CONCORD, N.H. (Jan. 5, 2017) – A bill introduced in the New Hampshire House would prohibit the state department of education and the state board of education from requiring any school or school district to implement the common core standards. Passage of the legislation would take an important step toward nullifying the nationalized education program in the state.
Four Republican legislators introduced House Bill 207 (HB207) on Jan. 4. The legislation would set the stage to end common core in the state by prohibiting the department of education and the board of education from requiring schools to implement Common Core standards. The new law would also require the New Hampshire General Court to approve future education standards.
Neither the department of education nor the state board of education shall require any school or school district in this state to implement the standards developed jointly by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, or as adopted by the state board and known as the common core state standards. Changes made by the board of education to academic standards as defined in RSA 193-E:2-a, VI through rulemaking after the effective date of this section shall not be included within the standards that constitute the opportunity for the delivery of an adequate education without prior adoption by the general court.
Passage of the bill would give the legislature control over future education standards and stop implementation of Common Core by bureaucratic rulemaking.
While HB207 would take a step toward ending Common Core in New Hampshire, the process is not without potential pitfalls. As Shane Vander Hart at Truth in American Education said about a bill passed in Tennessee, legislatures often do little more than create “rebranded” versions of the same program. Even if the new state standards completely reject Common Core, it doesn’t mean the state won’t continue to allow the federal government to influence its education system. It will require public and legislative vigilance to completely push the feds out of education in New Hampshire.
Common Core was intended to create nationwide education standards. While touted as a state initiative through the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the U.S. Department of Education was heavily involved behind the scenes. Up until recently, the DoE tied the grant of waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act to adoption of Common Core, using the standards as powerful strings to influence state educational policy. The Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress last year now prohibits the DoE from attempting to “influence, incentivize, or coerce State adoption of the Common Core State Standards … or any other academic standards common to a significant number of States.” But under the new federal law, states still must comply with College and Career Ready Standards, based on Common Core, as a condition for receiving some federal dollars. It also requires the federal education secretary to approve each state’s plans for standards and assessments.
Even with the federal strings partially cut from Common Core for the time being, it is still imperative for each state to adopt its own standards. The feds can once again use these national standards to meddle in state education at any time if they remain in place. Just as importantly, one-size-fits-all standard simply don’t benefit children. State and local governments should remain in full control of their own educational systems.
Rejecting nationalized education standards is the first step toward bringing true academic choice, and freedom. Passage of this legislation into law represents a positive step forward for the people of New Hampshire and a path for other states to follow.
HB207 was referred to the House Education Committee. Supporters in New Hampshire are strongly urged to contact all the members of the committee (contact info here) and urge them to give a “Ought to Pass” recommendation.