BISMARCK, N.D. (Feb. 9, 2017) – The Republican-dominate North Dakota House killed a bill to ban Common Core implementation. Voting down the bill ensures that the Core will remain in North Dakota.
Rep. Ben Koppelman (R-Fargo) and 11 co-sponsors introduced House Bill 1432 (HB1432) on Jan. 16. After receving a “do not pass” recommendation from the House Education Committee, Rep. Koppleman was granted a request for his bill to be split up and receive consideration from the House. The original bill was separated into “Division A” and “Division B.” The House rejected Division A by a 27-62 vote while Division B was killed by a 10-78 vote.
The legislation would have terminated Common Core in the state and replace it with state educational standards. It read, in part, as follows:
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.
In addition, HB1432 would have temporarily replaced Common Core with course content standards in effect in the state of Massachusetts during the 2008-09 school year. It would have tasked 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 had to be approved by the state legislature before going into effect.
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 would have represented a positive step forward for residents of the Peace Garden State and a path for other states to follow, but unfortunately, reform will have to wait for at least another year.