On February 11, 2014, The Connecticut House of Representatives Education Committee introduced HB 5078, “An Act Imposing a Moratorium on the Implementation of the Common Core State Standards.” On March 12, a public hearing on the issue packed a House committee chamber.

The bill is co-sponsored by 18 Republican members of the House and seeks a halt on Common Core beginning on July 1, 2014 until an “impact study” of Common Core and the related Smarter Balanced testing can be conducted. The bill would prohibit the governor from making any appropriations related to Common Core or its testing through at least June 30, 2015, and until the results of the study are submitted to the committee and General Assembly for review and possible action.

According to the Bill, the study will examine how the state wide implementation of such standards and testing will affect student learning and achievement, its affects on administration of mastery tests, state and local costs including technology and infrastructure needs to implement. In school districts where implementation has already begun, the study will examine and compare results on student learning and consult with the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, the Connecticut Federation of School Administrators, the Connecticut Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers-Connecticut, early childhood education teachers and elementary and high school teachers.

Separately on March 11, Governor Dannel Malloy (D), a supporter of the standards, signed Executive Order 41 forming a task force consisting of parents, teachers, and administrators to also examine the standards and their affects more closely. The makeup of the task force however is already drawing criticism from Common Core opponents accusing the group of not including enough parents and teachers from outside of the major cities where Common Core draws most of its opponents from.

On March 12, the Education Committee held a public hearing on this bill (and others) to a packed conference room in Hartford. More than 127 people submitted requests to testify for and against the bill. In fact the response was so great that the Committee had to open two additional viewing rooms in the Legislative Office building with TV monitors to hold the overflow crowd and the hearing went on for over 12 hours with speakers including the State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, State Representatives and Senators, superintendents, teachers, parents, students, and more. As I attended this meeting, I can say definitively that the majority of the speakers were in favor of bill passage.

Constitutionally, education is an issue that is reserved to the states or the people – outside the purview of federal power. Common Core State Standards Initiative is an education initiative that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. While devised and created by state-level associations, the federal government has driven adoption through an unconstitutional grant program called Race to the Top.

Legislation to slow implementation of Common Core faces an uphill battle. Committee Chairs, Andrew Fleischmann and Andrea Stillman, both Democrats and supporters of Common Core, held the hearing only after a forced petition by House Republicans, who are in the minority.

For more information on how to stop Common Core Implementation, click HERE.

Brian Gosper

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