I’ve just updated the interactive graphic at edweek.org that is tracking anti-common-core bills in state legislatures this year. You can view the text of bills and recent actions, and, see how the bills fared and if they were actually signed by governors. Most of the pushes against the common core by state politicians, mostly if not exclusively conservatives, have come to nothing in places like Georgia and South Dakota. If you find that I’ve missed some bills or need to update where any item stands, email me, leave a note in comments, or send me a tweet @StateEdWatch.
There’s a lot of action afoot in Pennsylvania, where the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for a review of the standards last month. That follows a move in May by Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, to initiate further review of the standards in the state. And state media are also reporting that five new bills opposing the common-core standards in various ways are also garnering support. The crucial bill, House Bill 1551, would require the state to drop the common core 60 days after being signed into law. (At this point, although the bill number and its contents have been reported, I haven’t seen a link to it, although there is a link to the summary of the “drop the common core” bill and others mentioned below in my bill tracker. When there is a link to the legislation itself, I will update the tracker.)
Reportedly, other bills in the state would chip away at the common core in various ways, presumably if House Bill 1551 gets nowhere—so far, Corbett seems to be sticking by the standards. There’s a push to exempt private, religious, and home schools from the standards. One bill, which would reportedly prevent the transmission of “individual student data” to the federal government, might cause problems for the data-sharing the state education department already does with Washington completely separate from the common core. This issue has come up before in Georgia. And another piece of legislation would require a review of the standards, although as I mentioned the governor seems to have already initiated that at least to some extent.
And in case you think getting some time at the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival is a good indicator of a topic’s importance:
— Howard Fineman (@howardfineman) July 2, 2013
Fineman, by the way, reported that U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Republican, said at the festival that common core was a good, voluntary idea until the feds crashed the party and made it a de facto mandate, a crucial argument for common-core opponents that the standards’ supporters say is dead wrong.
So far, the most prominent moves against the common core have come in Indiana and Michigan. There’s a lot of dispute over exactly what to call these bills, since neither requires the states to simply drop the standards. In Indiana, essentially, the legislation signed by GOP Gov. Mike Pence requires a legislative review of the standards via public hearings and reports. Does it “pause” the common core, as many have reported? Technically no, but it means that in some classrooms the common core will be used side by side with the previous content standards. If you think having two simultaneous sets of content standards is a recipe for confusion and has the potential to hinder the actual use of common core in classrooms, you might be on to something.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, the state department of education is prohibited from spending money to implement common core or the associated assessments beginning Oct. 1. Obviously, legislation might undo this new law (part of the budget signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican and common core supporter who lacked the ability to veto this change to the department’s fiscal plan) in the interim. But the department has expressed consternation about how it will confuse districts and cause several problems.
And, on a slightly different but still recent note, as my Curriculum Matters colleague Erik Robelen reported, Oklahoma has decided not to use common-core-aligned tests from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of two state-led testing consortia developing assessments.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.