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Utah Withdraws From Common-Assessment Work

As state after state makes a commitment to one of the two state assessment consortia, Utah has gone the other way: Its board of education has decided to withdraw from the project altogether and find a vendor to build tests aligned to the common standards.

For anyone who's been watching Utah and the common standards, this is hardly a surprise, given the vocal opposition that's rippled through the debate there in recent months. Opponents have organized a series of discussions and other public events that have helped catalyze anti-common-core sentiment in Utah. And in May, the state board downgraded its role in the consortium from "governing" to "participating."

Even still, a small recent survey showed strong support among lawmakers, policymakers, and others. And common-core advocates have kept a close watch on the state in a bid to preserve the initiative there. No less a figure than Gene Wilhoit, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which co-led the common-standards initiative, flew to Utah last week to address the board. But the panel still went thumbs down, with a 12-3 vote.

That increases to six the number of states taking part in neither assessment consortium: Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Four still belong to both: Alabama, Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

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