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Jonathan Johnson, Republican candidate for Governor, called today for Utah to end the use the SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) testing. 

SAGE testing is linked to the federal Common Core Standards.

Johnson stated: “Utah has extremely talented and dedicated teachers.  However, over the last few years we’ve turned them into fulltime SAGE test preparers.  But to what end?  With the recent enactment of H.B. 201 (Student Testing Amendments), the SAGE testing results are no longer used in teacher evaluations.  Further, students know SAGE testing results don’t factor in their grades, so many don’t care about or try to do well on the tests.  Worse, students rarely, if ever, review their SAGE testing results.  If we’re not using the SAGE testing to evaluate teachers and we’re not using it to help children learn, what is the purpose of the SAGE testing? 

Many parents are suspicious of the state longitudinal data systems and the data-mining collection through the SAGE tests that is shared beyond the school level.  Parents must be able to see what data schools are collecting on their children.  That is not the case with the SAGE testing.

The implementation SAGE testing was a mistake.  Gov. Herbert signed the bill funding it.  It’s time to end the use of SAGE testing in Utah.  I’ll work with the legislature to make that happen.

Having high K-12 education standards and measuring against those standards are vitally important.  As Pearson’s Law states:  ‘That which is measured improves.  That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.’  However, the end-of-year SAGE testing as currently administered is not a good measurement of anything.”

Johnson also reiterated his opposition to Common Core:  “I oppose Common Core.  It runs counter to the conservative principle that small government, local control, and family-based decisions work best.  As governor, I’ll reverse the trend of giving up our decision-making power to D.C. bureaucrats.  I strongly believe Utah’s students will benefit greatly from more localization and personalization.”

For more detail of Johnson’s K-12 education plan, see here.