Published Online: July 15, 2014

Nixon endorses school standards measure

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A lawmaker-led effort challenging national education standards that evolved into a softer approach to revise Missouri's student achievement goals has won the last-minute backing of Gov. Jay Nixon.

The Democratic governor on Monday signed legislation that tasks groups of parents and educators with writing new standards to replace Common Core. Nixon's office announced the move with a written statement in the late afternoon on the last possible day he could take action on bills passed earlier this year.

The Republican-led Legislature has fought the standards since state education officials adopted the benchmarks in 2010. Politicians in Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have scrapped the Common Core amid similar concerns about overreaching federal programs.

Advisory groups will develop new school standards in Missouri for English, math, science and history to be put in place by 2016. The State Board of Education will hold several public hearings on the proposed changes. For each subject, one group will determine benchmarks for elementary students while an additional panel will write the goals for older students.

For now, the contentious federal Common Core standards remain in place. Nixon had not previously offered a public position on the legislation.

"Over the past several years, we have made significant strides to increase rigor, transparency and accountability in our classrooms and with my signature today, this progress will continue," the governor's statement reads.

The Republican-led Senate voted 23-6 in favor of the bill, which cleared the House with a 135-10 vote.

The eight advisory groups will be composed of members chosen by state education associations and leaders, lawmakers, Nixon and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. Four members will be parents of children currently enrolled in Missouri schools.

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