An Open Letter to Louisiana Senate Education Committee

Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge
Photo credit: Farragutful via Wikimedia Commons (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Sara Wood, a contact and fellow advocate in Louisiana, shared a letter with me via email. She graciously gave permission for me to post it here. This is a letter she sent the Louisiana Senate Education Committee after they killed SB73. SB73 would have allowed “each public school governing authority to determine the education content standards and assessments to be used in the schools under its jurisdiction.” Thank you, Sara, for permission to publish your letter and more importantly, thank you for your advocacy efforts. I know many parents who, unfortunately, will relate to what you expressed so well in this letter.

Dear Senators,

For years our hope as informed parents has proven to be eternal in the face of stonewalling by those who are meant to protect freedom and limit government—>you, the members of this Committee and the entire legislature—>while at the same time unabashedly kowtowing to special interest/donors. In spite of the stonewalling and cronyism, and in the face of the highest of financial and otherwise interested opposition, we, the informed parents, have remained vigilant and persevered in our endeavor to shed light on the destructive and abusive path upon which we were forced so many years ago. This destructive and abusive path of the Common Core State Standards Initiative was heaped on parents and children in a very undemocratic and unconstitutional manner as we have proven until blue in the face to no impact on you, who were elected to protect freedom and limit government. What was heaped upon our children and what continues to manifest itself is overwhelmingly, in too many degrees, a form of mental and emotional child abuse to those of us outside of the special interest/ruling elite circles and whose decisions are not financially motivated (you and your cronies). Nonetheless, here parents were again today attempting to have you do your job to protect our freedom and limit government and again you failed. This attempt was in the form of Senator John Milkovich’s SB73 which the majority of you gave short shrift, as usual. TRUE LOCAL CONTROL IS THE ONLY WAY OUT OF THIS FAILING INITIATIVE FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE SCHOOLS IN THIS STATE! I know you don’t give a squat beyond maybe GIVING THE APPEARANCE of care for anything with regards to non-special interest, parents and children. No need to deny it, the conclusion comes from many years of rational observation. So I really only write to convey my disgust with this majority, though it was totally expected, because I want to burst any delusional bubble in which you might be living with regards to your obligation of acting to protect freedom and limiting government.

Thank you for doing nothing once again to actually stop the centralization of education and the standardization of children, AS EXPECTED. If I believed in Karma, I would take comfort that one day what you have brought around to us, the everyday taxpaying parents and their families, will come around tenfold to you and yours. But I don’t believe in Karma, I believe in God and so I will continue to pray for God to move you to that which is right. A move that would have you act TRULY, GENUINELY AND HUMBLY to protect our freedoms and to limit government in education and in all else greatly affecting our everyday lives rather than burdening our freedoms to the point of decimation, growing government through increased laws; unelected commission/boards passing regulations; taxes, fees, licensing, etc.; and doing so in a manner that serves yourself by serving your special interest cronies/donors. Further, I pray that one day, my children will see a true shift towards having A TRUE AND GENUINE MAJORITY of our elected officials uphold their oaths and promises of protecting freedom and limiting government. God help us!

Sara Wood

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A Tale of Two Ohio Common Core Bills

Ohio State Capitol in Columbus, OH
Photo credit: Jim Bowen (CC-By-2.0)

After I had written about HB 176, introduced into the Ohio House of Representatives in early April, I was informed there was a second bill. HB 181 was introduced five days after HB 176, It is sponsored by State Representatives Ron Hood (R-Ashville) and Thomas Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout) and has 13 co-sponsors.

You can read the text here.

In my opinion, this is a weaker bill. There is some great language. For instance, it bans the use of PARCC and Smarter Balanced:

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Revised Code or in any rule or directive of the state board of education, superintendent of public instruction, or department of education, on or after July 1, 2017, the department of education shall not use any assessment related to the partnership for assessment of readiness for college and career (PARCC), the smarter balanced assessments, or any other assessment developed by a multistate consortium, for use as any of the assessments prescribed under sections 3301.0710 and 3301.0712 of the Revised Code.

It prohibits officials from tying the state to any memorandum that would tie the state’s hands.

No official or board of this state, whether appointed or elected, shall enter into any agreement or memorandum of understanding with any federal or private entity that would require the state to cede any measure of control over the development, adoption, or revision of academic content standards.

Regarding academic standards, the bill says: “The state board shall not adopt academic content standards that are developed at the national level or by a multistate consortium.”

Great.

Here are the weaknesses of this particular bill compared to HB 176:

  • It does not explicitly forbid the Ohio State Board of Education from continuing to use Common Core. It just says the state shall “periodically adopt standards.” There is no deadline for new standards in math or ELA from what I can see.
  • While the legislation states that the state board “shall not adopt academic content standards that are developed at the national level or by a multistate consortium” there is nothing in the bill that would prevent the Board from just revising their current standards and then declaring them to be “Ohio standards.” We have seen this done in numerous states.
  • It does not require the adoption of quality standards in the interim. HB 176 required the implementation of the Massachusetts standards pre-Common Core.
  • The bill does not require the State Legislature to approve the new standards unlike HB 176. Sorry, state boards of education have proven themselves to be completely untrustworthy in repealing Common Core when review bills have become law.
  • It does not give school districts flexibility in how much they will utilize standards approved by the State Board of Education.

Is it better than nothing? Yes if they implement HB 181 in good faith. I have yet to see a state board or department of education operate in good faith when academic standards reviews are concerned. I should also note that HB 176 has twice the number of co-sponsors that HB 181 has. I would recommend that the Ohio House pass the stronger bill.

Will West Virginia’s Common Core Prohibition Change Their Standards?

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed HB 2711 into law last week. It directs the West Virginia State Board of Education in several ways, the board:

(1) Is prohibited from implementing the Common Core academic standards;

(2) Shall allow West Virginia educators the opportunity to participate in the development of the academic standards;

(3) Shall provide by rule for a cyclical review, by West Virginia educators, of any academic standards that are proposed by the state board;

(4) Shall review assessment tools, including tests of student performance and measures of school and school system performance, and determine when any improvements or additions are necessary;

(5) Shall consider multiple assessments, including, but not limited to, a state testing program developed in conjunction with the state’s professional educators with assistance from such knowledgeable consultants as may be necessary, which may include criterion referenced tests;

(6) Is prohibited from adopting the Smarter Balanced Assessment system or the PARCC assessment system as the statewide summative assessment;

(7) Shall review all accountability measures, such as the accreditation and personnel evaluation systems and consider any improvements or additions deemed necessary; and

(8) Shall ensure that all statewide assessments of student performance are secure.

(c) The state board shall not adopt any national or regional testing program tied to federal funding, or national or regional academic standards tied to federal funding, without oversight by the legislative oversight commission on education accountability.

The question is this, will this law change the standards? The West Virginia State Board tweaked the standards recently, and the Charleston Gazette reported that education leaders say no.

“We are fine with that and we are beyond Common Core,” state Schools Superintendent Steve Paine said of the line while testifying at an April 6 Senate Education Committee meeting.

“No, it’s not going to require them to do that at all,” Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association school employees union, said of the notion that the bill could force the state board to change. “In my opinion, it just prevents us from going back to Common Core standards, which we don’t have anyway and haven’t had in a while.”

He used the common argument that West Virginia’s standards have been similar and even predate Common Core.

“I’m not concerned at all, because if you took that literally that you couldn’t adopt any standards that were in Common Core standards, you wouldn’t have any standards,” Lee said.

“I never really thought of it as being challenged in court,” said A.J. Rogers, executive director of the West Virginia Association of School Administrators. “But I know the organization is very much in favor of leaving the standards alone and letting the teachers teach.”

Rogers has said his organization includes almost all county public school system superintendents. He said the group still wants Justice to veto the bill because it nixes the current Regional Education Service Agencies.

“We felt the Common Core was repealed when [former superintendent] Dr. [Michael] Martirano stood before the Legislature last year and said Common Core is repealed,” Rogers said.

Since the state board tweaked a few standards, education leaders believe they can ignore the law. If West Virginia does not successfully implement the law, I hope someone sues. Educrats need to be held accountable.

Common Core Repeal Bill Introduced in Ohio House

State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) introduced HB 176, a bill that would repeal Common Core in Ohio, earlier this month. Download the text of the bill (as introduced) here. The bill currently has 26 co-sponsors in the Ohio House.

The bill analysis of HB 176 summarizes the legislation, as it relates to academic standards and assessments, this way:

Academic content standards and model curricula

  • Prohibits the State Board of Education from adopting, and the Department of Education from implementing, the Common Core State Standards, or any standards developed by any similar initiative process or program, as the state’s academic content standards for English language arts mathematics, science, or social studies and voids any prior actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards
  • Requires the State Board, to replace the academic content standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies with new standards that are consistent with the standards adopted by Massachusetts prior to that state’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards, so that Ohio’s standards are as identical as possible to those adopted by Massachusetts, except where an Ohio context requires otherwise.
  • States that a school district is not required to utilize all or any part of the academic content standards adopted by the State Board.
  • Prohibits the State Board from adopting or revising any academic content standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies until the new or revised standards are approved by the appropriate subject area subcommittee created under the bill, and approved by the General Assembly by a concurrent resolution.
  • Creates the 13-member Academic Content Standards Steering Committee to do the following: (1) determine a chair and co-chair of the committee, (2) appoint four individuals to oversee the development of the standards documents, (3) contract, if necessary, with an individual who has a “national reputation” in the areas of academic content standards and assessments to facilitate the committee’s work, (4) establish a subcommittee each in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies to review and approve any new or revised standards, and (5) select, by majority vote of all members, a chair for each subcommittee.
  • Prohibits the State Board from adopting any model curricula.

Achievement assessments and diagnostic assessments

  • Eliminates the fourth-grade and sixth-grade social studies assessments and the fall administration of the third-grade English language arts assessment.
  • Specifies that the elementary-level assessments must be the assessments administered before 2010 in Iowa.
  • Specifies that the administration of the elementary-level assessments must occur at the discretion of each discretion or school.
  • Eliminates the retention provision for students who fail to attain a passing score on the third-grade English arts assessment.
  • Replaces the current seven high school end-of-course examinations in English language arts I, English language arts II, Science, Algebra I, geometry, American history, and American government with examinations in English language arts, mathematics, and science.
  • Specifies that the high school exams must be the assessments administered before 2010 in Iowa.
  • Eliminates an exemption under current law that allows students in public and chartered nonpublic high schools to forego taking a nationally standardized assessment that measures college and career readiness if that student has attained a “remediation-free” score on the assessment and has presented evidence of that fact to the student’s district or school.
  • Prohibits the State Board of Education from using the assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the Smarter Balanced assessments, or any other assessment related to or based on the Common Core State Standards for use as state achievement assessments.
  • Eliminates the requirement to administer any diagnostic assessment to students in grades kindergarten through three, and instead authorizes districts and schools to administer such assessments.

Utah Legislature Calls for Abolishment of U.S. Department of Education

Utah State Representative Ken Ivory (R-West Jordan) sponsored a resolution calling for the restoration of the division of governmental responsibilities between the national government and the state (aka Federalism).

HJR 017 passed the Utah House on March 6 with a 60 to 14 vote. On March 9 it passed the Utah Senate on a 20 to 1 vote. It was then enrolled on March 17.

Below is the excerpt of the resolution dealing with education:

WHEREAS, the [federalism] Commission received the following summary of federal overreach: EDUCATION

  • Recognize that education is not a power delegated to the federal government under the Constitution, it is reserved to the states;
  • Abolish the United States Department of Education and block grant administration costs and federal appropriations to the state;
  • Repeal the mandates of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; and
  • Relax the overly expansive interpretation of federal regulations, which increase costs and adversely affects education at all levels;

The bill sends a strong message to Congress and the White House that Utah at least is fed up with federal overreach. Hopefully other states will do the same to put pressure on Congress to act.

Kentucky Legislature Sends a Common Core Review Bill to Governor

Photo credit: Matt Turner (CC-By-2.0)

An update on SB 1, after it passed in the Kentucky Senate 35-0 back in February it was amended in the Kentucky House and then passed 94-0 on March 15th. Since it was amended the Senate had to take it up again and they passed it on Wednesday 37-0.

The bill was then delivered to Governor Matt Bevin for his signature.

What does it do?

Here is how the Associated Press described it:

Kentucky lawmakers have wrapped up work on an education bill that would gradually repeal Common Core standards and give school districts more control in how to turn around low-performing schools.

Here’s what the bill calls for:

Beginning in fiscal year 2017-2018, and every six (6) years thereafter, the Kentucky Department of Education shall implement a process for reviewing Kentucky’s academic standards and the alignment of corresponding assessments for possible revision or replacement to ensure alignment with postsecondary readiness standards necessary for global competitiveness and with state career and technical education standards.

They get into some specifics:

The revisions to the content standards shall:

  1. Focus on critical knowledge, skills, and capacities needed for success in the global economy;
  2. Result in fewer but more in-depth standards to facilitate mastery learning;
  3. Communicate expectations more clearly and concisely to teachers, parents, students, and citizens;
  4. Be based on evidence-based research;
  5. Consider international benchmarks; and
  6. Ensure that the standards are aligned from elementary to high school to postsecondary education so that students can be successful at each education level.

I’m seeing a ton of Common Core advocate catch phrases here. Granted if they actually consider international benchmarking then they should be throwing Common Core on the garbage heap. Having fewer standards are better. “Evidence-based research” is good if it goes beyond the research provided by the National Governors’ Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. Also, having elementary school be the starting point for standards should cause some improvements with early elementary standards. Previously it appeared the process was the exact opposite.

So I don’t want to say this is all bad, but it isn’t a repeal.

The review process looks very similar to what I’ve seen in other states. It leaves the door open to replacement, but it is set up to primarily be just a revision of the standards.

If I lived in Kentucky I wouldn’t get too excited about this. Granted it’s better than status quo at the moment, but, in my opinion, this bill is far from what was promised.

Iowa Senate Poised to Vacate Decision to Use Smarter Balanced

Last year the Iowa State Board of Education approved the Smarter Balanced Assessment as the new statewide assessment to replace the current Iowa Assessments developed by the Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa. The Iowa Senate will consider a bill, SF 240, that would stop the implementation from taking place.

The Des Moines Register in their coverage says the bill takes Iowa back to square one.

A bill moving through the Iowa Statehouse could undo four years of work to bring new state exams to Iowa schools.

Convened at the direction of state lawmakers in 2013, the Iowa Assessment Task Force met 16 times over 13 months to review proposals by eight testing vendors, including one marathon,12-hour day of interviews.

The task force’s recommendation for a new state exam was heralded as a major step forward for Iowa education: The Smarter Balanced tests it selected use technology to better pinpoint student ability, potentially giving teachers and schools more accurate and immediate information.

Governor Terry Branstad put the implementation of Smarter Balanced on hold at the start of the legislative session. Here’s the thing… the assessment move was heralded by those who were already in favor of Smarter Balanced. This move to Smarter Balanced was not heralded by parents, and certainly not taxpayers.  While the leadership of certain organizations were on board with Smarter Balanced it is questionable how much their members actually support it.

I reported in December how this assessment was impacting one school district in Western Iowa. I also shared the fiscal impact Smarter Balanced was going to have on the state.

Carroll Community School District is a school district in Western Iowa who has an enrollment of 1773 students. District Superintendent Rob Cortes told KCIM 1380 AM that the change represents an increase of $25,000 to the district’s assessment costs. This is an increase the state of Iowa has not set money aside to cover. Cortes noted that in order to pay for Smarter Balanced they will discontinue other assessments they used along with the current Iowa Assessments.

This represents a significant increase, consider what this is costing larger school districts.

Here are hard cost estimates to Iowa’s districts based on 2013-2014 enrollment (see spreadsheet of district breakdown):

  • SBAC summative: nearly a $5.5 million increase (500% increase)
  • SBAC summative, interim, digital library: over a $6.8 million increase (nearly 700% increase)
  • Next Generation Iowa Assessment: over a $3.2 million increase (300% increase)

Those numbers have only gotten worse. Also when you consider the budget shortfall of $131 million Iowa is projected to have this fiscal year with FY 2018 looking even more grim implementing this test would just be irresponsible.

Then there is the problem of Smarter Balanced showing no validity or reliability. Missouri Education Watchdog reported back in 2015:

An eye opening report  “Issues and Recommendation for Resolution of the General Assembly Regarding Validity and Reliability of the Smarter Balanced Assessments Scheduled for Missouri in Spring 2015″ authored by Dr. Mary Byrne of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core, in consultation with other teachers and a test development expert, shows that the SBAC test Missouri schools are poised to give this spring has no external validity or reliability. In laymen terms this means that the test developers have no corroborating outside confirmation to prove that their test questions measure what they claim to measure or can produce consistent results in repeated administrations. All they have is their own claim of validity and a plan to develop this external validity some time in the future. This means that no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from student scores on this exam. Despite the fact that SBAC piloted both the test items AND the delivery system simultaneously, making determination of why a student may have missed an answer extremely difficult to tease out, SBAC went ahead and set cut scores from data collected during the pilot tests given last spring. Further, by design, those cut scores have been set so that 62% of the children will score below proficient according to this EdWeek article.

Improvements have not been made on that front.

Then, the assessment task force process was a sham since it was guided by the Iowa Department of Education. They had already invested in Smarter Balanced. I have yet to see a task force make a recommendation that is contrary to the will of the Iowa Department of Education.

The current bill requires the Iowa Department of Education to issue an RFP by April 30, 2017 for a new assessment to be ready by July 1, 2018. The assessment has to be in both paper-and-pencil and computer-based format. The bill then says this:

In evaluating the proposals, the department shall only consider the feasibility of implementation by school districts; the costs to school districts and the state in providing and administering the statewide assessment and the technical support necessary to administer the statewide assessment; the costs of acquiring the infrastructure necessary for implementing technology readiness in all of Iowa’s school districts, including technology required for accommodations; the degree to which the submission is aligned with the Iowa core academic standards; the ability of the assessment to measure student growth and student proficiency; the ability of the assessment to meet the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, Pub. L. No. 114-95; and the instructional time required to conduct the statewide assessment.

Unfortunately Iowa will still end up with a Common Core-aligned test since the bill requires it and Iowa’s math and ELA standards are Common Core. Every Student Succeeds Act requires a state’s assessment be aligned with their standards. The bill also does not require the state to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium as an affiliate member. I don’t see how the Department can feign independence while maintaining affiliate member status with the Consortium. Governor Branstad supposedly withdrew Iowa from the consortium, but Smarter Balanced still lists Iowa as an affiliate member. Iowa was a governing member before.

The best case scenario out of this legislative session is that a better fiscal decision for taxpayers will be made and a better assessment will be selected. Putting this back into the hands of the Iowa Department of Education and Iowa State Board of Education though I have my doubts.

When a Repeal Isn’t a Repeal

West Virginia State Capitol Building – Charleston, WV
Photo credit: O Palsson (CC-By-2.0)

SB 524 currently before the West Virginia Senate is being touted as a Common Core repeal. The bill, unlike the HB 2443 introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates, does not effectively repeal the Common Core State Standards.

Let me explain.

Right now SB 524, if passed, would prohibit the State Board of Education from implementing the Common Core State Standards by July 1, 2018. Sounds good right?

Well, that in itself is a a watering down of the bill as this reflects an amendment, the introduced version said the prohibition was effective July 1, 2017. So this gives Common Core another year to be entrenched in West Virginia schools.

Then the HB 2443 and the original version of SB 524 required the adoption of Massachusetts’ ELA standards pre-Common Core and California’s math standards pre-Common Core. This was amended out.

Why? Susan Berry with Breitbart News reports the explanation State Senator Robert Karnes (R-Ripley), the author of that amendment, told her:

I’m fine with those standards, but there was a real concerted effort by some to…I don’t know if you could exactly say slander, but let’s just say they hit those standards very hard for being old and out of touch…and it was carrying a lot of weight. So, the amendment, essentially, served one purpose, and that was to keep the bill alive and move it over to the House.

And there’s an effort over there to define more clearly what we did in the amendment, essentially saying that state teachers, state educators, will be involved in any standards formulation, adoption, etc. We put that in there, and I’m told that on the House side they’ve got some even better language.

But, having those specific standards in there, I believe would have essentially killed the bill. It’s better to keep it moving than to watch it die.

There is not requirement for the state to adopt proven standards right away, but move straight to the development of new standards which would require the Board to “allow West Virginia educators the opportunity to participate in the development of the academic standards.”

There would then be a sixty day comment period and four public hearings.

Needless to say, that doesn’t provide any assurances West Virginia won’t end up with a rebrand. Actually what we’ve seen thus far in other states pretty much guarantees it.

The State Board of Education recently voted to move away from Smarter Balanced starting next school year. What will the state end up with?

It’s important to note that the Every Student Succeeds Act requires as part of a state’s accountability plan to have standards and an assessment that are aligned with one another.

If the State Board of Education is develops a new assessment before being prohibited from implementing the Common Core State Standards what do we think their new assessment will be aligned to?

When they develop new standards under this new assessment what do we think those standards will be aligned to?

In the end you have Common Core or some version of it.

I agree with Erin Tuttle, co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core, that saw a rebranding in their own state Susan Berry quotes Tuttle in her piece:

Despite boastful claims from state legislators that Common Core was repealed, the people of West Virginia aren’t buying it. The fact that every school is still using Common Core textbooks and administering a Common Core test (Smarter Balance) is an everyday reminder to students, parents, and teachers that the state legislature’s claim is false….

….Until state legislators stop lying to themselves and admit what everyone else knows to be true, very little progress will be made by West Virginia’s schools. The state legislature needs to face reality and pass a bill that not only repeals Common Core, but ensures it is replaced by standards that work.

New Jersey Assembly Says Don’t Use PARCC as a Graduation Requirement

Yesterday the New Jersey Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of ACR 215 by a 69 to 3 vote with two members abstaining. The resolution basically says that the New Jersey State Board of Education overstepped and went beyond what the Legislature intended when they passed graduation requirements and that they did not intend for PARCC to be used as a graduation requirement.

Here’s the language:

This concurrent resolution embodies the finding of the Legislature that the State Board of Education’s regulations to revise the assessments required for students to demonstrate graduation proficiency, adopted on August 3, 2016 and published in the New Jersey Register on September 6, 2016, are not consistent with the intent of the Legislature as established in State law, P.L.1979, c.241 (C.18A:7C-1 et seq.).

The State Board of Education will have 30 days from the date of transmittal of this resolution to amend or withdraw the regulations, or the Legislature may, by passage of another concurrent resolution, exercise its authority under the Constitution to invalidate the regulations.

Carolee Adams, the President of Eagle Forum of New Jersey, shared the following message with Truth in American Education.

ACR215 Overwhelmingly Passes the NJ State Assembly overturning the egregious requirement to pass PARCC to graduate that is inconsistent with the intent of the legislature! Now onto the NJ State Senate!

Thank you to my Assembly members Robert Auth (R-39) and Holly Schepisi (R-39) who voted YES along with 65 others!

Voting “No”: Asm. Anthony Bucco-R-25); Erik Peterson (R-23); and Jay Webber (R-26). Abstaining: Jon Bramnick (R-21); Gregory McGuckin (R-10). Not Voting Michael Carroll (R-25); Joseph Egan (D-17); Reed Gusciora (D-15); Declan O’Scanlon (R-13); Eliana Pintor-Marin (D-29); Kevin Rooney (R-40); David Russo (R-40); David Wolfe (R-10.)
(67 Yeas; 3 Nays;2 Abstain; 8 Not Voting)

Please thank those members who voted YES using this link for contact information. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/abcroster.asp

Here is the picture of the vote roster:

The New Jersey Senate is considering the companion, identical resolution – SCR 132.

New Hampshire Senate Passes Bill Making Common Core Voluntary

Last week the New Hampshire Senate voted 14 to 9 to pass SB 44. This bill is not a repeal of the Common Core State Standards, but it makes the math and ELA standards voluntary for local school districts in the Granite State.

The bill that was sponsored by State Senators Kevin Avard (R-Nashua), Dan Innis (R-New Castle), Harold French (R-Franklin), Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), John Reagan (R-Deerfield), Gary Daniels (R-Milford), and Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead). State Representatives Rick Ladd (R-Haverhill), Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro), and David Murotake (R-Nashua) have sponsored the bill in the House.

The text of the bill reads:

1  Substantive Educational Content of an Adequate Education.  Amend RSA 193-E:2-a, IV to read as follows:

IV.(a) The minimum standards for public school approval for the areas identified in paragraph I shall constitute the opportunity for the delivery of an adequate education. The general court shall periodically, but not less frequently than every 10 years, review, revise, and update, as necessary, the minimum standards identified in paragraph I and shall ensure that the high quality of the minimum standards for public school approval in each area of education identified in paragraph I is maintained. Changes made by the board of education to the school approval standards through rulemaking after the effective date of this section shall not be included within the standards that constitute the opportunity for the delivery of an adequate education without prior adoption by the general court. The board of education shall provide written notice to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the chairs of the house and senate education committees of any changes to the school approval standards adopted pursuant to RSA 541-A.

(b)  Neither the department of education nor the state board of education shall by statute or rule require that the common core state standards developed jointly by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers be implemented in any school or school district in this state.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives will now have to consider this bill.

Local school districts have a history of pushing back against the Common Core in New Hampshire. In 2013, for instance, the Manchester Public Schools Board voted to reject Common Core.

Ultimately what makes this difficult for school districts to do is the mandated statewide assessment school districts have to administer to their students, as well as, the glut of Common Core-aligned curriculum. New Hampshire is still a member of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The New Hampshire General Court needs to address the assessments as well. Every Student Succeeds Act requires that state assessments align with state standards. Making the standards optional, while a first step, ultimately doesn’t go far enough.