Opposition to Common Core Mounts As Two More States Pull Out

Lauretta Brown | June 6, 2014 | 5:17pm EDT
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Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (Wikipedia)

(CNSNews.com) – Oklahoma and South Carolina have now joined Indiana in rejecting the controversial Common Core Standards in favor of new state-developed education standards.

Meanwhile, legislation to take down Common Core is now pending in 18 states, including a Missouri bill that has passed the state legislature and is awaiting Governor Jay Nixon’s (D-MO) signature.

Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) signed a bill Thursday completely removing Oklahoma from the Common Core Standards, which were developed and copyrighted in 2009 by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers as a set of national education standards.

They were released in 2010 and adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

“Federal overreach has tainted Common Core. President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards,” Gov. Fallin, an initial supporter of the standards and current chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), said in a statement.

The new Oklahoma legislation requires that the State Board of Education develop “college and career ready standards” to replace Common Core standards by the 2017-2018 school year. Until then, Oklahoma will return to the Priority Academic Student Skills standards in place prior to the state’s initial adoption of the Common Core.

Section 4 of the bill also requires that all subject matter standards and revisions adopted by the State Board of Education be subject to legislative review and adopted by a joint resolution of the state legislature.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (Wikipedia)

The new law Gov. Nikki Haley quietly signed May 30th in South Carolina requires a state review and revision of her state’s Common Core standards by the 2015-2016 school year.The state will continue to use Common Core standards until then.

The law provides that “state content standards may not be revised, adopted, or implemented without approval by the Education Oversight Committee and the General Assembly.”

A spokesman for State Rep. Jason Nelson, co-author of the Oklahoma bill, pointed out some differences between the two laws, noting that South Carolina’s would likely fall short of Common Core opponents' expectations.

It’s “a way to keep the grassroots quiet for a year,” she told CNSNews.com.

“They say that South Carolina repealed Common Core and that is just not true. They just put a hold on fully implementing the standards and they’re just reviewing the process,” she said.

“We are literally gutting it from law and returning to our old state standards and tests so that is a big deal. We will not be doing any form of Common Core for the next two years.”

Emmett McGroarty, education director of the American Principles Project (APP), told CNSNews.com that he thought South Carolina’s revision would result in better standards that were markedly different from the Common Core, but it was not a “done deal.” Maintaining them would “require vigilance on the part of parents and activists,” he said.

The provisions in both the Oklahoma and South Carolina laws requiring the approval of content standards by the state legislature will ensure that the states do not re-adopt Common Core standards under a different name without a say from legislators, which is what many say happened in Indiana. The new state-specific standards there later drew criticism from both sides for their similarity to the rejected Common Core.

Michael Brickman, national policy director at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank that supports the Common Core, told CNSNews.com that he believes this recent pushback against Common Core standards is due to the fact that they have become “politicized.”

Many people have rightly questioned “something that the Obama administration was supporting from Washington,” he said, “ but the reality is these standards were developed by states and ultimately they’re better standards than the vast majority of states had in place before.”

"Oklahoma is throwing away years of teachers working to implement these standards. Now there will be two years of chaos before Oklahoma adopts another set of standards. Of course the state has the right to do so, even if it's bad for Oklahoma's kids," agreed Michael Petrili, Fordham's executive vice president, in a statement to CNSNews.com.

But McGroarty said that Common Core “really locks children into an inferior education as compared to what parents want for their children, as compared to what’s necessary to enter competitive four-year colleges and universities.”

He called South Carolina and Oklahoma’s rejection of the Common Core “a great leap forward for the national movement of parents and citizens reclaiming control over education policy-making.”

“I think it marks one of the most significant pushbacks, victories against federal overreach and the power and influence of special interests ever in the history of the republic,” he added. “I think it will inspire moms and other citizens across the country and I think we’ve reached the tipping point.”

“What legislators and governors are starting to realize is that the era of citizens and parents not being engaged in education policy is rapidly coming to a close,” he concluded.

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