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Board approves resolution affirming local control of curriculum

UTAH STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION RESOLUTION NO. 2014-01

A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING THE OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE
UTAH STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
REGARDING LOCAL CONTROL OF CURRICULUM

WHEREAS, the Utah State Board of Education (the “State Board”) exercises “general control and supervision” of the public education system pursuant to Article X, Section 3 of the Utah Constitution; and,

WHEREAS, the State Board has established minimum standards of competency for students enrolled in public schools in the state of Utah in the areas of mathematics, English/ language arts, science, social studies, physical education, health, world languages, educational technology, fine arts, driver’s education, and library media; and,

WHEREAS, these standards are referred to as the “Utah Core Standards;” and,

WHEREAS, the Utah Core Standards are a set of basic, grade-level specific benchmarks that students are expected to reach in order to be college and career ready; and,

WHEREAS, curriculum is distinct from the Utah Core Standards, and comprises the textbooks, teaching materials and lesson plans used in the classroom; and,

WHEREAS, while the Common Core mathematics and English/language arts standards were adopted as part of the Utah Core Standards in August 2010, the State Board did not adopt the Appendices to those standards, which provided illustrative examples of the types of curriculum that could be utilized by teachers to inform instruction; and,

WHEREAS, the State Board strongly believes that local school boards, charter school boards of trustees, traditional public schools and teachers are in the best position to determine for themselves and their respective students the appropriate curriculum to be utilized in order to meet the Utah Core Standards; and,

WHEREAS, Utah Code requires statewide assessments of students’ proficiency of Utah Core Standards for the purposes of grading schools, and evaluation of teachers and administrators, and this data is used for assessing the effectiveness of the system, federally required reporting, comparing Utah with other states and countries, and funding particular priorities; and,

WHEREAS, summative testing must remain a statewide function, and controlled and supervised by the State Board; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to UCA §53A-14-101 thru 107, the State Board has appointed a State Instructional Materials Commission to vet educational curriculum and make recommendations to teachers as to whether the textbooks, teaching materials and lesson plans reviewed are aligned to the Utah Core Standards. The results of these reviews are placed into Utah’s Recommended Instructional Materials (“RIM”) database which can be accessed by Utah teachers; and,

WHEREAS, there has been some level of confusion as to the roles that the State Board and its Utah State Office of Education play in determining curriculum; and,

WHEREAS, the State Board seeks to clarify and make plain its policy concerning such;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT KNOWN, that the Utah State Board of Education supports local control in the selection of curriculum by local school boards, charter school boards of trustees, traditional public schools, and teachers to meet the Utah Core Standards.

BE IT AFFIRMED, that the Utah State Board of Education, as directed by statute, will continue to provide as a resource to local school boards, charter school boards of trustees, traditional public schools, and teachers access to the RIM database in order to assist in the selection of appropriate textbooks, teaching materials and lesson plans.

BE IT RESOLVED, that the selection of textbooks, teaching materials, lesson plans and other curriculum remains the absolute prerogative of the local school boards, charter school boards of trustees, traditional public schools, and teachers. The Utah State Board of Education calls upon the Governor of the State of Utah and the members of the Utah Senate and the Utah House of Representatives: 1) to support the State Board’s position on local control of curriculum; 2) to resist the demands calling for the State Board to mandate curriculum, including specific math textbooks; and 3) to collaborate with the State Board in supporting local school boards, charter school boards of trustees, traditional public schools, and teachers in their selection of appropriate curriculum to satisfy the Utah Core Standards.

PASSED and APPROVED this 8th day of August, 2014.

UTAH STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
David L. Crandall, Chair
Lorraine Austin, Board Secretary

Copies:
Governor Gary Herbert
Members, Utah State Senate
Members, Utah House of Representatives
Utah Republic Party delegates
Utah Democratic Party delegates
Local school board members
School district superintendents
Charter school directors
Utah Public Education Coalition
Prosperity 2020
Chambers of Commerce

Utah State Board of Education
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