Tags: common core | states | repeal | legislatures

Common Core Repeal Efforts Struggle for Success

By    |   Thursday, 26 February 2015 01:03 PM

At the Conservative Political Action Conference getting underway on Thursday, numerous speakers are sure to demand repeal of controversial Common Core educational standards.

A CPAC panel on the issue is entitled "Rotten to the Core?"

But out in the states — where 19 repeal measures have been introduced so far this year — critics are facing huge challenges as they try to block the standards or dilute them, according to Politico.

Opponents had been optimistic that state senates in Mississippi and Arizona would stop Common Core this year, but both chambers rejected repeal measures. North Dakota and South Dakota legislators killed repeals bills this month.

Kansas Republican state Rep. Ron Highland said he's not sure a repeal bill will come to the floor in his deep-red state this session.

"I'm not sure we have the votes, quite frankly," said Highland, a Common Core opponent.

Highland said he is considering drafting a bill to curb state funding for tests and textbooks and computer equipment to administer Common Core related tests online.

Indeed, the Common Core tests developed by two federally funded consortia have become targets for critics, with legislators in New Jersey and Colorado pushing to prevent them from being used to evaluate students or teachers.

Common Core foes won a victory in the Garden State this week, when the New Jersey General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a bill preventing one of the tests from being used to evaluate students or teachers until 2019.

In a number of states, conservatives have found an unlikely ally in teachers unions. In New Jersey, Rhode Island, Illinois, Washington and other states, unions "are encouraging members to support parents who want to opt their children out of the Common Core tests," according to Politico.

The New Jersey Education Association has launched a television and online advertising campaign showing parents breaking down in tears as they explain their objections to one of the Common Core-associated exams.

In Ohio, where Republican Gov. John Kasich — a tenacious defender of Common Core — was re-elected in a landslide last year, opponents are highlighting the resignation this month of a special-education teacher who had been named "2014 top teacher of the year."

In announcing her decision to resign, the teacher, Stacie Starr of Elyria High School, said the Common Core-related mandates have made it impossible for teachers to do their jobs.

Starr expressed interest in starting an after-school program in the hope of saving students from what some term the "school-to-prison pipeline" in which students lose all hope of achieving academic success.

"I can't do it anymore, not in this 'drill 'em and kill 'em' atmosphere," she said. "I don't think anyone understands that in this environment if your child cannot quickly grasp material, study like a robot and pass all of these tests, they will not survive."

In New Hampshire, the state Senate this month approved a bill allowing local districts and even individual schools to opt out.

But Common Core's leading backers express confidence that they will be able to fend off the opposition.

Michael Petrilli of the Fordham Institute, who has spent considerable time in recent years traveling around the United States to press the case for the Common Core, said Wednesday that he's staying in Washington this spring because he is confident that supporters in the states will be able to fend off opponents.

"The big story is how resilient this thing has been in the face of a huge national backlash," he said.

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Opponents of Common Core education standards are busy in state legislatures — where 19 repeal measures have been introduced so far this year — but are facing huge challenges in their attempts to block the standards or dilute them.
common core, states, repeal, legislatures
Thursday, 26 February 2015 01:03 PM
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