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CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE ELEMENTARY AND

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SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT

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2015 GENERAL SESSION

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STATE OF UTAH

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Chief Sponsor: Steve Eliason

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Senate Sponsor: Ann Millner

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8     LONG TITLE
9     General Description:
10          This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor calls upon the United
11     States Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
12     Highlighted Provisions:
13          This resolution:
14          ▸     calls upon the members of Utah's congressional delegation to sponsor legislation in
15     Congress that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA,
16     also known as No Child Left Behind); and
17          ▸     urges the State Board of Education to continue to protect and preserve Utah's
18     exclusive sovereignty over Utah's education system if the State Board of Education
19     considers it necessary or prudent to seek a waiver or renewal of provisions of ESEA
20     as currently authorized.
21     Special Clauses:
22          None
23     

24     Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein:
25          WHEREAS, Utah seeks to provide high-quality education for the children of the state;
26          WHEREAS, numerous education groups, business groups, and other stakeholders have
27     called upon education leaders to substantially reform and improve the education system in

28     Utah;
29          WHEREAS, such reforms have required substantial and continuing changes, including
30     changes to Utah's teacher compensation system, educator evaluation system, teacher training,
31     education standards, and assessment systems;
32          WHEREAS, the Legislature is, under the Utah Constitution, obligated to establish and
33     maintain public schools in the state of Utah;
34          WHEREAS, the Utah State Board of Education is, under the Utah Constitution and as
35     further directed by the Legislature in statute, obligated to exercise general control and
36     supervision over public schools in the state of Utah;
37          WHEREAS, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301, et seq.
38     (ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind), as implemented, has demanded states, including
39     Utah, to make many education reforms;
40          WHEREAS, Utah's education leaders feel strongly that education reforms must be
41     under the full control of Utah's constitutionally established structures;
42          WHEREAS, funding under Title I of ESEA is conditioned on compliance with the
43     provisions of ESEA;
44          WHEREAS, ESEA mandates 100% student proficiency by 2014 in math and reading
45     (the federal mandate);
46          WHEREAS, the United States Department of Education (USDE), Congress, and the
47     states agree that the federal mandate is unattainable and must be repealed;
48          WHEREAS, ESEA was scheduled to be re-authorized in 2007, at which time the
49     federal mandate would be repealed;
50          WHEREAS, Congress failed to re-authorize ESEA in 2007;
51          WHEREAS, USDE, recognizing that the unattainable federal mandate would leave
52     states at risk of losing Title I funding, instituted a process whereby states could escape the
53     consequences of the federal mandate by applying for a waiver under conditions determined by
54     USDE;
55          WHEREAS, it is argued, in a forthcoming Vanderbilt Law Review article, that the
56     ESEA waiver provisions used by USDE may constitute an unconstitutional encroachment on
57     the rights and prerogatives of the states in the United States' system of dual sovereignty;
58          WHEREAS, in 2010, the Utah State Board of Education adopted new education

59     curriculum standards, known as the Utah Core Standards, to ensure that Utah students are
60     prepared for college-level work and competition in the economy of the twenty-first century;
61          WHEREAS, on 5 March 2012, then State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr.
62     Larry Shumway, asserted to the United States Secretary of Education, Dr. Arne Duncan
63     (Secretary Duncan), that Utah, through its State Board of Education, reserves "the right to
64     make changes to, and to add or subtract from, the Utah Core Standards at its discretion" and,
65     moreover, to assert and maintain "complete control of Utah's learning standards in all areas of
66     our public education system";
67          WHEREAS, on 7 March 2012, Secretary Duncan responded to Dr. Shumway's
68     assertion of state education sovereignty, "confirm[ing] our full and unqualified agreement with
69     your letter and your understanding of the law regarding State control over K-12 learning
70     standards...States have the sole right to set learning standards";
71          WHEREAS, on 22 August 2014, the Utah State Board of Education applied for an
72     ESEA waiver under conditions set forth by USDE ("Utah's ESEA Flexibility Waiver");
73          WHEREAS, Utah's ESEA Flexibility Waiver was expressly conditioned on Utah's
74     absolute and exclusive right to modify, without negative effects, its waiver, the Utah Core
75     Standards, state assessment and accountability requirements, and teacher and principal
76     evaluations without approval of USDE;
77          WHEREAS, the State Board of Education has reserved the right to withdraw Utah's
78     ESEA Flexibility Waiver if the board finds that the waiver violates Utah Code Ann. Subsection
79     53A-1-402.6(7);
80          WHEREAS, Utah's ESEA Flexibility Waiver, including the clear assertion of Utah's
81     unequivocal sovereignty over its education system, was accepted and approved without
82     modification by USDE;
83          WHEREAS, by December 2014, USDE began preparations for another round of ESEA
84     waivers, now known as renewals, to last for a period of three years;
85          WHEREAS, it is the intent of the State Board of Education to seek an ESEA renewal
86     from USDE and, in doing so, would again assert Utah's sovereignty over its education system;
87          WHEREAS, the need for ESEA waivers and renewals stems from systematic and
88     widely recognized flaws in ESEA that have prompted virtually every state in the nation to seek
89     ESEA waivers or renewals;

90          WHEREAS, while Utah desires to receive its rightful portion of funds distributed under
91     ESEA, it will not sacrifice any degree of state sovereignty to obtain such funds; and
92          WHEREAS, ESEA and its implementing regulations purport to encourage innovation,
93     reform, and change in education systems, which are concepts that parties to this concurrent
94     resolution agree with in principle:
95          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
96     Governor concurring therein, calls upon Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Mike Lee,
97     Representative Rob Bishop, Representative Jason Chaffetz, Representative Chris Stewart, and
98     Representative Mia Love to sponsor or cosponsor legislation in Congress to reauthorize ESEA
99     to render ESEA waivers or renewals unnecessary and to preserve Utah's state sovereignty over
100     education.
101          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor urge the State
102     Board of Education to continue to protect and preserve Utah's exclusive sovereignty over
103     Utah's education system if the State Board of Education considers it necessary or prudent to
104     seek a waiver or renewal of provisions of ESEA as currently authorized.






Legislative Review Note
     as of 2-16-15 5:00 PM


Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel