Michigan legislators are working to put the brakes on Common Core and restore authority over what is taught in Michigan classrooms to state policymakers, local school leaders, and—most importantly—teachers and parents.
As the Washington Times reports, “The state House on Wednesday passed an amendment, attached to the Education Department budget, that prohibits any funding for the controversial Common Core system.”
Although the Michigan Department of Education adopted Common Core in 2010, the legislature did not approve it. State Representative Tom McMillin (R), who sponsored the measure, says the authority to change standards belongs to the legislature, not the board of education.
“The Department of Education is trying to put Michigan schools in Common Core without legislative approval,” said McMillin. “Giving our authority to control what is taught in our schools to any national entity is wrong.”
Under Common Core, instead of state leaders having authority to make change to education standards, they would “have to go hat in hand to the [National Governors Association, which holds the Common Core copyright] and beg them to change the standards,” McMillin told reporters at the Heartland Institute. “A private entity deciding what will be taught in all our public schools is just wrong.”
Several other states are pushing back against a major overreach into state educational authority. The federal government’s close ties to the standards—with the Obama Administration using federal dollars and No Child Left Behind waivers to entice states to adopt common standards—has concerned many state leaders, and many are questioning the cost of implementation and the quality of the standards themselves as well.
Just last week, Alabama’s Senate Education Committee approved a measure that would withdraw them from the Common Core state standards altogether, although the measure did not move forward in the full senate.
In February, Indiana’s senate passed a proposal to halt the implementation of the standards. It requires the state Board of Education to hold a hearing in each congressional district before the standards are implemented. It also requires the state to conduct an in-depth analysis of the cost of implementing the standards. Governor Mike Pence (R) also said, earlier this month, that leaders in Indiana “will take a long, hard look” at the standards.
South Dakota’s House Education Committee passed a proposal to “require the Board of Education to obtain legislative approval before adopting any further Common Core Standards,” although it ultimately failed.
Just this month, North Carolina introduced a proposal to require a committee of 20 to examine Common Core standards. They would have to answer questions regarding the cost of implementing the standards, Common Core’s impact on schools, and the consequences of withdrawing from the Common Core initiative.
Said Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project:
The Common Core adoption cut the people and their elected legislators out of the process. On a matter that concerns the education of children, that is an especially fatal flaw. The [Michigan] House has taken a big step toward correcting that.
by Rachel Sheffield