Update on Common Core Status in the States: Part One
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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…
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.”
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. …
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.
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 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.