In fact, the Utah State Office of Education, with the help of educators, wrote all but 651 of the 11,783 questions in its SAGE testing bank and is sharing the rest with two other states.
The questions were scrutinized by five committees, including a 15-member parent panel that spent a week last fall going over the questions, looking for any that might have a "liberal" bent or otherwise are not up to the conservative standards of most Utahns. They found nothing nefarious.
The questions, being used this year in Utah's first assessment of how well students are learning under new Common Core standards for language arts and math, are being "rented" for use in Florida, a state that conservative Utah legislators hold in high regard when it comes to public education. The scores are used in determining the grades schools are assigned under a Legislature-mandated grading system and in teacher evaluations.
But inaccurate and pervasive rumors continue to spread the myth that Common Core is an attempt by the federal government to brainwash young Utah minds. In reality, it is a product of a coalition of dozens of states that rightly recognize the value of a common standard of basic learning throughout the country so students' progress can be monitored and compared.
Individual states produce curriculum. The Common Core only provides an accepted level of achievement for each grade level.
There is some justification for the concern that Utah children are tested so often that teachers are overwhelmed. But the SAGE test, using "adaptive" technology so questions offer the right level of challenge to each student, is a valuable tool to boost learning.
It's the one test Utah should keep, despite the unreasonable fears of a few.