BISMARCK, N.D. (Jan. 23, 2017) – A bill introduced in the North Dakota House would end Common Core and require legislative approval for implementation of all future education standards. Passage of the legislation would take an important step toward nullifying the nationalized education program in the state.
A coalition of eight Republican representatives and four senators introduced House Bill 1432 (HB1432) on Jan. 16. The legislation would terminate Common Core in the state and replace it with state educational standards.
On the effective date of this Act, the state shall retain sole control over the development, establishment, and revision of course content standards for grades kindergarten through twelve. The state shall terminate all plans, programs, activities, efforts, and expenditures relating to the implementation of the educational initiative commonly referred to as the common core course content standards, or any derivative or permutation of that educational initiative including, any assessments, data collection, or instructions based on or involving that educational initiative. As part of the process of conversion from the common core course content standards, the superintendent of public instruction and any other state agency or employee shall takes steps necessary to terminate areas of federal control over the North Dakota educational process.
HB1432 would temporarily replace Common Core with course content standards in effect in the state of Massachusetts during the 2008-09 school year.It tasks the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop course content standards for the areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, Any future state education standards would have to be approved by the state legislature before going into effect.
While HB1432 would take a big step toward ending Common Core in North Dakota, the process is not without potential pitfalls. As Shane Vander Hart at Truth in American Education said about a similar bill passed in Tennessee, legislatures often do little more than create “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 North Dakota.
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 in 2015 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 North Dakota and a path for other states to follow.
HB1432 was referred to the Education Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.
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