Oklahoma Lawmakers Repeal Common Core

Saturday, 24 May 2014 03:36 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Oklahoma lawmakers voted late Friday to repeal Common Core math and English standards for its schools, sending a bill to Gov. Mary Fallin's desk in hopes of replacing them with standards developed by the state.

House members voted 71-18 on the bill Friday to reject Common Core, reports Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR. The House also passed an emergency clause, by a 68-19 vote that would have the law take effect as soon as Fallin signs it. The Senate passed the bill by a 31-10 vote, including the emergency clause.

According to Republican state Rep. Jason Nelson, the bill will keep the federal government from having control over the state's educational standards.

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, who co-authored the bill, said that before he stepped down from his seat as state House speaker to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Tom Coburn, one of his top priorities was to repeal Common Core.

"Today the House and Senate passed a bill that I co-authored to repeal this terrible policy," Shannon, a Republican, said in a statement. “The federal government sold Common Core with the promise of increased standards, but instead gave us an inflexible curriculum that does not equip our children for college,” said Shannon.

But instead, said Shannon, with Common Core "the federal government has disregarded parental rights, over-regulated teachers, and over-tested our kids. Parents, local governments and teachers are better equipped to meet the needs of their students than the federal government. Parents and teachers are the best leaders for quality education in Oklahoma communities — not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C."

Republican state Sens. Josh Brecheen and Anthony Sykes said they agree with Shannon, and that the repeal will help the state establish standards crafted to its state's needs.

"With this bill, we’re pressing the pause button and guaranteeing to teachers that next year they will be able to teach the same math and English content they taught this year, until new standards are established in 2016," said Breechen. "Those new standards will have to be approved by the Legislature thus bringing representative government into the process to ensure they won’t be a ‘copy and paste’ version of Common Core under a new name.”

Sykes, meanwhile, said he and Breechen also succeeded in amending another bill to repeal Next Generation Science Standards, which "heavily promote global warming alarmism and do not prepare students for work in STEM fields.

By advancing the bills, said Sykes, "the Legislature has responded to the concerns of families who feel Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards may not be the best way forward for our schools."

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