FRANKFORT, Ky. (Mar. 6, 2016) – A bill introduced in the Kentucky House would withdraw the state from Common Core standards, an important step toward nullifying nationalized education in the state.

House Bill 553 (HB553) was introduced on Mar. 1 by Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) and Rep. David Hale (R-Wellington). The legislation would void Common Core standards and create a framework to establish state standards to replace them.

HB553 reads, in part:

Notwithstanding any statute to the contrary, the Kentucky Board of Education and the Kentucky Department of Education shall not:

(a) Implement the academic content standards for English language arts and mathematics developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative and copyrighted by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers;

(b) Implement the science standards developed by the Next Generation Science Standards Initiative led by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences; or

(c) Use the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or any other assessment based on the Common Core Standards or Next Generation Science Standards.

In addition, HB553 would ban the state from entering into any inter-state agreement that may cede control over education. It reads as follows:

No official of the state, whether appointed or elected, shall enter into a contractual agreement on behalf of the state or a state agency with any consortium, association, or other entity if the agreement would require the state or state agency to cede control over academic content standards and assessment of the standards.

HB553 also spells out a deliberative process that would mandate public notice before the adoption of new standards, making it more difficult for Common Core to be re-branded. It reads as follows:

The state board shall post for a minimum of ninety (90) days public notice of any proposed revision of academic content standards on the department’s Web site and shall invite comments on the proposed changes from the general public, including parents, teachers, experts on college and career readiness standards, representatives of nonpartisan institutes, and political, educational, and faithbased organizations…

The state board shall not finalize revision of any academic content standards until the board holds a public hearing in each congressional district in the state. The board shall post notice of each hearing on the department’s Web site and in the newspaper with the largest circulation in the respective congressional district.

While a powerful step toward permanently ending Common Core in Kentucky, 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 Kentucky.

Kentucky has already been on the receiving end of this deception this year with SB1. Introduced by Sen. Mike Wilson (R-Bowling Green) and five co-sponsors, the legislation began as a Common Core repeal bill. It eventually passed the Senate by a 25-12 vote. However, amendments added onto the bill during the process changed the intent of the legislation.

An activist organization, Kentuckians Against Common Core released a press release in opposition to SB1. It read, in part:

“The most glaring deficiency in this bill is that the General Assembly once again evades its responsibilities by allowing the Kentucky Department of Education to implement all standards, policies, procedures and much of the methodology and regulations for teacher and school evaluations without the General Assembly’s approval much less a vote and signature by the Governor.”

With HB553, the Kentucky legislature has a chance to right what went wrong with SB1 and pass substantive legislation that doesn’t open the door for Common Core to be re-packaged and re-implemented by state and federal bureaucrats.


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.” 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 Kentucky and a path for other states to follow.



HB553 must pass the House Education Committee before the legislation can receive a vote in the full House.

If you live in Kentucky: click HERE and follow the instructions to help get HB553 passed.

If you live in another state: click HERE for information on Common Core initiatives in your state.

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