CHARLESTON, W. Va. (Apr. 13, 2015) – West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed a bill to remove the state from any standardized testing related to Common Core. But efforts elsewhere show a path forward even without a veto override.

House Bill 4014 (HB4014) was introduced by Del. Jim Butler (R-Mason) and 10 co-sponsors. As originally introduce, the legislation would have voided Common Core standards and created a framework to establish state standards to replace them. An amended version of the bill passed the House on Feb. 26 with a 73-20 vote, and cleared the Senate on Mar. 12 with a 29-4 vote.

The amended bill language contained several potential problems. First, it used Common Core as the basis for formulating new educational standards. It also contained language suggesting that the Common Core standards would merely be ‘revised’ rather than replaced. Most troubling, the bill would have created a ‘comprehensive statewide student assessment program’ to monitor the educational progress of students in an apparent partnership with the federal government.

Even with the amendments, it was still a small step in the right direction and laid the foundation for further action in the future. .

But even with the changes and concessions, Gov. Tomblin still vetoed the bill and stomped out any opportunity for government action to be taken against Common Core in West Virginia during 2016.

In his veto message, Gov. Tomblin stated that “we need to give these changes and measures added time to take hold” and that “we need to be cautious not to undermine stability for our teachers or the children they are trying to educate.”

Apparently, protecting the status quo is more important to the Governor than ensuring a quality education for West Virginia students.


Nevertheless, West Virginia parents are not out of options. When the state is unwilling to take action against federal overreach, the principles of resistance can extend right down to the individual level. There are other states that serve as effective case studies for this sort of resistance to the Common Core educational standards.

The state of New York has been a shining example of the effectiveness that an individual opt-out campaign can have against the Common Core testing programs. Grassroots activists started a movement that spread across the entire state and sent a powerful message against Fed Ed. A USA Today report from last year chronicled the success of their effort:

Some school officials voluntarily reported their figures on Tuesday; others declined, saying the numbers should first be reported to their boards of education; others did not respond at all. Those who responded were responsible for nearly 44,000 students, nearly 10,000 of whom declined to take the test, at a rate of 24 percent.

New York parents were so successful that even teachers have joined in on the resistance. An Apr. 4 New York Post report reads:

Some parents at PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights received emails directly from teachers telling them that their kids can skip the exams without punishment.

“It’s your right to opt out of the NY State Tests. . . . Alternative educational activities are planned for all students opting out,” one email sent by a third grade PS 8 teacher said…

And a fourth grade teacher forwarded an attachment about opting out, claiming it came at the request of assistant principal Robert Mikos, a copy obtained by The Post reveals.

Although state legislators may lack the desire or courage to end participation in Common Core, the public still has options. James Madison advised Americans in Federalist #46 to engage in a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” as the means to fight back against government overreach, and said that such actions in multiple states would be effective in bringing down federal programs.

That timeless principle must be taken all the way down to the individual level in West Virginia to fight back against Common Core. That way, pronouncements from Gov. Tomblin will be rendered moot and West Virginia parents can regain some control over education – whether he approves or not!

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