A Chance To Stop the Common Core Standards
The following is taken from the summary of the Student Success Act (H. R. 5) that the U. S. House passed yesterday. If passed by Congress, H. R. 5 definitely would nullify the Obama administration’s takeover of the public schools through the Common Core Standards Initiative.
Thankfully, our Congressman, Bill Flores (R-Texas), was one of the House members who voted for H. R. 5; and his press release is posted further on down the page.
What we in the public must do is to pressure our U. S. Senators to make sure that the following provisions stay in H. R. 5 when the Senate takes up the bill:
- Ø Common Core: The legislation removes the Secretary of Education’s ability to coerce or incentivize states to adopt Common Core standards. The specific language in Section 111 of the bill follows: “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.” The Common Core Standards Initiative developed Common Core State Standards (Common Core) with the cooperation of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The federal government was not involved in the creation of Common Core. However, the Obama administration has used a “carrot and stick” approach in regards to the adoption of Common Core. The “carrot” was the use of $4.35 billion of the Race to the Top grant program included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Under Race to the Top, states competed for grant money on a points-based system. If a state agreed to adopt Common Core as part of their grant application they received a certain number of points. However, some states that agreed to adopt Common Core, such as California, still failed to be awarded Race to the Top grant awards. A Department of Education Executive Summary of the Race to the Top program can be viewed here. In 2011, Secretary Duncan announced the NLCB waiver program. The Obama Administration has used the nearly impossible to achieve standards of NCLB as the “stick”, or threat, to coerce states to adopt Common Core. Only fives states have either never made a NCLB waiver request or withdrawn their request. Thirty-nine states have been granted NCLB waivers in return for adopting Common Core or other “college- and career ready standards”. Secretary Duncan’s letter to states regarding ESEA “flexibility” and waivers can be viewed here.
Flores Votes to Put States, Parents and Teachers First in Support of Student Success Act
WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. This legislation will reduce federal interference in education, restore control to local school districts and states, empower parents and support effective teachers. Following passage of H.R. 5, Congressman Bill Flores (R-Texas) issued the following statement:
“During the past four and half years, the Obama administration has dramatically expanded federal authority over America’s schools. It has also significantly accelerated federal education spending, resulting in a tripling of overall funding per student since 1965. Unfortunately, the increases in federal control and funding have interfered with local control, increased federal bureaucrat involvement in our education systems, restricted parent input into their children’s educations, and failed American students.”
“For the first time in more than a decade, the House has approved legislation to revamp K-12 education law. This bill protects state and local autonomy over decisions in the classroom by limiting the authority of the secretary of education. This protection includes an elimination of the secretary of education’s ability to inappropriately coerce state decisions to adopt the Common Core or other federal bureaucrat designed standards or assessments. Central Texans know that improved student achievement will only occur when local governments are free from burdensome federal mandates and are not beholden to federal bureaucrats for education dollars; this bill is a step in the right direction.”
As passed by the House, the Student Success Act will:
- Eliminate the flawed Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) system and replace it with state-determined accountability systems, thereby returning authority for measuring student performance to states and school districts.
- Eliminate federally mandated actions and interventions currently required of poor performing schools, giving states and districts maximum flexibility to develop appropriate school improvement strategies and rewards for their schools.
- Allow Title I dollars to follow disadvantaged students, at the option of individual states. This landmark ‘portability’ option promotes parental choice and allows all Title I schools to receive funds to promote the academic achievement of students in need.
- Repeal federal bureaucrat designed teacher requirements and grant states the flexibility to develop their own teacher evaluation systems to better gauge an educator’s effectiveness, if they so choose.
- Maintain the requirement that states and school districts issue and distribute annual report cards, including disaggregated data on student achievement and high school graduation rates, while also streamlining data reporting to ensure meaningful information is easily available to parents and communities.
- Support opportunities for parents to enroll their children in local magnet schools and charter schools, and enhance statewide parental engagement.
- Eliminate more than 70 existing elementary and secondary education programs to promote a more appropriate federal role in education through the block grant program described below.
- Consolidate a myriad of existing K-12 education programs into a new Local Academic Flexible Grant, which provides funding to states and school districts to support local priorities that improve student achievement.
Congressman Bill Flores represents the 17th District of Texas and is an entrepreneur, former energy executive, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and member of the House Budget, Natural Resources and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.
 California, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota (request withdrawn), and Vermont (request withdrawn).
 Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin. A letter from Secretary Duncan to Chief State School Officers regarding “college- and career-ready standards” can be viewed here.