From Anti-Common Core to Pro-Common Core to Whatever

Rep. Dana Layton of the Utah House of Representatives.
Rep. Dana Layton Utah House of Representatives

What a journey HB342 has taken this session.

Anti-Common Core

When HB342 was first released the education community freaked and those opposing the Common Core rejoiced.  The bill would have required the State Board of Education to revise the core standards in the next two years.  This bill generated a giant fiscal note (standard creation and adoption is expensive).  There was also an incredibly uncomfortable public meeting between Rep. Layton and the State Board of Education.

Flash forward to committee.

Pro-Common Core

Right before HB342 was to be heard in the House Education Committee, Rep. Layton unveiled a substitute of her bill.  The substitute, in essence, gutted her original proposal.  All that was left in the substitute was the creation of a timeline and parent review committees on each of the core areas (ex. language arts, math, science).  There was confusion in the House hearing if that meant the State Office of Education would be managing large numbers of parents as they staffed these many committees, or if it was one singular committee.  The bill had no fiscal note, which also raised concerns.   The public testimony in the hearing was mixed, many who had come to speak in favor of the first proposal felt shafted by the substitute.  After the committee ended the anger grew, as those opposing the Common Core felt sold out.

Whatever

The bill was then substituted AGAIN.  Prior to its hearing in the House, Layton changed the bill to try and mend fences.  It included the language, “Among the criteria a standards review committee shall consider when reviewing core curriculum standards is giving students an adequate foundation to successfully pursue college, a career, or whatever a student plans to do after high school.”

Whatever?  If a student plans to backpack around Europe and live in hostels after high school, the core curriculum standards should prepare them for that?  Maybe by having them take laps around the track wearing a backpack then not allowing them to use the showers?

The bill was amended in the House to read, “or other life pursuits” instead of whatever.  While the language is less clunky, does it really change the meaning?

At this point, ‘whatever’ about sums up the bill.  It will be curious to see if this is one of those bills that mysteriously disappear as they make the journey from the House to the Senate.  It seems both sides may be happy with that……

This post originally appeared on Utah Moms Care.

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