Ohio House Republicans introduce bill to replace Common Core

Jul 29, 2014 by

By Jim Siegel –

Ohio school districts that have spent four years implementing new Common Core standards might soon be told to change course.

“The standards are always going to evolve,” said Rep. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, the No. 2 leader of the House.

Huffman said hearings will begin in August on a new bill designed to eliminate the Common Core math and English/language arts standards and begin developing new standards for Ohio. The bill also might rework new science and social studies standards developed by the state.

The goal is to pass the bill one week after the November election, when the House reconvenes after breaking in early June, Huffman said.

“Speaker (William G.) Batchelder wanted to make clear … and I want to make clear the leadership in the House supports the repeal of these Common Core standards with the substitution of high standards and getting the federal government out of the business of education,” Huffman said.

Rep. Andrew Thompson, R-Marietta, who has led the push to repeal Common Core in Ohio, said they are looking at other states with “proven standards” such as Massachusetts.

“We want to look at standards that are tested, proven and effective,” he said, calling it “ creepy” the way Common Core came to Ohio.

Common Core, the math and English standards developed by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, are in place in more than 40 states. The goal of Common Core is to improve college and career readiness and critical thinking, while aligning standards among states to allow for comparisons of results.

Gov. John Kasich has said he supports Common Core, because specific curriculum is developed at the local level.

Huffman and Thompson argued that Common Core stifles local control and represents too much federal intrusion — a point that supporters counter, arguing that local districts decide how to teach and the federal government played no role in its creation except to provide some funding.

Tom Ash of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators said his group supports Common Core but he agrees with Huffman and Thompson on one thing.

“The education community at large has done a terrible job of keeping the public informed of this whole process from the beginning,” he said.

Asked why state associations representing superintendents and school boards support the standards, Huffman said state associations, particularly the superintendents, sometimes take an official stance counter to that of school leaders across the state.

He said the superintendents association will support policies publicly, “but then take the representative into their office after the meeting and say, ‘This is what I really think.’”

Superintendents are getting some public pressure to repeal, Ash said, “But they have others, particularly their own staff members, who say we can’t turn our backs on what we’ve been building for the last four years. And staff members think it’s going to be good for kids.”

Melissa Cropper, president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, said “teachers overwhelmingly believe the Common Core is a better way of instruction,” adding that “students more easily learn the material, retain it and apply it in other aspects of their learning.”

Common Core also has support from the Ohio business community. In a recent column, Dan Navin, vice president for tax and economic policy at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, highlighted businesses’ need for highly skilled workers.

“Building a college- and career-ready Ohio starts with higher, yet achievable, standards,” he wrote. “The Common Core state standards do this.”

In May, Batchelder and other GOP leaders took notice when three-term Rep. Peter Stautberg, R-Cincinnati, suffered a surprising primary defeat to an opponent who made Common Core a key issue.

The new bill will not go to the House Education Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Gerald Stebelton, R-Lancaster, backs Common Core. Instead, Huffman said, it will be assigned to the Rules Committee, a leadership-controlled panel that rarely hears bills.

The hearings are scheduled to start on Aug. 12.

Lawmakers this year already took action to address some Common Core issues, such as ensuring that parents have the opportunity to review instructional materials and curriculum, new state-level content review committees, and safeguards to protect student data.

via Ohio House Republicans introduce bill to replace Common Core | The Columbus Dispatch.

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