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Low Test Scores May Add To Utah Debate Over Teaching Math

Utah’s path to the Common Core began with a math problem.

In 2002, the state school board adopted a new framework for the math skills kids should learn each year, figuring it would guide Utah classrooms for a decade.

But the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank, gave Utah’s locally developed standards a “D” grade. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave them a “C.” And by 2006, the Utah Legislature was demanding a rewrite, fired up by a controversial effort in the Alpine School District to try a new approach to math. New standards adopted in 2007 ultimately earned an “A-” from Fordham, but some unimpressed lawmakers threatened to pass a law changing them again.