CHARLESTON, W. Va. . (Feb. 13, 2017) – A West Virginia bill would withdraw the state from Common Core standards, an important step toward nullifying the nationalized education program in the state.
Del. Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock, 1) introduced House Bill 2214 (HB2214) to void Common Core standards and create a framework to establish state standards to replace them. It reads, in part:
Effective July 1, 2017, the State Board of Education is prohibited from implementing Common Core academic content standards.
In addition, HB2214 contains language that would protect the personally identifiable information of West Virginia students from federal partnerships and other data-sharing agreements that put student privacy at risk. It reads, in part:
(a) The State Board of Education, and any public school in this state, is prohibited from allowing access, releasing, or sharing any student’s personally identifiable information, student level data, or student directory information without prior written affirmative consent of the student’s parent or guardian.
(b) The State Board of Education, and any public school in this state, is prohibited from accepting federal funding if such funding is conditioned upon release of any student’s personally identifiable information, student level data, or student directory information without prior written affirmative consent of the student’s parent or guardian.
Although measures to ban Common Core at the state level can be effective in stopping the federally-driven standards, other states have had similar reform efforts co-opted. Common Core just ended up being rebranded after new standards were mandated legislatively.
While a powerful step toward permanently ending Common Core in West Virginia, the process it not without its potential pitfalls. As Shane Vander Hart at Truth in American Education said about a similar bill passed in Tennessee last year, many Common Core replacement bills end up being little more than “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 West Virginia.
HB2214 addresses this. It would also create a procedure for the development of standards that would keep Common Core from being re-branded or re-implemented by basing them off of proven curriculums that have been successful in other states:
Effective July 1, 2017, the State Board of Education shall adopt and implement the following academic standards for public schools:
(1) For academic content standards for mathematics, in grades K-12, the board shall adopt and implement the Mathematics Content Standards for California Public Schools, adopted by the California State Board of Education in December, 1997, and the Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools, adopted by the California State Board of Education in March, 2005.
(2) For academic content standards in English Language Arts, the board shall adopt and implement the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, implemented by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as the mandatory curriculum frameworks for English language arts in the year 2001, and any associated educational frameworks or supplementation.
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 this month 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.”
Even with the federal strings 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 West Virginia and a path for other states to follow.
HB2214 is in the House Education Committee. It will need to be approved in that committee followed by approval in the House Finance Committee before the bill can receive a full House vote. Stay in touch with our Tenther Blog and our Tracking and Action Center for the latest updates.