objectives, program needs, and accountability systems” and [give second priority] “to implementing federal goals, objectives, program needs, and accountability systems that do not directly and simultaneously advance state goals, objectives, program needs, and accountability systems.”
The law further states that “school officials shall interpret the provisions of federal programs in the best interest of students in this state; maximize local control and flexibility; minimize additional state resources that are diverted to implement federal programs beyond the federal monies that are provided to fund the programs; request changes to federal educational programs, especially programs that are underfunded or provide conflicts with other state or federal programs, including: federal statutes…”
In other words, Utah law states we can and shall be flexible with our funding and utilize it to meet state goals and objectives over federal goals and objectives.
Signing the waiver violates Utah law by requiring that we continue Common Core which is a federal entanglement.