Rep. Layton’s bill scuttled by Rep. Layton

Tami Pyfer, former State Board member and Governor Herbert's new education adviser, speaks in Rep. Layton's ear
Tami Pyfer, former State Board member and Governor Herbert’s new education adviser, speaks in Rep. Layton’s ear

Rep. Dana Layton yesterday unveiled a substitute version of HB 342. Here’s a link:

Unbelievably, she turned to the UEA, state school board, superintendent, and Governor’s office, and rather than return to us for any clarifications we wanted to add, went ahead and rewrote her bill. The original bill was going to have a big fight on its hands because the USOE had said it would cost $2 million to write new standards and that Common Core was free since they came to the state without our cost (Gates Foundation and other sources paid for them). Unfortunately this was a lie. Utah could have the very best standards and they would be free. Utah adopted Common Core solely because of the chance to get Race to the Top money from the Feds.

Listen to her statements in the hearing here:

Quick and not fully quoted comments from her statement:

If I look like I have a little jet lag it’s because I’ve traveled back and forth between universes.

One side everything is rosy

The other CC is a federal takeover

My concern is Utah having control over its ed system

My first bill was drafted when I was under the impression that we’d ceded control

I went to the UEA, local school boards, principal, state board, superintendent Menlove

I came to a different approach

Parents who are alarmed are mostly alarmed by perception that we have let go of control and we are now in lock step with other states that adopted CC

We haven’t let go of the wheel. Not only can we steer, we will.

In speaking with the Governor’s office and others, lets formalize parental involvement in reviewing standards

If we want to spend tens of millions of dollars in Utah promoting STEM careers, perhaps our math standards need to be better suited for engineering careers.


A couple brief comments while I wrap my head in duct tape…

1) If Utah is concerned about STEM careers, it will be BECAUSE of Common Core, not from our prior decent math standards

2) Even though we had spoken with Rep. Layton, it is obvious she didn’t get as deep into the source documents as she should have. When we have a retired Utah appellate judge review the contracts Utah signed onto and side with us, you know there are some serious issues to wrestle with.

3) There is still a chance for House members to amend this bill back to its original form. Please write your House Representative and ask him/her to either amend the bill back to it’s original form so Utah gets on it’s own superior standards by 2016, or else kill the bill. Saying in this bill that parents should have a review committee for the standards is dangerous because statute already provides for all parents to have a voice in the standards. The USOE just completely failed to do that with Common Core because of the crisis created by the feds to sign up for RTTT money.

UT code says:

The state recognizes that parents currently hold the right to direct the education of their children.

(i) a parent has the right, obligation, responsibility, and authority to raise, manage, train, educate, provide for, and reasonably discipline the parent’s children; and
(ii) the state’s role is secondary and supportive to the primary role of a parent.

Also according to state statute:

 (1) In establishing minimum standards related to curriculum and instruction requirements under Section 53A-1-402, the State Board of Education shall, in consultation with local school boards, school superintendents, teachers, employers, and parents implement core curriculum standards which will enable students to, among other objectives:

Please email your House member now and ask him/her to either amend the bill back to it’s original form so Utah gets on it’s own superior standards by 2016, or else kill the bill. Find your rep here:


11 thoughts on “Rep. Layton’s bill scuttled by Rep. Layton”

  1. When citizens were desperately seeking an advocate for our concerns in the legislature, Representative Layton was the one of the only ones to respond with concrete action. I anticipated that the push back from the State Board, Governor, and USOE would be intense. Perhaps she didn’t, and her weariness was evident yesterday. I’m grateful that she was willing to listen and to try to make some progress. I am stunned that this pressure was enough to gut the bill before it even had a hearing and I can’t hide my disappointment. I want to thank Representative Layton for her efforts. Sadly, once again the voice of the parent was drowned out by the top-down educrats. We did make progress in getting a more accountable State Board as Representative Greene’s bill made it out of committee. It’s clear that if we want to have influence on education in this state we have to change the people who are controlling it. I hope this disappointment will serve as motivation for parents to take their complaints to the election booths.

  2. I was told that some felt the move to take Tami Pyfer from the State School Board to advisor for Governor Herbert would be to reduce the harm she could do. Well there she is intimidating and strong arming legislators. I’m thinking she is just as if not more powerful in her new role.

  3. We know a lot of wonderful people–all serving in educational directing positions who have been confused on these issues–They buy the book that has been given them in their positions, including the phrase, “those are just a lot of hysterical parents who don’t know what’s happening”; when, in fact, they are the ones who haven’t taken the time to educate themselves. They get most of their information from the powers giving them their paychecks–and they are eager to comply, to make judgments on “voices of parents in the wilderness”. Thanks to Alyson and Michele for their interesting and intelligent responses.
    The only way we can respond is at the voting booth, and to let our representatives know online how we feel.

  4. As Utahns we need to stop this Federal power grab. Think! The states should control the curriculum in their schools! We need Common Sense not Common Core!

  5. We need to find a new Representative in district 60 – I encourage all to call Brad Daw and urge him to run: 801-850-3608

  6. Dana (my sister) said she did not have a change of heart on her bill. She said the original bill would not have made it out of the committee. Her modified bill only made it out with a 7 to 5 vote.

    1. Thanks for commenting Brett. She’s probably right. When legislative research asked the USOE for a price tag on redoing the standards, they effectively killed this effort by lying and claiming it would cost $2 million. That’s total nonsense. They’ve told people Common Core cost us nothing because we didn’t pay for the standards. Using that same logic, back in 2007 it cost very little to have our math standards redone, and they were very good and would have been even better if the USOE had actually implemented the recommendations the external reviewers pointed out. We could return to those excellent standards and implement the changes the outsiders recommended and those standards would cost us $0 to adopt. Further, we have 3 options for English standards that range from free and immediate, to nearly free and fairly quick. Here’s two articles that explain how Utah could get the very best standards in the nation if we didn’t have a USOE who was more concerned about federal money than the quality of our standards.

  7. If you read the substitute bill:, the section that is cited above ‘in consultation… with parents…’ is left in tact. It simply adds the committee to what already exists. I view the substitute bill as not as good as I had hoped, but better than what we have. I will be asking my Rep to vote in favor of it. What protection it does give us is there is a formally defined process for adopting standards. If you read the testimony of the former Texas Commissioner of Education (Robert Scott, I think), he indicates he was prevented from signing the MOU to develop the CCSS standards by state law requiring something similar to what we are proposing here. If Rep. Layton’s bill had been state law in 2009, it is doubtful that the original MOU would have been legal. And the 2010 process of adopting standards would have called attention to many flaws in both the process and the standards.

    Additionally, might I just add that very few people have any idea what it is like to try to go up against ‘the system’. It is much, much harder than anyone on the outside can anticipate. I appreciate the efforts of Rep. Layton.

  8. Just as stated Rep. Layton did as she pleased! Unbelievably, “she turned to the UEA, state school board, superintendent, and Governor’s office”, and rather than return to us for any clarifications that we wanted to add, she went ahead and rewrote her bill. Dana Layton is just another crooked politician agreeing to represent the people, “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” We need to find a new Representative in district 60, let your representatives know how you feel, at the voting booth,.

  9. According to Representative Layton, her original bill would have been defeated in committee. I think Wendy Hart’s post is insightful. The substitute bill, in my opinion, may be helpful in preventing the adoption of the next part of Common Core, social studies standards, which USOE personnel are actively planning to adopt.
    We need to be appreciative of Representative Layton and help her know that her efforts are recognized and appreciated. We need all the allies we can get.

  10. After Monday’s Education Committee where Dana Layton’s standards bill was passed out of committee in an unexpected way, many of us were upset and felt blindsighted by her opening testimony. I reached out to Dana and asked if we could sit down and discuss what happened to her bill and what her plan was.

    Dana Layton was gracious enough to give myself and a couple friends a large amount of time out of her very busy schedule. I want to apologize for my reaction to what happened and thank her for putting herself out there and then take the heat at such a stressful time.

    Dana has a strategy to chip slowly away at the stranglehold the Federal Government is putting on the states through ESEA flexibility aka NCLB waiver. She is open to emails with ideas on how to do this. Please be respectful when you email her and let her know your thoughts.

    Here is what I told her:

    I am not sold on the idea of the parent review committee because it puts the power of which parents get to participate in the hands of a few.

    Dana is working on putting a public 90 day review back in the bill and also requiring the State Board hold hearings.

    I personally still am not comfortable with the committee idea.

    The bill also lists out the standards by subject so that all standards must be reviewed this way. However, it specifically mentions early childhood standards. I am not comfortable with putting early childhood standards in law because it then becomes the norm that the state does preschool.

    Dana explained her reasoning as being that the state currently passed early childhood standards and wouldn’t we like to review them. I could see her point but the more I’ve thought about it the more I realize I don’t think we should be listing it in law.

    The solution I’ve come up with is to take all specific subjects out and word the bill to encompass all education standards so it is more generic but still covers everything.

    The only part of the bill this wouldn’t work is the part where the math standards are up for review starting this summer.

    I believe reviewing the standards will give us a chance to make some changes, however, it WILL NOT solve the problem with the overall education reform package.

    We’ve been saying from the beginning that the standards are just one small part of the overall problem and unless we take out all the enforcing mechanisms such as the data collection, teacher redistribution and equality, federally approved assessments, and school grading we will not have true local control. The more I visit different areas of the state and hear stories from teachers the more I’m convinced that they are starting to feel it and are losing local control. They may be able to pick some curriculum but that doesn’t constitute true local control.

    Please write Rep. Layton and share your thoughts with her.

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