CHARLESTON, W. Va. (Mar. 4, 2016) – A bill introduced in the West Virginia House to withdraw the state from Common Core standards passed in the state House. However, alterations were made during the process that could impact the effect of the bill.
House Bill 4014 (HB4014) was introduced by Del. Jim Butler (R-Mason) and 10 co-sponsors. The legislation was written to void Common Core standards and create a framework to establish state standards to replace them.
HB4014 passed the House on Feb. 26 with a 73-20 vote. However, the bill was amended and the new language could lead to using Common Core as the basis for forming the new state educational standards. It reads, in part:
While recognizing that on December 15, 2015, the state board adopted what it represented were academic standards no longer aligned with Common Core State Standards and renamed them “West Virginia College – and – Career – Readiness Standards for English Language Arts (Policy 2520.1A)” and “West Virginia College – and – Career – Readiness Standards for Mathematics (Policy 2520.1B)”.
The Legislature hereby establishes an Academic Standards Evaluation Panel. The Senate President shall appoint two subject matter experts, one in mathematics and one in English Language Arts, and the Speaker of the House shall appoint two subject matter experts, one in mathematics and one in English Language Arts. The Committee on Academic Standards shall:
(A) Using the West Virginia College – and – Career – Readiness Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics as a framework, review and revise the standards, including additions, deletions, and edits based upon empirical research and data to ensure grade-level alignment to the standards of states with a proven track record of consistent high-performing student achievement in English Language Arts on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and in Mathematics, on both the National Assessment of Educational Progress and Trends in Math and Science Study international Assessment.
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.
Because of the additional language added to the bill, it will require public and legislative vigilance to completely push the feds out of education in West Virginia.
“We need to get back to a traditional, classical education that creates certainty in the long run for our teachers, our students and our parents,” Del. Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock, 1) said in a passionate appeal on the House floor to keep language strongly rebuking Common Core in HB4014.
Del. McGeehan maintains that the bill is still worth supporting in spite of the changes that occurred, although fighting to keep the bill from being changed further will not be an easy task now that HB4014 is in the Senate.
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 West Virginia and a path for other states to follow.
HB4014 now moves to the Senate where it must pass the Senate Education Committee before receiving a vote in the full Senate.
If you live in West Virginia: click HERE and follow the instructions to help get HB4014 passed.
If you live in another state: click HERE for information on Common Core initiatives in your state.