In April, the Tenth Amendment Center reported on a Michigan Senate bill that would have removed the state from Common Core standards. As originally written, it contained provisions explicitly banning Common Core from being re-implemented under a new euphemism. However, a proposed substitute version of the bill would allow a re-branded version of Common Core standards to emerge as their recommended replacement.
Senate Bill 826 (SB826) was introduced on Mar. 1 by Sen. Patrick Colbeck and six co-sponsors. The legislation was originally written to void Common Core standards and create a framework to establish new state standards to replace them. The bill passed in the Senate Education Committee by a 4-1 vote on Apr. 26. In spite of the encouraging initial news, the process has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks.
The Michigan Campaign for Liberty reported on these troubling developments that jeopardize the move back to local and state educational control in the Wolverine State:
In Michigan, the Common Core repeal bill… contains strong language that definitively terminated areas of federal control of the Michigan Educational process… But, there is a push to scrap it and replace it with a water downed bill…
A substitute is being pushed that changes the language to:
The department, and any other state public employee or authority shall take all steps necessary to terminate areas of federal control of the Michigan educational process that are not considered to be in the best interests of pupils in this state.
This added language at the end, “that are not considered to be in the best interest of pupils in this state” opens up a huge loophole… All manner of federal control will be justified under this new provision.
According to prominent educational reform activists in Michigan, Sen. Colbeck has shut them out of the process and worked in backrooms at the state capitol to re-work the language in the bill while keeping the grassroots completely in the dark.
Stop Common Core in Michigan Vice President Tami Carlone explained her dismay regarding SB826 and how the legislation has been co-opted to the Tenth Amendment Center:
“The language of the bill was very carefully selected. National education experts, state education experts, and attorneys were consulted along the way. We crafted it so Michigan children would have the best possible education. The original bill kicks federal control of education in Michigan to the curb, gets rid of inappropriate data collection on our children, and clarifies local control and the rights of parents to opt out of objectionable material. The substitute bill retains federal control and reduces the strength in the language on the other issues.”
Carlone says that Stop Common Core in Michigan has been forced to withdraw their support of SB826 until they can be assured that the bill remains intact, and is not officially replaced with the proposed substitute.
Michigan is heading down a dangerous road that has imperiled other states. Indiana was widely reported as having repealed Common Core back in 2014. The initial language in the bill was strong, but the final version was amended to include a requirement for the new state standards to be in compliance with Federal standards under the No Child Left Behind Act. Tennessee passed an anti-Common Core bill with provisions that gave the State Board of Education the final say on what standards were ultimately adopted.
In West Virginia, a strong bill was initially introduced, but the final product was amended to make it dissimilar to the initial version. The amended language used Common Core as the basis for formulating new educational standards, called for the mere revision of the Common Core standards rather than full repeal, and kept federal data-sharing partnerships in tact. The weakened bill ended up being passed through the legislature, but was ultimately vetoed.
These instances are not mere isolated incidents, but rather this is apart of a coordinated strategy to keep the Common Core standards intact. By pushing through phony reforms in a cloak-and-dagger fashion, the federal-backed standards are protected while the public is deceived. Activists in Tennessee and Indiana were lulled into a false sense of security even though Fed-Ed is still alive and well in their respective states.
“We know the tricks of the pro-Common Core folks to protect their gravy train,” Carlone said. “We have literally seen it all. So, of course, we were very disappointed to be shut out of the process for the Senate bill. I have provided my detailed input on the proposed substitute bill and it has been ignored. It is definitely not being done to serve the best interest of the children.”
Passing a bill like the proposed substitute version of SB826 in Michigan is even worse than getting absolutely nothing passed. It will roll out the red carpet for the feds and their enablers to re-implement Common Core, and will lead Michigan residents to believe that educational standards have been fixed when they clearly have not.
For Michigan: Call Sen. Pat Colbeck, and demand that he refuse to compromise on SB826. Politely urge him to get the original bill passed, as it was passed in the Senate Education Committee, without any amendments or substitutes! He can be reached at (517) 373-7350.
For other states: take action in your state to defeat Common Core at this link.