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Update on Common Core Status in the States: Part One

February 6, 2014

With many states beginning their legislative sessions, issues surrounding the fate of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are front and center in statehouses across the country.

Below is the first installment of updates on the issue of CCSS. Given the volume of information, I will likely have to break the information into three posts.

For this post, I include CCSS information on twelve states: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, and South Carolina.

The Kansas and South Carolina updates actually involve anti-CCSS proposed legislation/resolution in the US Senate.

Alabama Rebrands the Core

Stephanie Bell, a 18-years Board member in her sixth term, reached out to Breitbart News and provided in-depth information the local media left out in their reports. 

“This was simple house keeping,” Bell told Breitbart News. “The content did not change.”

Bell was one who voted against the changes because it did not go far enough. She told Bice that despite the changes, Alabama is still a Common Core state. The states using Common Core standards are allowed to add up to 15% of their own standards, but they still use Common Core aligned assessments and curriculum. Bice tried to convince her they were now using the Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, but she knew despite the name change it was still Common Core. 

Arizona Legislation Resists Rebrand of the Core

Arizona’s lawmakers are debating the funding for and implementation of Common Core, otherwise known in Arizona as Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS). Governor Brewer and Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal are determined to push through the federal program, which was adopted by the State of Board Education in 2010.

In her budget, Brewer has $13.5 million for the test associated with the standards. Essentially, the standards are the foundation of the curricula, and the curricula is the foundation of the test. The standards were developed by primarily east coast test making companies with virtually no input by classroom teachers.

State Senator Kelli Ward has already introduced three pieces of legislation:  S1121 (high school graduation; tests; moratorium, S1155 (schools; Common Core; opt-out), and S1153 (schools; curricular standards; assessments; requirements).

S1155 will allow school districts and charter schools to opt out of any testing and requirements based on the standards. …

Representative Justin Pierce has proposed H2316 (schools; local control; student privacy). The bill would prohibit the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction from adopting federally-mandated curricula or instructional approaches, prohibit federal funding, which requires the adoption of certain federal standards, and require any changes made to state standards to be conducted in public process.

Senator Chester Crandell has proposed S1095 (withdrawal from PARCC), which would not only force the withdrawal from PARCC, it would prevent the state from entering into an agreement, without notification to the Legislature, with any outside entity developing multi-state or potentially multi-state assessments and tests.

Colorado Introduces Bill to Study the Core

A bill intended to delay certain statewide assessments in Colorado schools was recently introduced to the Colorado General Assembly.

Senate Bill 14-136 is intended to push back the implementation of Common Core State Standards in Colorado schools to the 2015-16 school year in order to study its effects. Under the terms of the bill, schools would continue to use the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) for one more year instead of testing from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

The legislation also would create the Colorado Academic Standards Task Force — consisting of the chairman of the State Board of Education, state legislators and selected members of the state board, parents and educators — to begin holding public hearings this summer and report findings and recommendations by the end of 2015.

Connecticut Introduces Bill to Block Advertising the Core

When the new legislative season begins on February 5, Connecticut State Senator Joe Markley (R-16) will introduce a bill that blocks officials from spending $1 million on an advertising campaign for Common Core.

“Why should the government spend a million dollars of taxpayer money to convince people why they should like Common Core?” Markley told Breitbart News. “They passed it without asking us, the educators or parents.”

Connecticut is offering a $1 million contract, and four public companies are competing for it. Their names are withheld under Connecticut’s Freedom of Information statutes.

Note: Connecticut needs federal permission to delay CCSS testing for one year. States that have signed on with CCSS in order to escape No Child Left Behind (NCLB) must ask the federal government for permission to delay CCSS testing:

By the 2014-15 school, the federal government still expects every student to take the Common Core tests and have them linked to teacher evaluations, as promised by Connecticut officials in its bid to rid itself of the onerous requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Law.

The federal government also expects Connecticut to begin using the results of those evaluations to inform personnel decisions by the 2015-16 school year. However, the education department told state education leaders last fall that they can apply to push that date back until the 2016-17 school year.

Florida Rebrands the Core

In another effort to scrub the phrase “Common Core” from Florida’s education landscape, a proposed bill in the Florida House deletes the words in favor of more generic, and less controversial, terms. The document scratches out “common core standards” and “common core assessments,” replacing them with the “state standards” and “statewide, standardized assessments,” according to an analysis by House staff.

State leaders have faced heated opposition in recent months because of Florida’s embrace of Common Core, benchmarks for what students should learn in language arts and math.

In response, they’ve moved to call them state standards, Florida standards or our standards, arguing the new names makes sense since Florida is making changes (though minor ones) to Common Core, which was adopted by 45 states.

“Call our standards the Florida Standards,” said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart last week.

The proposed bill by the House’s K-12 education panel is a catch-all that mostly deletes references to obsolete program or fixes technical problems. But it also does away with references to Common Core where standards and standardized tests are discussed.

Georgia Introduces Bills to Withdraw from the Core

Rep. Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, and Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, chairmen of the House and Senate education committees, met with reporters last week during a conference hosted by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.

Legislation in both chambers seeks Georgia’s withdrawal from participation in the Common Core because conservatives say it amounts to federal control of what’s taught in state schools and they object to some books on a suggested reading list.

“I cannot tell you what the outcome will be,” Tippins said. “I can tell you that the governor acted very prudently this spring when he withdrew from the testing consortium. Whoever controls the tests controls the process.”

Gov. Nathan Deal said the multistate consortium developing online tests of student knowledge would have been too expensive and that Georgia should draft its own exams. He also asked the state Board of Education to evaluate the Common Core to decide if the state should change what parts of it is used.

Illinois Sits on Two Delay Bills for the Core

Illinois has two CCSS delay bills, one in the House, and one in the Senate:

Urges the State Board of Education to delay the implementation of the new Common Core State Standards and requests that the State Board of Education and General Assembly work together to create a viable plan to provide funding to school districts that need improvements and modernizations to comply with the new Common Core State Standards and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

The last action on both bills was on October 22, 2013.

Indiana to Rebrand Core (?)

Legislation to repeal the national Common Core education standards in Indiana passed the Senate Education and Career Development Committee on Wednesday, but it does not prevent portions of the standards from being adopted for the state’s classrooms.

Senate Bill 91, authored by Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, would erase the Common Core curriculum already in use and require the State Board of Education to adopt its own college and career readiness educational standards by July 1. …

Lobbying organizations that support Common Core surprised some lawmakers by not fighting the bill. Their reason? The legislation would not prevent the state board from adopting pieces of Common Core and mixing it with standards unique to Indiana. …

Erin Tuttle, founder of the grassroots Hoosiers Against Common Core, said the State Board of Education should not make a few tweaks and slap the label “Indiana Standards” on new guidelines. She said parents will notice if their children are assigned homework that looks like Common Core.

“Parents will be outraged. They will feel tricked,” she said.

That possibility was not lost on Schneider, who said Common Core backers shouldn’t expect to “pat opponents on the head” and push the controversial standards through.

Iowa Introduces Bill to Pull Out of Smarter Balanced

State Representative Tedd Gassman (R-Scarville) introduced a bill, HF 2141, that directs the Iowa Department of Education to pull out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.  It has been cosponsored by State Representatives Sandy Salmon (R-Denver), Dwayne Alons (R-Hull), Larry Sheets (R-Moulton), Greg Heartsill (R-Columbia), Dave Maxwell (R-Gibson), Tom Shaw (R-Laurens), John Landon (R-Ankeny), Ralph Watts (R-Adel), Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig) and Walt Rogers (R-Cedar Falls). This bill has been assigned to a subcommittee…

Kansas US Senator Introduces Bill to Block Federal Coercion for the Core

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, today introduced a bill to preserve state education autonomy by prohibiting the federal government from coercing states to adopt education standards like Common Core.

“Setting high standards for our schools, our teachers and our children is the right thing to do, but those standards should be decided in Kansas, without bribes or mandates from Washington,” Roberts said in a news release. “We need to get the federal government out of the classroom, and return community decisions back to where they belong — in the community.”

Kentucky House Ed Likely to Ignore Bill Against the Core

State Rep. Derrick Graham, chairman of the House Education Committee, said he doesn’t intend to call for a vote a bill that would eliminate the Common Core national education standards and the Next Generation Science Standards in Kentucky.

House Bill 215 was introduced last week by state Rep. Thomas Kerr, R-Taylor Mill, and was co-signed by several House Republicans, including Stan Lee, R-Lexington. …

Gov. Steve Beshear decided in 2013 to implement the science standards even though a legislative review subcommittee rejected them. …

House Bill 215 would prohibit the Kentucky Board of Education and the Kentucky Department of Education from implementing the English language arts and mathematics academic content standards developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative and the science academic content standards developed by the Next Generation Science Standards Initiative. …

The legislation would require the state education board to recommend new content standards to school districts and schools after consulting the Council on Postsecondary Education, and would require public involvement in developing standards. …

With residents pushing for the standards, and “with the education community behind it … and the governor also being supportive of it, I don’t see the need for us to take up the issue,” Graham said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s settled.”

Note the spin below:

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said that bills like HB215 are popping up across the nation., He said it is “more of a political issue than an education issue.” Already, districts choose and local boards of education approve the curriculum their teachers use, Holliday said. He added that local school boards have the authority to go beyond the standards, which represent the minimum of what students should know and be able to do.

South Carolina Governor Resists the Core

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Gov. Nikki Haley urged South Carolina lawmakers Thursday to scrap the national Common Core curriculum that is being phased in at schools throughout the state. …

Haley voiced support for a South Carolina Senate bill that would nullify implementation of Common Core standards in the state’s public schools. The measure is sponsored by several conservative state Senate Republicans, including Kevin Bryant of Anderson.

“When that bill gets to my desk, I absolutely will sign it,” Haley said.  …

The resolution declared that the decision by state officials in 2010 to adopt the Common Core standards “obliterates 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.”

UPDATE 02-09-14:  Sent to my email:

My name is Johnnelle Raines. I am the Upstate Regional Leader of SC Parents Involved in Education. … We have two bills in our legislator right now. SC Senate Bill 300 and House Bill 3943 which will both effectively kill Common Core. SC Senate Bill 300 is in sub-committee and a final vote as to whether or not to send it out to full committee will be held Feb. 19, 2014 at 10am. SC Parents Involved in Education have been working hard to make sure this happens. We have 5 regional groups who have many warriors that have helped to get this Bill to the forefront! Our web site is www.scpie.org and we would appreciate any help you can give us toward recruiting more members to help us in this fight against Goliath…we need to be finding those five shiny stones and need your help.

South Carolina Also Resists the Core in the US Senate

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham will introduce a Senate resolution on Wednesday aimed at rolling back implementation of the Common Core standards, which Graham fears are eroding states’ rights and leading to a national, federal education curriculum.

A spokesperson for Graham told The Daily Caller that the resolution will be released on Wednesday.

The resolution will call on the federal Department of Education to stop strong-arming states into adopting the standards by making federal grants contingent upon them. It also establishes that local education authorities, not the federal government, should set curriculum requirements. …

Graham’s resolution could open a new front in the public debate over the federal takeover of the American education curriculum–this time, within the federal government itself.

A Closing Observation

Truly “voluntary,” “flexible”  standards “developed by teachers” would not be causing such nationally-pervasive controversy and upheaval.

In contrast, a top-down, inflexible, coerced set of standards imposed upon school systems across the nation by those whose career-climbing livelihoods seldom if ever touch the daily life of the public school classroom– now that is just right for creating the democratic acid reflux conditions evident in this post.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

15 Comments
  1. Laura h. Chapman permalink

    Thanks for tracking this for all of us.
    Politico had a link to another Gates-funded Harvard project and report that argues for GREATER business engagement in education, euphemistically called partnerships. Among the advisors, listed on the last page are:
    Tom A. Boasberg Superintendent Denver Public Schools
    John E. Deasy Superintendent Los Angeles Unified School District
    MaryEllen Elia Superintendent Hillsborough County Public Schools
    John C. White Superintendent Louisiana Department of Education
    John B. King, Jr. Education Commissioner New York State
    Sydney J. Morris Co-Founder and Co-CEO Educators 4 Excellence
    Elisa Villanueva Beard Co-CEO Teach for America
    Paul T. Hill Founder Center on Reinventing Public Education Seattle
    Robert E. Wise, Jr. President Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia

    The 32 page report is at http://www.hbs.edu/competitiveness/pdf/lasting-impact.pdf

    • Laura, thanks for the link. Funny how corporate reformers complain of too much money being spent on American education are now fundraising in this brochure.

  2. Reblogged this on Saint Simon Common Core Information and commented:
    Part one of a state by state summary of common core status and legislative action. Check to see of your state is listed.

  3. Rick permalink

    Having spent time wading through state dockets looking for testing-related legislation, I very much appreciate this post. I’m specifically looking for legislation that addresses keeping testing time short (PARCC will test 5 times a year). I also appreciated seeing a concrete amount for testing ($13.5M in Arizona, I believe) and will keep an eye out for that kind of information. RI, where I’m active, has several bills in the hopper and may end up with a 5 year moratorium.

  4. PegMartin@aol.com permalink

    Thank you so much for this email. I had started to collect data to do a report like this one. p

  5. “Democratic acid reflex” Beautiful and perfect. Well said!

  6. Lisa permalink

    In Mississippi, the chairman of the education committee, Sen Gray Tollison, would not release a senate bill on Common Core to the committee for a vote or discussion. He killed the bill by leaving it on his desk, giving another year for Common Core to be pushed down our throats.

  7. Thanks for the update. Stephanie Bell and Betty Peters are the best members of the State Board of Education that Alabama has! Even though State Senator Scott Beason has a bill to get rid of Common Core, it has been said that discussion of Common Core will not be allowed to take place during this Legislative Session. if a person were to look at the Standards being taught in math and Language Arts on Alabama’s State Department of Education website, it is easy to tell which standards are pure Common Core and which standards have been added in Alabama. The ones added in by Alabama have a symbol of the state next to them.

  8. Maybe Republicans have some uses yet.

  9. Wisconsin Governor proposes “revisiting” CC and adding WI produced standards and benchmarks. Although Common Core has strong support in the WI Department of Public Education, it may not come out as “standard” as the national movement would like.
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/scott-walker-backs-changing-common-core-standards-in-wisconsin-b99191158z1-241851461.html

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Schneider: A State-by-State Update on Common Core: Part 1 | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. Common Core National & Local Updates | Sparta Education Association
  3. Schneider: State-by-State Update on Common Core Controversies–Part 2 | Diane Ravitch's blog
  4. Common Core Standards Update | Seattle Education
  5. Update on Common Core Status in the States: Part One | Are We Aware Yet? Political News Blog-Current News Political News Blog

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