Virginia, Texas, South Carolina: Why Free-Thinking States Opt Out of the Common Core Initiative   1 comment

How do Virginia, Texas and South Carolina think differently from how Utah thinks?

Why are their Governors and school boards savvy enough to reject Common Core (or are trying to, amid opposition) –when top Utah’s leaders are not?  Here, in their  own words, are the freedom fighters who value liberty in education, speaking out across America today:

 South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley:

South Carolina’s educational system has at times faced challenges of equity, quality and leadership – challenges that cannot be solved by increasing our dependence on federal dollars and the mandates that come with them. Just as we should not relinquish control of education to the Federal government, neither should we cede it to the consensus of other states. Confirming my commitment to finding South Carolina solutions to South Carolina challenges, I am pleased to support [Senator Fair's] efforts to reverse the 2010 decision to adopt common core standards.

While I understand and agree with looking outside South Carolina for ideas to improve educational outcomes, I firmly believe that our government and our people should retain as much local control over programs as possible. The solution to many of South Carolina’s educational challenges will be found by sending more of our limited resources to the classroom and offering educational choices to meet the needs of South Carolina’s students. Our children deserve swift action and the passage of a clean resolution that will allow our State to reclaim control of and responsibility for educating South Carolinians.  -excerpted from Governor Haley’s public letter to Senator Fair of South Carolina http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/sc-gov-nikki-haley-backs-bill-to-block-common-core-standards/    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/10/obamas-education-plan-gets-closer-look/

South Carolina’s Senator Mike Fair ‘s bill (S.604) simply stated:

The State Board may not adopt and the State Department may not implement the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Any actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards as of the effective date of this section are void ab initio. http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess119_2011-2012/bills/604.htm

Why did Senator Fair write that bill for South Carolina’s educational freedom from Common Core?

Senator Fair explained in an op/ed piece for the Greenville News:

“…If the federal government didn’t create Common Core, how is this a federal takeover?  Simple– the Department of Education is funding the development of the national tests aligned with Common Core.  Even Common Core proponents admit that whoever controls the test will, for all practical purposes, control what must be taught in the classroom.

And once Common Core is implemented, no one in this state will have the power to change any standard…  The Legislature never had a chance to review Common Core because the feds timed their deadlines for adopting them to fall when the Legislature wasn’t in session. So, to qualify for a shot at Race to the Top money in 2010, the (previous) state superintendent and the (previous) governor had to agree to adopt Common Core– standards that had not even been published yet… By the way, South Carolina wasn’t awarded Race to the Top money, so we sold our education birthright without even getting the mess of pottage.” http://www.electmikefair.com/?p=220

Texas’ Governor Perry said:

“I will not commit Texas taxpayers to unfunded federal obligations or to the adoption of unproven, cost-prohibitive national standards and tests” — excerpt from Gov. Rick Perry’s letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. http://governor.state.tx.us/files/press-office/O-DuncanArne201001130344.pdf

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott explained:

The standards were “originally sold to states as voluntary, [but] states have now been told that participating in national standards and national testing would be required as a condition of receiving federal discretionary grant funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA),” Scott wrote. “Texas has chosen to preserve its sovereign authority to determine what is appropriate for Texas children to learn in its public schools…”  http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2010/03/25/alaska-texas-reject-common-core-standards

 Patricia Wright, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction, said:

“…If we had taken the 249   million dollars, would I go to the General Assembly and then ask the General Assembly for more money to meet the federal requirements [to implement Common Core]?  No.  That is not the Virginia way.”  http://blog.heritage.org/2011/02/02/video-national-academic-standards-pose-threat-to-local-control-of-education/

Virginia’s School Board explained why it opposed Common Core: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/common_core/index.shtml

“The Board of Education supported — and continues to support — the development of internationally benchmarked standards for states to adopt outright or to use as models to improve their own standards. The board, however, opposes the use of federal rulemaking and the peer review process as leverage to compel word-for-word adoption of the Common Core State Standards.”

The Virginia State Board of Education sent out a press release June 24, 2010 announcing its unanimous adoption of the following statement at its June 24, 2010, meeting in Richmond:

“The Board of Education is committed to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) program and opposed to adoption of the newly developed Common Core State Standards as a prerequisite for participation in federal competitive grant and entitlement programs.

“[Virginia's] Standards of Learning are clear and rigorous and have won the acceptance and trust of Virginia educators. Whatever adjustments might be warranted to ensure alignment of the SOL with the Common Core State Standards can be made within the process through which the Board of Education exercises its constitutional authority to establish standards for the commonwealth’s public schools.

…The subtle differences between the SOL and the Common Core do not justify the disruption to instruction, accountability, professional development and teacher preparation that would follow word-for-word adoption.

• Adoption of the Common Core would leave teachers without curriculum frameworks, scope and sequence guides and other materials specifically aligned with the standards students are expected to meet. Experience shows that these supports are critical to successful standards based reform.

• Virginia’s accountability program is built on a validated assessment system aligned with the SOL; validated assessments aligned with the Common Core do not exist.

• Virginia’s investment in the Standards of Learning since 1995 far exceeds the $250 million Virginia potentially could have received by abandoning the SOL and competing in phase two of Race to the Top.

 Alaska’s Dept. of Education said:

The Race to the Top application didn’t ask open-ended questions about what states think will work… We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a losing battle. We wanted to formulate our own plan…[Alaska] would like to be the entity that declares its own standards.”  -Eric Fry, spokesman for Alaska’s Department of Education.  http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2010/03/25/alaska-texas-reject-common-core-standards

Massachusetts Almost Rejected Common Core:

Massachusetts State officials wanted assurances that national standards would not dilute existing state frameworks.

MA Education Secretary Paul Reville has said the Commonwealth would not adopt the common core standards if they were lower than those established in the state. “We are not going to endorse anything that is not at least as rigorous as our own standards,” Reville told the Boston Globe.  Minnesota also cited concerns over the math standards as reasons not to adopt the Common Core.  But, caving to political pressure, Massachusetts did give in, at last.  http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2010/03/25/alaska-texas-reject-common-core-standards

  Dr. Sandra Stotsky, professor of education at the University of Arkansas and a member of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, oversaw the development of Massachusetts’s earlier standards. She said the common core frameworks would be a step down for Massachusetts.    http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/People/Stotsky/Reasons%20for%20not%20signing%20off%20on%20Common%20Core’s%20final%20standards.pdf

Caving to political pressure eventually, however, Massachusetts adopted the Common Core in 2010.

Minnesota:

  Minnesota opted half-in, half-out:  State Rep. Carlos Mariani  (D-St. Paul), chairman of the Minnesota House K-12 Education Policy and Oversight Committee said:

“It is a fact that state legislators are leery of what federal involvement means… Given the federal government’s less than honorable history in under-providing special education funding after mandating it as a priority, we are prudent to be skeptical.”   http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2010/08/13/minnesota-rejects-common-core-math-standards

Minnesota has opted out of the math portion of the Common Core national frameworks. The Gopher State was among the first to join the  effort by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers in 2009 to develop common English and math frameworks. But now Minnesota officials have decided to step back—and risk losing a portion of federal Race to the Top and Title I funds—in order to maintain control of their own education standards.”

Although Alabama adopted Common Core, that may  soon change.

In Alabama, a group of liberty-minded women have worked hard to pass a resolution that has been cosponsored by organizations in many other states.  http://www.nfrw.org/documents/convention/2011/program.pdf    See below.

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF REPUBLICAN WOMEN RESOLUTION

Defeat National Standards for State Schools Passed Unanimously at the NFRW36th Biennial Convention Kansas City, MO – October 1, 2011

WHEREAS, The national standards-based “Common Core State Standards” initiative is the centerpiece of the Obama’s Administration’s agenda to centralize education decisions at the federal level;

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is using the same model to take over education as it used for healthcare by using national standards and boards of bureaucrats, whom the public didn’t elect and can’t fire or otherwise hold accountable;

WHEREAS, National standards remove authority from States over what is taught in the classroom and how it is tested;

WHEREAS, National standards undercut the principle of federalism on which our nation was founded;

WHEREAS, There is no constitutional or statutory authority for national standards, national curricula, or national assessments and in fact the federal government is expressly prohibited from endorsing or dictating state/local decisions about curricula; and

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration is attempting to evade constitutional and statutory prohibitions to move toward a nationalized public-school system by (1) funding to date more than $345 million for the development of national curriculum and test questions, (2) tying national standards to the Race to the Top charter schools initiative in the amount of $4.35 billion, (3) using the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) to pressure State Boards of Education to adopt national standards with the threat of losing Title 1 Funds if they do not, and (4) requesting Congress to include national standards as a requirement in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act (No Child Left Behind);

BE IT RESOLVED, That the National Federation of Republican Women vote to encourage all State Federation Presidents to share information about national standards with their local clubs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That State Federation Presidents ask their members to (1) contact their State Boards of Education members and request that they retain control over academic standards, curriculum, instruction and testing,  (2) contact their Congress Members and request that they (i) protect the constitutional and statutory prohibitions against the federal government endorsing or dictating national standards, (ii) to refuse to tie national standards to any reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, (iii) defund “Race to the Top” money, and (iv) prohibit any more federal funds for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, including funds to assessment and curriculum writing consortia, and (3) spread the word about the threat of a federal government takeover of education.

Submitted by:  Alabama Federation of Republican Women Elois Zeanah, President

Co-Sponsors:

 Nebraska Federation of Republican Women

Delaware Federation of Republican Women

Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women

Georgia Federation of Republican Women

Tennessee Federation of Republican Women

I wish Utah would do the same thing!  We need our educational freedom.  Wake up, everyone!  Please stand against the nationalized oppression of Common Core and stand for liberty and educational sovereignty for states!

Contact our governor and his education advisors:        

Utah Governor Herbert:  http://governor.utah.gov/goca/form_governor.html

Utah Education Director: ckearl@utah.gov

Utah School Superintendent:  larry.shumway@schools.utah.gov

Utah State School Board: Board@schools.utah.gov

Your local school board:  http://www.onlineutah.com/schooldistricts.shtml

Be that one person whose voice is heard joining the many across our nation that still believe in individual rights.

Take a high-heeled stand-up moment for freedom.

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One response to “Virginia, Texas, South Carolina: Why Free-Thinking States Opt Out of the Common Core Initiative

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  1. Completely baffled as to why our Federal Government feels the need to control every aspect of our lives anymore. We need to reclaim our freedoms as this is what our country was built on.

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