LANSING, Mich. (Mar. 10, 2016) – Two bills introduced in the Michigan legislature would withdraw the state from Common Core standards, an important step toward nullifying nationalized education in the state.
Senate Bill 826 (SB826) was introduced on Mar. 1 by Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) and six co-sponsors while House Bill 5444 (HB5444) was introduced on Mar. 9 by Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) and 32 bipartisan co-sponsors. The legislation would void Common Core standards and create a framework to establish state standards to replace them.
SB826 and HB5444 contain identical language. They read, in part:
This state terminates all plans, programs, activities, efforts, and expenditures relating to the implementation of the educational initiative commonly referred to as the common core standards, or any derivative or permutation of that educational initiative including, but not limited to, the michigan college and career ready standards that have been adopted by the legislature, the state board, or the department and including, but not limited to, any assessments, data collection, and instructions based on or involving that educational initiative. to further protect state and local control of public education, the state board and the department are prohibited from adopting, aligning to, or implementing any other national or multistate consortium standards from any source or requiring the use of any assessments aligned with any other national or multistate consortium standards from any source.
In addition, the bills would replace the defunct Common Core standards with tested educational standards that once yielded favorable academic performances from students in the state of Massachusetts. They read as follows:
Within 90 days after the effective date of this section, [the state shall] adopt and implement state academic content standards for each of grades kindergarten to 12 in english language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. The state academic content standards shall be the same as the academic standards in effect in Massachusetts during the 2008-2009 school year, except that any reference in those standards to “Massachusetts” shall be changed in all appropriate instances to a reference to “Michigan” and any state history or government content standards shall be changed to reflect the history and government of this state. Within 10 days after the state academic content standards are adopted, the department shall distribute the standards to all public schools in this state and make the standards available to the public on the department website.
The legislation also contains provisions that protect the personally identifiable information of students from being collected and shared by state employees. They read as follows:
[The state] shall not collect any of the following:
(i) data about the values, attitudes, beliefs, and personality traits of a pupil or a pupil’s family.
(ii) medical, behavioral, mental, biometric, or psychometric data of a pupil or a pupil’s family.
While a powerful step toward permanently ending Common Core in Michigan, 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 Michigan.
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 Michigan and a path for other states to follow.
HB5444 must pass the House Education Committee while SB826 must pass the Senate Education Committee before the legislation can receive votes in the full House and Senate.
If you live in Michigan: click HERE and follow the instructions to help get SB826 and HB5444 passed.
If you live in another state: click HERE for information on Common Core initiatives in your state.