Utah State Superintendent Admits to Federal Pressure on CC

State Superintendent Reveals Federal Pressure

On March 6th, talk radio host Rod Arquette interviewed State Superintendent Larry Shumway and Alpine School District Board member Wendy Hart (speaking for herself and not the board) on the subject of Common Core. The interview took place just a few days after Superintendent Shumway had written a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as well as a letter to the Senate education standing committee near the end of the 2012 Utah legislative session. You can read the Superintendent’s letters by clicking those links. Here are links to download the show portions dealing with Common Core (Shumway, Hart, and a few callers).

Rod Arquette Show (3-6-12) Zip File

Rod Arquette Show (3-6-12) mp3 – listen now (just under 30 minutes)

Here are important clips from the show:

Rod: How about the letter itself, Superintendent.  Why do you think it was important to write?

Larry:  Well, I thought that there were enough people being concerned about the Federal Government’s intrusion into the [Common] Core Standards in Utah that I should make clear where we stood.  I wanted to push back on comments that I’ve heard Secretary [of Education] Duncan make and President Obama make about their participation in the [Common] Core.  These standards are our standards.  We’ve adopted these in our states, and we control them.

Rod: You said you were disappointed.  What did they do to create that disappointment you have?  Are they trying to inch in on this a little bit?

Larry: Well, I’m bothered by things I hear the secretary say in speeches and the President say in speeches where they take credit for these standards.  And I’m bothered by the Department of Education making requirements that are associated with these standards.  They’re not their standards, and so that offends my sensibility and it pushes against our states’ rights of sovereignty in public education.


I applaud State Superintendent Larry Shumway for asserting our state rights to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a letter, but the contracts we have entered into supersede any letter than can be written. It is quite obvious to anyone that takes the time to look into the facts that the federal government’s involvement is just getting started. Why is it that educators who hated NCLB and the strings attached, get excited about Common Core and the strings it comes with?

Utah, it’s time to wake up to what’s happening and see the writing on the wall, or as this Washington Times article points out, “states are likely to become little more than administrative agents for a nationalized K-12 program of instruction”.


4 thoughts on “Utah State Superintendent Admits to Federal Pressure on CC”

  1. Great information in this piece. Thank you! There are so many great quotes, it’s hard to pick, but here’s one of my favorites:

    “It is unclear who, if anyone, has labeled the Common Core a conspiracy, but federal pressure to implement it is plainer than ever after Mr. Duncan’s blast…The Brookings Institution’s respected education scholar, Tom Loveless, recently presented research demolishing the contention that national standards will raise achievement appreciably. Brookings is no tool of a vast right-wing conspiracy, nor is The Washington Post, whose veteran education columnist, Jay Mathews, concurred with Mr. Loveless in a Feb. 22 piece and congratulated Virginia for snubbing the CC and preserving its own standards.”

  2. The comment above referred to the Washington Times piece referenced at the bottom of the article on the Superintendent’s statements. In regard to those, I’m glad he’s taking note of how the Federal government is inching in on the Common Core program. But I don’t think there’s anything he can do to prevent further “inching”, except get us out of the Common Core arrangement

  3. I’m confused about your comment about the “contract” we’ve entered into? What contract? My understanding of the common core is that it is a collaboration between states and we can back out at any time that we want. Utah has not accepted any federal aid in connection to the common core and therefore is not “contracted” to federal regulation. Can you clarify or give some references to what contracts the state has entered into?

  4. There are multiple contracts that Utah has entered into. We joined the testing consortium, SBAC, and adopted Common Core and its rules, when our Governor and School Board signed us up via the Race to the Top grant. See http://www.schools.utah.gov/arra/Uses/Utah-Race-to-the-Top-Application.aspx . Since Washington State is the lead state and fiscal agent for the SBAC, their agreement with the U.S. Department of Education is binding on Utah. See it here: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf . The SBAC consortium also received a large grant to build an assessment system on behalf of Utah and the other states. Utah is bound to the terms of that grant. Accepting ARRA stimulus money bound Utah contractually to build a $9.6 million dollar longitudinal database that links our students’ data with other states and the federal government’s database. (Every federal grant received is a legally binding contract that we must obey or return the money.) Utah just recently signed up for Common Core preschool and I have not yet received a copy of that document but you could ask the USOE to provide you with one. Thank you for asking for references.

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