Protest at the State School Board Report

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.





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.


5 thoughts on “Protest at the State School Board Report”

  1. My husband and some of our children and I drove all the way from Garden City, Utah by Bear Lake to be at this meeting. I was impressed with Senator Dayton’s explanation to the board about the issue at hand. I was most disappointed that when she abbreviated her comments so there would be time for questions from board members, NOT ONE board member had a question for her. I knew then that the board had already decided before the meeting how to vote. They didn’t even make a pretense of wanting more information from Senator Dayton. I certainly had lots of questions for her that I would have liked to ask!
    I also thought the speeches made in behalf of those wanting to see the state get out from under federal control did an excellent job.
    Let’s get the state school board positions changed to political positions! Let’s get a new governor!

  2. I have repeatedly addressed Common Core issues with the Canyons District Administration and school board. Honors classes in science and social studies are not available in all middle schools. I was told that honors classes increase the achievement gap between minority, poor and special ed. students and their Caucasian, middle class peers. I was also told that Common Core has increased the rigor for all students and there is now “enough” rigor in regular classes. Is there ever “enough” rigor? I am disturbed by the response of the new superintendent, the administration, and the Canyons School Board. Our children deserve better than this.

  3. The education issue is fundamentally a Constitutional issue.
    2 – State funding for education can and should be achieved by the States having their appropriate Constitutional control over all “public lands” within State boundaries, lands un-Constitutionally withheld at statehood, by federal usurpation.

    All States must aggressively declare by State Resolution that they will receive total possession of those lands and all associated facilities, equipment and records by a specific date, peacefully or by force. The funds/receipts from use of those public lands and resources will adequately fund not only the State’s education system, but much of its infrastructure.

    Bob Webster
    Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

  4. Even though this isn’t the desired outcome, I think it will be a good opportunity to tell our friends, family, & neighbors to watch carefully what the US Dept of Ed does in response to the State Board affirming Utah’s right to “absolute and exclusive right to modify, without negative effects with respect to its Waiver, its Utah Core Standards, SAGE testing, UCAS report card, and PEER teacher and principal evaluations without approval of the U.S. Department of Education.”

    If they accept the waiver as is, they are acknowledging Utah has the right to change all those things. If they reject Utah’s waiver, they will be admitting that states DO NOT have control over their own education systems.

    My hope is that it will be an eye-opening experience for those who are not actively following what’s happening in education to realize how involved the federal gov is; even though as Bob Webster said above, there is no constitutional authority for the fed gov to be involved in education & they are, in fact, prohibited by law from interfering in education. I think many people do not realize this. I know I didn’t until I started researching myself.

  5. Utahns Against Common Core should name this current protest “Green against the Board of Education”. It bears many similarities to “Brown vs. the Board of Education”. Our State Board of Education had their minds made up before the Aug 8 meeting. They are trying to maintain the current system without listening to parents. Near the end of the Aug 8th meeting, one board member made a motion for ten minutes to be allotted to talk. After the motion was approved, I approached him and asked him if we could talk. He said, “I don’t want to talk to you. There are other people I need to talk to”. I approached another man who told me, “You don’t want to listen; you just want to talk.” Considering that the Board Members have heard the “pros” of Common Core, I think they should be willing to take equal time to consider the concerns of parents. Like the parents in “Brown vs. the Board of Education”, we are being ignored and overrun.

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