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UPDATE: Common Core Unrest in 22 States

December 20, 2013

On November 23, 2013, I wrote a post briefly detailing the 17 states in which officials (legislators, governors, state superintendents) have formally registered some anti-Common Core (CCSS) intention (e.g., legislation, resolution).

Today I will repost the original 17 states and add another 5, to yield now 22 states in which CCSS questioning might well lead to its restriction (as in the CCSS assessments’ being delayed or canceled) or its demise.

Some of the information listed happened prior to my previous posting. I only just became aware of two anti-CCSS resolutions passed this summer, so I included those in this post.

CCSS was not democratically vetted prior to 45 governors and state superintendents (and let us not forget the District of Columbia) signing to accept it.

No legislative vote was required for CCSS acceptance as far as President Obama and US Secretary of Education Duncan were concerned. Just two signatures sealed the deal for a state to agree to the inflexible (and at the time of signing, possibly unfinished) CCSS as part of  Race to the Top (RTTT).

In order to coerce states into agreeing to this “state-led initiative,” the federal government had to become the incentive-dangling “hub.” Thus, “state led” means “led right into RTTT agreement with the USDOE.”

“Led” like little governor and state-super moths to a potential $700-million, Arne-orchestrated flame.

And with them, each pair brought along an entire state education system. No democratic procedure required.

It seems that in many states, the upcoming legislative session will be a time of reckoning for this gross bypassing of democratic procedure.

In the list of 22 states below, I include an excerpt from the linked article. Follow the link for additional details. Headings for the newly added states are in caps.

Just shy of one-half of the states whose governors and state superintendents signed the CCSS Memorandum of Understanding as part of US Department of Education RTTT funding are now wrestling with the two-person-approved CCSS.

Alabama 11-16-13

The Alabama state school board on Thursday voted to rescind a 2009 agreement that “commits states to a state-led process” that leads to adoption of the Common Core. 

But the vote to rescind drew funny alliances, as the supporters of Common Core were the ones pushing to rescind the old commitment.

The Alabama school board members who have been critical of the controversial national standards called the vote a ruse designed to “make it appear the board has done something to correct the Common Core disaster.”

In the end, the vote passed, and the agreement was rescinded. The move was offered as an assurance that only Alabama educators will control Alabama’s curriculum. But Alabama standards remain unchanged, and those align with Common Core.

Florida 11-20-13

Florida’s public school superintendents on Tuesday asked for a three-year “pause” before the state fully implements the Common Core education standards in every kindergarten through high school classroom in the state.

Volusia County School Superintendent Margaret Smith told the state Board of Education, meeting in Gainesville, that the state’s 67 school superintendents strongly support the Common Core standards but think the districts need more time to adequately prepare to teach the new standards as well as use a still-developing test to measure student performance.

Georgia 11-17-13

Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick, has earned numerous followers both in the General Assembly and in grassroots groups for his leadership in opposition. He intends to push anew his bill to force Georgia’s complete withdrawal from Common Core.

That’s despite Gov. Nathan Deal’s executive orders to prevent the sharing of student data with entities outside the state and to develop the state’s own student assessments rather than the expensive, computerized exams offered through the national program. It’s also mindful of Deal’s request that the state Board of Education conduct its own review of the standards.

Indiana 11-18-13

Indiana’s top Republican lawmakers say it’s time to move on from the Common Core standards initiative and write state-level expectations for students.

House Speaker Brian Bosma called the fight over nationally-crafted education standards known as the Common Core a “distraction” and says it’s time for Indiana to develop its own expectations for students.

Iowa 10-16-13

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed an executive order on Wednesday rejecting federal intrusion into the state’s education system. The order, Number 83, declares that the state, “not the federal government of any other organization, shall determine the content of Iowa’s state academic standards”.

The order also states that school districts may also choose to use additional assessments to measure student progress.

Kansas 11-22-13

Gov. Sam Brownback is in the process of researching Kansas’ mathematics and English standards.

Asked whether the state should retain or drop the Common Core standards adopted by Kansas in 2010, the governor told The Topeka Capital-Journal in an interview Thursday he is examining the matter.

“We’re researching and looking at that now,” Brownback said.

Kentucky 11-18-13

Kentucky has often been hailed as the exemplar of implementation of the Common Core State Standards, from its handling of new classroom practices to the way it’s massaged the public perception of lower standardized test scores. But a couple of developments over the last week might give Bluegrass champions of the common core, and friends of the standards in general, some pause about the standards.

The first potential kink is a relatively straightforward one: A political activist, David Adams, has filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the common core in Kentucky. What’s his argument? He essentially says that the Kentucky Legislature has failed to fulfill its obligation under the state constitution to ensure an “efficient system of common schools” and to make sure those schools are operated “without waste, duplication, mismanagement or political influence.” The Kentucky state school board officially adopted the standards in June 2010. But because state officials and others announced that they would be adopting the standards before they were finalized, Adams told me, they not only jumped the gun, but also crossed the line into some form of mismanagement or malign political influence.

Louisiana 11-21-13

Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White announced Thursday the state would be delaying how students, teachers and schools are held accountable under the Common Core State Standards and related testing for at least two years.

He also said the state would be shifting to a “a long-term, 10-year view of what our education system can accomplish with these standards.” The announcement came after months of pressure from parents, teachers and political groups urging the state to delay or drop the standards all together.

Maine 09-10-13

[Maine Governor] LePage’s effort to distance himself from Common Core was evident last week, when he disavowed support for the standards and, in a separate move, issued an executive order saying the state would not divulge personal student information to the federal government.

The governor’s statements seemed aimed at his supporters on the right, who were crucial in lifting him to the Blaine House in 2010. But those statements won’t endear him to business interests, which have emerged as strong backers of Common Core.

 Maryland 11-21-13

Many [teachers and parents], they (MD senators) said [to MD Superintendent Lowery], complained about how the state is simultaneously implementing three big programs: a new testing system, new ways to evaluate teachers and a more rigorous set of education standards known as the Common Core. …

Lowery responded that the state has already sought ways to slow down the reforms, delaying when the new teacher evaluation system tied to student achievement takes effect and when new tests will be used to measure the state’s education system. …

This is one of the worst program implementations I have ever seen, in terms of educating parents and families,” Sen. Ed Reilly, an Anne Arundel County Republican, said to Lowery and other top state education officials. “Public relations is part of your job — all of your jobs — and it’s been done very poorly.”

Other senators warned that missteps and disruptions could jeopardize Maryland’s coveted ranking by Education Week as having the best schools in the nation.

Massachusetts 11-22-13

This week, the Massachusetts Board of Education voted to slow the transition to Common Core.

The board decided to delay implementation for two years while it compares the Common Core aligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests to their existing—and widely praised—Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam.

Commissioner Mitchell Chester, who also chairs the governing board for the PARCC consortium, says that adopting the Common Core by the 2014–2015 deadline would cause Massachusetts “too precipitous a transition.”

MISSISSIPPI 12-17-13

Mississippi’s governor has taken a firm step in an effort by conservatives to halt the implementation of the Common Core Standards in that state in the coming school year. 

Gov. Phil Bryant issued an executive order affirming Mississippi’s right and responsibility to define its own public school standards and curricula.

State Sen. Michael Watson says while the order cannot halt the Common Core, it is a good first step in abolishing it.

After working with the governor on problems with Common Core, Watson says Gov. Bryant “understands this is a bad thing for us as well, so he took a big stand today and is helping lead the charge.”

Watson says just as big a problem as the Core curriculum is the federal assessments of the standards. 

“It’s not just Common Core standards that we’ve got to be afraid of,” says the state senator. “It’s also the assessment that will eventually draft curriculum.” [Emphasis added.]

New Hampshire 10-31-13

Even as teachers move forward with implementing the Common Core in their classrooms, there continues to be resistance to the controversial new educational standards. …

There are at least six bill requests dealing with the Common Core that lawmakers have filed for 2014. They range from completely terminating state participation in the Common Core to delaying the implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

New Jersey 11-20-13

Twelve Republican state senators asked Education Commissioner Chris Cerf on Tuesday for more details on the Common Core, a new set of guidelines for what students should learn in math and language arts in every grade.

In a letter released by Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris, the group asked Cerf to explain the rationale behind the guidelines, their cost, the method for tracking student performance and the assurance of privacy for student data. Pennacchio said he was not hostile to the Common Core but sought answers to questions that parents and teachers have asked. 

New York 11-21-13

A group of eight prominent school principals from around New York State have drafted a letter to parents expressing their deep concerns about the validity of new Common Core-aligned standardized tests that  state education officials are giving to students in grades three through eight — and in just a few weeks more than 530 other principals and nearly 3,000 parents and teachers have signed in support.

NORTH CAROLINA 12-17-13

RALEIGH – — A joint legislative committee charged with scrutinizing the new Common Core standards used in North Carolina schools for math and English held its first meeting Tuesday and the talk quickly turned to overhauling or dumping them.

“‘Common Core’ in my neck of the woods is poison language,” said Sen. Jerry Tillman, an Archdale Republican and retired school administrator.

The standards, which were adopted in North Carolina in 2010, are supposed to set a clear, consistent blueprint for what students should learn from kindergarten through high school. The idea is to better prepare them for college and careers.

All but five states have adopted Common Core, but it has increasingly come under attack, particularly from conservatives, and some states are now considering dropping the standards.

The opposition led legislative leaders to create the committee.

Ohio 11-21-13

Members of the Ohio House of Representatives’ Committee on  Education pored over hours’ worth of written and oral testimony, mostly from  opponents to the national standards known as Common Core. COLUMBUS, Ohio — A bill that would exclude Ohio from impending  national education standards received a second hearing Wednesday before a  gallery of vocal critics that filled a hearing and overflow rooms at the  statehouse. 

Members of the Ohio House of  Representatives’ Committee on Education pored over hours’ worth of written and  oral testimony, mostly from opponents to the national standards known as Common  Core, asserting the most recent federal directives on education are both  substandard and too intrusive to students’ personal information.

Oklahoma 11-05-13

Parents, teachers and legislators are voicing their concerns over a set of public education principles known as common core state standards.

A legislative hearing on common core was held Tuesday before a House committee. There is growing opposition, especially among some conservative House legislators, to the standards that were approved in 2010 and are now being implemented by Oklahoma school districts. …

Some opponents claim the standards are a federal intrusion into the state’s public education system.

House Speaker T.W. Shannon introduced a bill earlier this year to repeal the standards, but Republicans leaders in the Senate and Gov. Mary Fallin say they support common core.

 OREGON 08-12-13

The Oregon Republican Party’s State Central Committee unanimously passed on Saturday a resolution opposing the Common Core State Standards joining the Republican National Committee and other state parties.

Here is the text of the resolution:

Resolution Opposing Common Core Education Standards

Whereas: Common Core Education Standards (Common Core”) represents an attempt by The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the U.S. Department of Education to impose a one size fits all, top down approach to education on all American schools; and

Whereas: Common Core, which is being implemented in Oregon, represents an effort to subordinate local control of Oregon’s public schools to a nationalized and standardized American education “one-size-fits-all” system; and

Whereas:  The National Republican Party Platform (p. 35) specifically states its opposition to a “…one size fits all approach to education” and supports “…providing broad educational choices at the State and local level”; and

Whereas: Common core is being used to build a comprehensive database to measure students’ progress and gather other personal, non-academic data; and

Whereas:  Data may be obtained not only by questioning students but by the use of facial-monitoring equipment, neuro-psychological testing and sensors which are strapped to their bodies; and

Whereas:   More than 500 K-3 education professionals have signed a statement opposing Common Core; and

Whereas:  The cost to Oregon taxpayers of implementing Common Core will be an estimated $182.027 million dollars; ….

SOUTH CAROLINA 12-18-13

The executive committee of the S.C. Republican Party has joined an already political fight against Common Core educations standards. This week, the committee passed a resolution rejecting the K-12 education standards and urging state lawmakers to do the same.
The resolution calls Common Core a “national scheme” that will lead to national education standards, “obliterat(ing) South Carolina’s constitutional autonomy over education in English language arts and mathematics, placing control in the hands of the federal government and unaccountable private interests in Washington, D.C.”

Opposing Common Core is a popular cause among Republicans, some more powerful than others, including Gov. Nikki Haley, state schools’ chief Mick Zais and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott.

Bills introduced in the S.C. Legislature would require the General Assembly to approve the adoption of new education standards. Others would void the state’s adoption of the standards, nearing full implementation in most S.C. public school districts.

WEST VIRGINIA 08-05-13

The state executive committee for the West Virginia Republican Party unanimously passed a resolution stating opposition against the Common Core State Standards.  From their press release sent this morning:

Charleston, W.Va.– At the summer meeting of the West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee, a Resolution was passed against the implementation of a “one size fits all” federal education standard known as Common Core Standards.  The Resolution closely mirrors what was passed unanimously by the Republican National Committee.

Following a thorough presentation by Angie Summers with the West Virginians Against Common Core, Senator Donna Boley (R-Pleasants) proposed the Resolution. 

“We oppose Common Core because it nationalizes our education system, removes local control of our schools and allows the release of private student data to the federal government,” said Senator Boley. “I am very appreciative that Chairman  Lucas invited our group, West Virginians Against Common Core, to present to the committee at our annual meeting. Angie Summers, who presented our reasoning to the Committee did a great job and the Resolution to oppose Common Core was passed unanimously,” added Boley.

Wisconsin 11-20-13

And as a local control state, school districts in Wisconsin technically wouldn’t have to adopt the standards, or could drop them altogether. That’s unlikely, however, because schools are still required to take annual state assessments. Starting next year, Wisconsin will switch to new computer-based standardized tests that are aligned to the Common Core. The ACT college and career exams, which will be required for high schoolers starting next year, will also be Common Core-based.

CCSS Naivete

High-powered proponents of CCSS seem to think that they can “strategize” the American public into acceptance of CCSS. They offer information bits about CCSS, that it “has been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia,” that it is “a rigorous set of standards” ensuring “readiness for college and career.” In the end, however, many will push against such orchestrated overhaul of American education for a single reason:

They are Americans who were overlooked in the decision making and are now being told that they must accept the inflexible outcome.

Whether or not this pushback will produce a toppling of CCSS remains to be seen. This next legislative session is critical in answering such a question.

As it currently stands, at least 22 states are feeling the tremors of a phenomenal democratic process violation.

18 Comments
  1. Laura h. Chapman permalink

    As you have documented, the state adoptions were pro-forma exercises, some with sign-ons mustered well before the CCSS were final and formally published. Even after the standards were published, the CCSS were being adopted and or promoted by people who had not read anything except the PR put out by Achieve–and arm of the National Governor’s Association with the rubber stamp of the Council of Chief State School Officers. It a wonderful and sad irony that many of the early endorsers were Republicans who are now leading the charge against the CCSS.
    Thanks to the “close reading” of the CCSS by teachers and other front-line workers in education who are the most knowledgeable about them, the word is getting out to parents and the press about the full implications of the CCSS. You are part of that process, and lots of us out here thank you I have forwarded your summary of “trends” to some colleagues in art education who may not have been tracking them.

  2. You should include California. It is the sleeping giant that no one is paying attention to and here is why: First, this past summer, California Republican Party overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning Common Core. Based on your above analysis, this alone would qualify the state on your list. Second, Gov. Brown has repeatedly stated he is opposed to any government-controlled standards and testing. He just said it again just this past week. Third, California received no Race to the Top grants for K-12. Therefore, CA would have no RTTP money to worry about and could reallocate state Common Core funds to spend on teachers and schools. Fourth, California is a “local control state.” This means that any school district may reject Common Core. Awareness and revolt is growing here (California has been lagging other states) and with the 2014 election year coming, watch the sparks fly, especially in Republican dominated school districts.

  3. kamakaju permalink

    And Arizona. Executive order 2013-08.

  4. Janice Strauss permalink

    At the close of the 2013 session, the NYS Assembly had a bill in its Education Committee, A07994 sponsored by A. Graf, with 33 co-sponsors, that called for a withdrawal from both Common Core and and RTTT. It would be helpful if fellow New Yorkers would call both their assembly reps and their state senators and request the moving forward of this bill. Also A 07442A relates to truth in testing. And there is a push for a bill to opt out of allowing a student’s personal information to be sent to inBloom. All these items will need to be renewed for the 2014 session.

  5. Mercedes, TN has a group of parents opposed to Common Core and they’ve presented their opposition to the state of TN legislative committee in Oct http://www.mommabears.org/
    and have started a petition https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Tennessee/322248557894269

    • Hi, JC. I read about the work of these TN moms. Let’s see if it leads to legislation.

  6. Louisiana Purchase permalink

    Love what you do, Mercedes, but you keep missing Utah. Utah was the first state to pull out of the testing consortia. See here: http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=22416975&itype=storyID

    • Utah is an unusual case in that it pulled out of testing early but seems fine with CC. My post focuses on current unrest (Originally Oct Nov 2013 but extended to Aug Dec 2013 in my update). The importance is that the current unrest could lead to a toppling of CC this legislative session. CC is a charged issue now, and CC is in an uncertain position in states in which even removal from testing appears to be the only legislative issue precisely because of the timing– that it is happening now, when the atmosphere in general is less friendly toward CC.

      As you have stated, Utah appears to be fine with CC now. So, no current “unrest.” Of course, this could change, but I haven’t read anything that indicates it will.

      When I find such evidence, I will include Utah.

  7. Carole permalink

    Mercedes, it’s true that Rhode Island’s Chief for Change commissioner of education Deborah Gist has just about brainwashed state government into high stakes testing,VAM, and inordinate spending on Common Core, but there is a brave group of state legislators working hard to keep lines of communication open between parents, teachers, and govt. They’ve been conducting meetings around the state and individually meet with the vocal opposition. Many of them – bright, young lawyers – took a version of the high stakes exam last November and despite their best efforts, failed the math portion, proving how ridiculous it is that based on the test, 4000 Rhode Island seniors won’t graduate.

    • Thanks, Carole. I will investigate and possibly include in my next update.

    • Carole, as a Rhode Islander interested in helping to fight Common Core, would you be willing to share names or websites that would help me reach the state legislators who are meeting around the state…I am only aware of Greg Amore in E. Providence…thanks, Susan

      • Carole permalink

        Hi, Susan. Just a quick reply. Check out all the state reps who are co-sponsoring Greg Amore’s bill. Also here are a few state senators who’ve voiced opposition to Gist moves: Adam Satchell, Maria Cimini, Edie Ajello. There are more all the time. Check out these two groups on Facebook; they carry announcements about meetings with legislators, conferences, etc.: Stop Common Core Rhode Island and Coalition to Defend Public Education. If you have any questions you think I can help with, you can contact me at marshall_carole@hotmail.com.

  8. CT did delay roll out until 2014. Push back is beginning before the New Year begins.

  9. Bill Morrison permalink

    I hope that you can add Connecticut to this list soon. Jonathan Pelto and I are discussing the organization of a statewide OPT OUT movement for the common core tests this year.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Schneider: Common Core Pushback in 23 States | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. If Common Core Is So Great, Why are 22/45 State Legislatures and State School Boards Overriding Their Governors? | kavips
  3. UPDATE: Common Core Unrest in 22 States | sternadvice

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