S.C. Governor Signs Bill Requiring State to Replace Common Core

By Andrew Ujifusa — June 04, 2014 1 min read
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Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has signed a bill that requires the state to adopt new content standards for the 2015-16 school year and drop the Common Core State Standards.

In effect, this means that South Carolina has become the second state to drop the common standards, although the actual replacement of common core with “new” standards won’t take place until the 2015-16 year. The common core will remain in place in South Carolina for the 2014-15 school year. So the so-called repeal of the common core in the Palmetto State hasn’t technically gone into effect yet.

Haley, an outspoken opponent of the common core, signed the bill May 30.

Here’s a twist in the legislation: If the South Carolina Department of Education develops new standards, then the state school board and the Education Oversight Committee (a non-legislative but official government entity in the state) must sign off on them. That’s standard procedure right now. However, under the new law, any new standards not developed by the state education department also have to be approved by a joint resolution of the legislature.

That provision appears to be a protection against the state simply re-adopting large portions of the common core without any say-so from legislators, specifically those who oppose the common core. Indiana, the first state to officially drop the common core, has been accused of replacing the common core in name only by opponents of the standards. Indeed, analysts who have looked at the new standards have said they are similar in many respects to the common core.

The new law also prohibits the state from adopting or administering the common-core assessments being developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The state left Smarter Balanced, one of two groups developing federally-financed assessments aligned to the common core, earlier this year. This move by South Carolina involved a bitter battle between state Superintendent Mick Zais and the state school board over who has the authority to make what decision regarding state assessments. Zais has been opposed to both the Smarter Balanced tests and common core.

UPDATE: We’ve updated our common-core adoption map to reflect the status of the standards in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.