SALEM, Ore. (Jan. 11, 2017) – A bill introduced in the Oregon House would allow local school districts to opt out of Common Core standards. Passage of the legislation would take an important step toward nullifying the nationalized education program in the state.
Rep. Carl Wilson (R-Grants Pass) and Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-Medford) introduced House Bill 2368 (HB2368) on Jan. 9. The legislation would prohibit the Oregon Department of Education from requiring school districts to align instruction or assessments with Common Core state standards and from penalizing school districts for failure to align instruction or assessments with these standards. Passage of the bill would give local school districts the option of opting out of Common Core.
SB2368 establishes local control and would set the stage to end Common Core in Oregon. If enough school districts opt out, the entire system would collapse.
The bill would also repeal a provision of Oregon law requiring alignment of Oregon Early Learning System outcomes and with Head Start Child Development Early Learning Framework with Common Core.
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 Oregon and a path for other states to follow.
House Speaker Tina Kotek will need to assign HB2368 to a committee. Once assigned, it must pass the committee by a majority vote before moving on in the legislative process.