HR 5: Student Success Act and Common Core
On February 22, 2015, I wrote a post in which I examined the testing language of the first 50 pages of HR 5, the Student Success Act (SSA), which the House will vote on soon (likely Friday, February 27, 2015) as a possible reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The full text of the bill can be found here: student_success_act_text.
In this post, I would like to consider one additional component of the 597-page SSA– that which explicitly concerns the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Note that my examination of SSA’s anti-CCSS language does not constitute my endorsement of SSA.
Below is the SSA language expressly prohibiting the US Secretary of Education from requiring states to have “common” standards, including (by name) the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) (pages 51-52):
(j) VOLUNTARY PARTNERSHIPS.—A State may enter into a voluntary partnership with another State to develop and implement the academic standards and assessments required under this section, except that the Secretary shall not, either directly or indirectly, attempt to influence, incentivize, or coerce State—
(1) adoption of the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative, any other academic standards common to a significant number of States, or assessments tied to such standards; or
(2) participation in any such partnerships.
(k) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this part shall be construed to prescribe the use of the academic assessments described in this part for student promotion or graduation purposes.
This language regarding CCSS is not surprising coming from a Republican-dominated House. The Republican-dominated American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was against CCSS and even passed its own formal anti-CCSS resolution until Jeb Bush intervened. I wrote about ALEC’s Common-Core “change of heart” in this July 2013 post. It is worth a read given the current popular Republican sentiment against CCSS– and Jeb Bush’s holding fast to it.
As I read SSA (I have read more of it than I have yet written about), I see the fingerprints of ALEC preferences for test-driven, privatizing reform all over it. However, CCSS was not an idea that ALEC readily endorsed. Jeb Bush was the ALEC string-puller on the CCSS front.