Our View: Curriculum bill was flawed

Thursday , April 10, 2014 - 1:04 PM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

Late in the legislative session, with legislators a bit frayed at the edges and working to move what they could past the finish line, a flawed bill was passed and sent to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. The bill was crafted to have a state parent educational panel review issues submitted about curriculum and class materials.

The bill squeaked through on a 38-37 House vote. Frankly, the bill may have passed because too many legislators saw it as an easy way to take a slam at Common Core — although the bill had no real connection to such. In any event, Governor Herbert vetoed the bill, and we’re pleased he did so. Governor Herbert wisely noted that complaints about curriculum should be addressed initially by the local school boards. They make the decisions on buying textbooks and supplies, not the state parent panel.

Also, the members of the panel that a slight majority of lawmakers wanted to review the curriculum shared Herbert’s reservations about the bill. An Associated Press news story that the Standard-Examiner published said, “Most members of the existing parent panel said they didn’t feel equipped to handle the added task. The PTA voiced concern that the group wasn’t elected or thoroughly vetted.”

Common Core standards, which deal with the skills school students should have in math, science and English, are very controversial. Ironically, they were originally requested by many state governors as a means to improve school test scores. However, grass roots opposition, primarily conservative, has grown against Common Core, and Utah is no exception to that.

The debate over Common Core will continue. Fortunately, the parent curriculum bill — an odd consequence of the Common Core controversy — has been appropriately vetoed by Governor Herbert.

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