As Kasich Leaves Office, He Promotes Education as the Workforce Pipeline

Ohio Governor John Kasich in Des Moines on 6/24/15.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

Ohioans dodged a bullet with Ohio Governor John Kasich leaving office. As he leaves he laments what he was unable to accomplish in the name of education reform and workforce development.

Jeremy Pelzer with Cleveland.com reports:

Outgoing Gov. John Kasich on Monday mulled openly about the future of Ohio’s economy, saying that the state’s K-12 education system needs a “fundamental restructuring” that involves more direct involvement by the business community.

Kasich, speaking to the board of JobsOhio, the state’s non-profit economic development corporation, said Ohio children need to learn skills that businesses need so they can get good-paying jobs as adults.

“And who can do that better than business? Who can explain this to kids better?” Kasich asked.

The governor lamented that two of his proposals in recent years to directly involve businesspeople in K-12 education were shot down. One was to put two non-elected businesspeople on every school board in the state so they could offer guidance on school curricula. The other sought to require Ohio teachers to shadow a local businessperson before they could renew their teaching licenses.

Fortunately, the Ohio Legislature had the good sense to realize those proposals were utter nonsense. If a member of the business community wants to serve on the school board they can run for office. Also, what in the world were teachers supposed to gain by shadowing a local businessperson? What a colossal waste of time. 

His proposals would have doubled down on stupid. The purpose of education is not workforce development. It’s not the job of K-12 schools to feed the workforce pipeline.

Common Core Advocates Biggest Losers in Iowa

2016 Iowa Caucus winner Ted Cruz in New Hampton, IA on 1/23/16. Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)

2016 Iowa Caucus winner Ted Cruz in New Hampton, IA on 1/23/16.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)

Well I’m back from a break as I was focused on covering the Iowa Caucuses, and the results from last night’s vote is pretty telling. Common Core advocates were among the biggest losers in Iowa.

Common Core certainly wasn’t the most visible issue in the last few weeks leading up to Iowa, but early in the year leading up to the Caucuses it was a question I heard a lot at various town hall meetings. It was something mentioned by virtually all of the campaigns minus a couple who tried to avoid the topic. It flew under the radar, but it was an issue that helped to divide the wheat from the chaff.  Not the only issue, mind you, but it was one of the issues.

How can I say this? Look at the results.

The top five candidates coming out of the Iowa Caucuses – Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio (albeit his record is not perfect), Ben Carson, and Rand Paul have all verbally opposed the Common Core State Standards.

The two candidates who still supported the standards – Jeb Bush and John Kasich received a total of 8,712 out of over 186,000 votes cast. That is a stinging rebuke.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, tried to distance himself from previous support of the Common Core State Standards, but most of the grassroots in Iowa didn’t buy it. That issue among others at play derailed his campaign. He only received 1.8% of the vote (3,345 votes). To put this in perspective in 2008 he had set the record for the most votes cast for a candidate. That was shattered last night.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, voters saw through his nonsense. He said he got rid of the Common Core in New Jersey. He didn’t.

Let’s see if New Hampshire can do the same.

Common Core: A Serious Problem for Governors in 2016

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Common Core has been a thorn in Jeb Bush’s presidential campapign
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

It has taken a while for the mainstream media to focus on the effect Common Core has had on Republican presidential campaigns. But Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard, in discussing the unexpected weakness and in some cases collapse of candidates who were or are governors, has drawn the connection between a governor’s support of Common Core and his political fortunes.

As Barnes notes, governors can present themselves as more experienced and reliable since they’ve had to make decisions and run things, not just talk about what they would do if given an executive position. But when they act against the wishes of their states’ citizens on something as critical as education, those citizens sound the alarm about the true nature of this Man Who Would Be President. And with the pro-Constitution, anti-Common Core movement connected by such national networks as TAE, there’s nowhere for the offending governor to hide.

The worst miscreant on the Common Core front, of course, is former Gov. Jeb Bush. Anyone who has attended anti-Common Core rallies in critical electoral states such as Ohio knew from the outset that Bush had no chance with the base (he could have saved a lot of time and money if he had consulted us before launching his campaign). Bush has been Mr. Common Core from the beginning, and nothing he could do or say would change that.

And speaking of Ohio, Gov. John Kasich has achieved the distinction of alienating his constituents on Common Core more than any other candidate. Ohioans not only reject his support of Common Core, they quite properly resent his sneering disdain for their concerns. You may notice the absence of a groundswell for Kasich (even, or perhaps especially, in Ohio).

Then there are the governors such as Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie who initially embraced Common Core but tried to walk back their support. For years Jindal gave the impression that he wasn’t really focused on education issues, and he may truly have seen the light and tried to undo the damage (even with a federal lawsuit), but it was hard for him to erase the lingering distrust of Louisiana parents who tried so hard to get his attention earlier. Christie, on the other hand, has focused less on the unconstitutionality and philosophical deficiencies of Common Core and more on problematic “implementation.” Suggesting that an unconstitutional monstrosity would be fine if it were properly implemented has greatly diminished Christie’s appeal to the Republican base.

Scott Walker is in a category by himself. Having blown both hot and cold on the issue, Walker finally settled into an embrace of “state control” over standards and said the right things against Common Core.  But the anti-Common Core activists in Wisconsin recognized – and repeatedly warned the national networks – that Walker not only was not helping rid the state of Common Core, but he or his people were working behind the scenes to defeat attempts to replace the national standards with superior state standards. The implosion of the Walker campaign began – coincidentally? – about the time these warnings were circulated.

The only governor whose campaign crumbled despite his true anti-Common Core bona fides was Rick Perry. But a compelling argument can be made that Perry’s fall was precipitated more by lingering memories of his campaign stumbles from four years ago than by any of his current positions.

The lesson here is that candidates act at their peril when they ignore parents’ concerns about their children. Add those concerns to worries about threats to the rule of law and to our constitutional structure, and you have a potent force that can sink – and have sunk – political fortunes.

Asking the State Educrat About Common Core Is Not Research

kasich-nh-education-summit-2015Ohio Governor John Kasich (R-OH) was one of the candidates who attended the New Hampshire Education Summit on Wednesday.  He was asked “Common Core, do you still support it?”

Look, let me tell you what I see what that label is. The Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, and by the way you don’t get elected Governor of Georgia if you are a liberal, got together with another governor before I became governor and they said students across the country ought to have the same opportunities and education with high standards. They brought in school officials, state education officials, education experts and they created a set of standards.

In my state we had lower standards. Massachusetts our neighbor here (New Hampshire) they pushed very high standards, their students are doing very well in Massachusetts. So I look at this if you have a very low bar everybody gets to jump over. You remember Lake Wobegon? Everybody’s getting an A, and then we get to graduation and 40 percent are ready for college.

So what I believe in Ohio is we should have high standards and the curriculum should meet high standards needs to be developed by local school boards with parental advisors. I don’t write the standards, President Obama doesn’t write the standards, or the curriculum, we have the high standards established as where we should go and do it only in math and in English. The bottom line is we have higher standards with school boards writing the curriculum to meet the higher standards with parental advisory. I think that is pretty good because I don’t think, I don’t support Washington… I have a whole lot of thoughts about Washington.  I was there in the 90s when we tried to eliminate the Department of Education, ok, I was the chairman of the budget committee. There is no substitute for higher standards and a way to make sure local school boards are involved, the parents are involved and at the end of the day we have some testing to figure out how kids are doing. So if other states don’t want to do that, that’s fine.

If I were President, I would want to travel across the country to state legislatures telling them about the laboratories of change in each of the states so we practice best practices. If you got a better way to do it in New Hampshire, then I should go back to Ohio and try to implement it there. I don’t think Presidents should reign from on high. They ought to be out here giving control back to states and local communities and being part of the process to develop and share great ideas across the country. So you know I don’t know about that term and all that stuff.  I’m just telling you what we’re doing in Ohio.

He was asked about why so many of his competitors “flip flopped” on Common Core.

I don’t change my positions on much unless this fine gentleman here in the nice relaxed shirt and beard can, if you have a better idea for me I’m always willing to change my mind.  If somebody can present a case to me as to why my position is wrong on anything. That’s called open-mindedness, but you’re going to have to make a good case. But for me, I’m not going to change my position because there is four people in the front row yelling at me. I just don’t operate that way. You know, when I get hired as Governor I’m a CEO. You hire me, I do my job.

On the other hand I know that the public has been very concerned about this. That’s why in our Legislature we wrote into the law local control, with local school boards, writing the curriculum with parental advisors. Why did we do it? Because I hear the public yelling about this and they are concerned about it because they love their kids and are worried their kids are at risk, but I have to tell you in looking through all the facts, not getting all of my information from the internet, and looking at this over and over and over again I concluded in my state we need to raise our standards.

I have two 15-year-old daughters.  I want my daughters to come out with the best education. And do I like it when they get As? Love it, but you know what? I’d rather know that they are getting a B or worse than that so we can work on fixing it so they can be better.

That’s what education is about it’s about unlocking your future, and that is what I’m most concerned about Campbell, so on any of these issues, everybody here needs to understand I look at stuff, I study, I can’t tell you how many times I called our state superintendent of schools with at least 1o questions over and over – tell me this, tell me that, tell me this because I want to know the facts. Once I know the facts then I am going to make up my mind and I am going to be the best leader I can be. But none of this finger in the air stuff for me, and I am not putting anybody else down. Everybody has to lead the way they want to lead or do it the way they want to do it. I’m just telling you how I do it.

He said a lot here so let me make just a few observations:

  • It’s obvious he’s just regurgitating the talking points he’s been told about the development of the Common Core State Standards from the governors involvement to who was involved developing the standards.  The pertinent fact is this, the writing team lacked involvement from classroom teachers for the most part, and among the lead writers it lacked people with experience writing standards.  It also lacked content experts, especially in math.
  • Massachusetts had higher standards until they adopted Common Core.  Then they jettisoned them which is a shame as they had an effective model to follow.  It’s unfortunate that the Common Core State Standards Initiative didn’t emulate what they did.
  • Common Core is driving curriculum and creating a literal monopoly.  I don’t know of any school personally (I’m not saying they are not out there) that doesn’t purchase textbooks and writes all of their curriculum in house.  That isn’t to say the curriculum they purchase isn’t adapted, but when everything out there is Common Core because you have a literal monopoly formed in the publishing industry it’s hard to deviate – even if you live in a state that didn’t adopt Common Core. Ask parents in states like Texas, Nebraska and Virginia how often they see curriculum pop up in their schools that says it is Common Core aligned.
  • It’s great he wants parental advisors for curriculum, but it’s too bad he isn’t listening to the parents in his state about Common Core… more on that coming up.
  • “There’s no substitute for higher standards.”  What research is he basing this on since Common Core essentially is dataless reform?
  • Considering Common Core wasn’t field tested before adoption the process of adoption ignored the principles of states being laboratories of change he touts.  When 46 states adopt essentially at one time this does not give states the opportunity to see how it is working in other states.  Common Core and its adoption is the antithesis of federalism.
  • “I’m just telling you what we’re doing in Ohio.” As if that’s original.  Governor Kasich is a follower, not a leader on this issue.  Going with the flow is staying with Common Core.
  • Re. flip flopping… Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, for instance, changed his mind because he listened to parents.  I’ve spoken with him on numerous occasions. He felt this at home.  He’s the only candidate right now that has discussed problems with the content of the standards.  This isn’t just political expedience at play.  There are a number of candidates who have always been against Common Core.
  • He says he’d be willing to change his mind if people would make a good case.  Has he been listening? Yes there are people out there who are lousy advocates of stopping Common Core, but there are plenty of people who have made reasoned arguments against Common Core.  Has he really listened to them.
  • “Not getting all of my information through the internet.” So he’s basically saying grassroots activists and parents are wrong because they get their information from the internet.  There are pro-Common Core websites out there as well I suppose he doesn’t trust those either. Unfortunately the media for years has ignored this story.  Where else were parents to turn?  New media and social media has made up for where mainstream media has failed.  Is there incorrect information being promoted through some websites and blog about Common Core? Yes.  I’ve seen opponents put forth bad information and I’ve seen “trusted” news sources put forth nothing but propaganda.
  • So where does Kasich get his answers?  From his state superintendent of schools!  Ok that’s once source, are we to believe he has done his due diligence studying this issue because he talks to an educrat?  News flash Governor Kasich, that’s not doing your homework.  If you just see what comes out of your State Superintendent’s mouth as facts then your “research” if you can call it that is one-sided. I challenge Kasich to list what study, paper, article he has read from an opponent of Common Core.  There’s a lot of good information out there, but I highly doubt he has read any of it.

You can watch his entire appearance here or below:

Ted Cruz, Rand Paul Receive an A – on Common Core Report Card

rand-paul-education-policy

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, along with Ted Cruz, received an A-.

ThePulse2016, American Principles in Action, and Cornerstone Policy Research released  a Common Core score card on all of the major Republican candidates minus former New York Governor George Pataki and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore.  Leaders are U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) received an A-, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal received a B+.  On the other end of the spectrum former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Governor John Kasich received an F.  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie receive a D+.  Surprisingly, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio received a C.

Here are the candidates’ grades:

A- … Ted Cruz
A- … Rand Paul
B+… Bobby Jindal
B  … Lindsey Graham
B  … Rick Perry
B  … Rick Santorum
B- … Ben Carson
B- … Donald Trump
C+… Carly Fiorina
C  … Mike Huckabee
C  … Marco Rubio
D+… Chris Christie
D+… Scott Walker
F  … Jeb Bush
F  … John Kasich

Full disclosure: I was a contributor for the report that accompanies the report card, but I did not determine the final grade.

The criteria used was:

  1. Whether the candidate recognizes the full scope of the Common Core issue and has advocated for, or taken, action that would roll back the Common Core education standards.
  2. Whether the candidate has advocated for protecting, or taken steps to protect, state and local decision-making in the area of education, e.g., offered a plan to give states enforceable protection against USED overreach, to opt out of the USED, unwind USED as a whole, etc.
  3. Whether the candidate has advocated for protecting child and family privacy, for example by opposing improper gathering and use of data including student medical information and any information that would reflect a student’s psychological characteristics or behaviors.

They could have included more criteria and noted in the scorecard report, “Due to time constraints, we did not include categories that could rightly be included in a Common Core scorecard. Those include initiatives that expand government-funded early childcare and the alignment of education to a national workforce system. Those initiatives will require increased data collection. The latter one will also entail the continuation of federal efforts to shape state “workforce investment” efforts that are an affront to state sovereignty and capitalism and that treat children and adults as human capital–as a means to an end.”

They also explain the grading:

  • A  Champions the issue (e.g., offers legislation, makes it a centerpiece issue)
  • B  Professes support, but has not provided leadership or otherwise championed it
  • C  Has neither helped nor hurt the cause
  • D  Has an overall negative record on the issue
  • F  Robustly and consistently works against the issue

Below are excerpts of what was said about each candidate in the report:

Jeb Bush – F

Gov. Bush is perhaps the most outspoken supporter of the Common Core Standards in the 2016 field. He has publicly praised David Coleman, one of the two chief architects of the Common Core (who is now chairman of the College Board). He has propagated the false narrative that the Common Core standards are merely learning goals and are of high quality.91 He has turned a blind eye to the reasons underlying opposition to Common Core and instead used straw-man arguments to dismiss opponents as relying on “Alice-in- Wonderland logic.

Ben Carson – B-

As a non-office-holder, Carson is pretty much limited to speaking on the issues. He says the right things but has given no indication of a deep understanding of Common Core or the attendant problems.

Chris Christie – D+

We would look for Christie to lead the effort to replace the Common Core in New Jersey with good standards – not just a “review” leading to a rebrand – and to replace PARCC with an assessment aligned to the new standards. His statement, in a thinly veiled reference to Gov. Perry, that at least he tried Common Core is particularly troublesome.116 It indicates that he does not understand how the federal government interferes with state decision- making, does not appreciate the academic deficiencies of the Common Core, and does not understand why parents are upset.

Christie epitomizes “making a big issue into a small issue.” His website does not address Common Core and does not address his view as to the relationship between USED and the states on education. Does he think it is just fine? Does he think the states need structural protections? Does he want to eliminate USED? Perhaps make it bigger? These are campaign issues, and the people want to know.

Ted Cruz – A-

We encourage Sen. Cruz to spell out in greater detail his plans for reigning in the federal government, to talk about the nexus between Common Core’s quality and the perversion of our constitutional structure and to raise the issues with accurate specifics rather than to talk about “repealing” Common Core. Does Cruz have further proposals to safeguard state and local decision-making and protect parental rights? His website does not address the Common Core issues, does not say anything about student and family privacy, and does not address his views as to the relationship between the federal government and the states with regard to education.

Carly Fiorina – C+

Fiorina’s website states, “Government is rigged in favor of powerful interests. The only way to reimagine our government is to reimagine who is running it.” She would do well to address these issues more often and in more detail -especially given that the Common Core is being driven by the “powerful interests” that claim to serve the interests of the economy and business. Fiorina would do well to discuss the issue in more depth, to raise the qualitative problems, and to state whether she has any proposals to safeguard state decision-making.

Lindsey Graham – B

Graham seems to understand the issues with Common Core today, but it is unfortunate this opposition did not come sooner. He missed an early opportunity to strike at the Common Core in 2013 by not co-signing a letter penned by Senator Chuck Grassley to the chair and vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education that called for language to prohibit the use of federal funding to promote the Common Core, end the federal government’s involvement in the Common Core testing consortium, and prevent the United States Department of Education from rescinding a state’s No Child Left Behind waiver if it repealed Common Core.

Mike Huckabee – C

Gov. Mike Huckabee has a checkered past on the issue of the Common Core. Once an ardent supporter of the system, he now claims that the original “governor-controlled states’ initiative” eventually “morphed into a frankenstandard that nobody, including me, can support.” However, as recently as 2013, Mike Huckabee told the Council of Chief State School Officers to “[r]ebrand [Common Core], refocus it, but don’t retreat.”

As the campaign approached, Huckabee began to be more consistent in his opposition (although he was still giving a nod to the supposedly pure origins of the Common Core).

Bobby Jindal – B+

Jindal was an early supporter of Common Core. But in 2014 he come out swinging against it, although he occasionally lapses into a narrative that it was the federal involvement that made it bad. He supported legislation to rid his state of Common Core. He has also sued USED in federal court on the grounds that the Department’s Race to the Top programs was coercive, violates federal law, and is contrary to the Constitution. Jindal stumbled out of the gate on Common Core, but he has righted himself and has admirably pushed back against the federal overreach.

John Kasich – F

Like Bush, Kasich is an unapologetic cheerleader for the Common Core. His only response to the large and active anti-Common Core grassroots operation in Ohio is to make fun of them.

Rand Paul – A-

Sen. Rand Paul supported Senator Grassley’s effort to defund the Common Core in 2013 and 2014. He co-signed a letter penned by Senator Chuck Grassley to the chair and vice- chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education that called for language to be included prohibiting the use of federal funding to promote the Common Core, ending the federal government’s involvement in the Common Core testing consortium and preventing USED from rescinding a state’s No Child Left Behind waiver if it repealed Common Core. Sens. Paul and Cruz are the only senatorial candidates for president who co-signed Grassley’s letter.

Paul has paid more attention to the Common Core issue than most other candidates and has spoken forcefully against it.

Rick Perry – B

Gov. Rick Perry is one of the few candidates, declared or prospective, who has opposed the Common Core from the outset. As Governor, Rick Perry signed HB 462, which effectively banned the Common Core from being adopted in Texas…

…With regard to privacy, in 2013 Perry signed HB 2103, which created a data-sharing agency for educational data governed by an appointed board rather than the state educational agency. It appears that the data can only be shared within the state- with the exception of inter-state sharing with other state departments of education. Among other problems, it allows unfettered data-sharing among agencies designated as “cooperating agencies” –the Texas Education Agency, the state higher-ed authority, and the Texas Workforce Commission. It allows any researcher (no parameters on who is a legitimate researcher) to get data if he uses “secure methods” and agrees to comply with the ineffective federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). It requires each participating state agency to make data available for the preceding 20 years, and allows data-sharing agreements with “local agencies or organizations” that provide education services if “useful to the conduct of research.”

Marco Rubio – C

Sen. Marco Rubio has spoken strongly against Common Core and wrote a letter to Secretary Duncan in 2011 questioning the legality of using federal No Child Left Behind waivers to drive policy changes, like the adoption of Common Core, in the states…

…Rubio’s official website does not specifically address the issue of Common Core. However, it does states that in order to prepare people to “seize their opportunities in the new economy,” high schools should graduate more students “ready to work.” It is hard to parse from this general statement what the education policies would look like under a Rubio Administration. What does Rubio believe would validate a student as “work ready”? Would it be the further alignment of our K-12 education system to the projected demands of specific sectors of the economy to train workers for favored big-businesses, which would mean more of the Chamber of Commerce-endorsed Common Core? Or, does it mean aligning education to the demands of parents and the local community as a whole, which would mean more local control? It would behoove Senator Rubio to answer these questions and to discuss the qualitative aspects of the Common Core and whether he believes the federal involvement helped, or hurt, the quality of the standards.

Rick Santorum – B

Santorum’s website addresses the problem of Common Core in terms of both federal overreach and the substance of the standards. While many other candidates do the former, few address the latter…

…Although Santorum voted for No Child Left Behind when it passed the Senate in 2001, he has since described that vote as “a mistake.” We give a candidate credit for truly admitting a mistake.

Donald Trump – B-

Trump has struck a chord with the Republican base, something many would have thought unlikely a year ago. Citizens view him as having the courage and will to stand and fight, something that many GOP candidates have seemed to lack in years past. As the primary cycle wears on, the base will want to hear more detail from Trump as well as other candidates. The candidate who does this will engender the gratitude of parents and other citizens. Trump would do well to blaze the trail on this.

Scott Walker – D+

Until recently, Governor Walker’s rhetoric on Common Core has been good. He admits that, when he ran in 2010, it wasn’t on his radar and that’s certainly understandable given how the standards were pushed into the states. He rightly gives credit to the state’s citizens for making it an issue, something that may not seem like a big deal, but it is to activists who have been ridiculed as irrational by elitists in both parties…

Sometimes legislation gets watered down despite the intrepid efforts of its proponents. At other times, a nominal proponent gives it lip service but fails to fight and, thereby, actually signals that he will not raise an objection if the legislation is defeated or watered down. On the Common Core, Walker is in the latter category…

You can read the entire report below.

Ohio Legislature Prohibits Funds for PARCC

ohio-state-flagOhio Governor John Kasich could end up line-item veto on the measure, but the Ohio Legislature sent a budget to the Governor’s desk that defunds PARCC.

The language, found on pg. 334 of the budget document, “prohibits GRF appropriations from being used to purchase an assessment developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) for use as the state elementary and secondary achievement assessments.”

It also prohibits funds from Race to the Top “from being used for any purpose related to the state elementary and secondary achievement assessments.”

Ohio is a governing state with PARCC, and the Common Core-aligned assessment consortium has been bleeding membership and has been plagued with roll-out problems, a high number of students opting out, and received bad PR after admitting it monitors student social media related to the assessment.

The Legislature does require the state to use standardized assessments for elementary and secondary students that are “nationally normed.”

“The PARCC brand name has been so badly damaged that even though people are more comfortable and familiar with it, the anger and the angst over it would still be there and that just wouldn’t be a good environment for things,” said state Education Committee Chairman Peggy Lehner, a Republican, told Politico’s Morning Education.

The budget does not prevent the state from adopting Smarter Balanced however as the consortia no longer uses Race to the Top funds.  Also, the standards are still in place and with the standardized assessment requirement in the budget, as well as, the No Child Left Behind testing mandates it seems unlikely that Ohio will escape the use of some Common Core-aligned assessment whether it is Smarter Balanced, ACT Aspire or one Ohio independently develops.

The good news is that this could put PARCC in a precarious fiscal position.

Kasich is not expected to line-item veto the measures.

Ohio House Passes Anti-PARCC Bill

ohio-state-flagThe Columbus Dispatch reports last week that the Ohio House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would eliminate PARCC and restrict the amount of testing done in the state.

A wide-ranging bill that would eliminate the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests in Ohio and limit state achievement tests to three hours per year passed the House 92-1 on Wednesday.

“Clearly, the implementation of PARCC assessments are not going well and need to be replaced,” said Rep. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell. He sponsored House Bill 74, which also reduces the number of end-of-course exams that high-school students must take and blocks the PARCC consortium from submitting a proposal for replacement tests.

Brenner said his bill overlaps in some areas with the 30-member Senate Advisory Committee on Testing, which issued recommendations two weeks ago, including the scaling back of new twice-a-year tests to once a year. The Kasich administration also has recommended reducing testing times.

The House bill has some good components, said Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, but it also contains provisions that are premature and could threaten $750 million in annual federal education funding. The federal government requires the state to assess students in English/language arts and math in grades 3-8 and again in high school.

“Some of the ways they’ve described how testing could be limited would be in direct violation of federal requirements,” Lehner said of the House bill. “We could end up with a test that doesn’t do what needs to be done.”

Update: Heidi Huber of Ohioans Against Common Core is not excited about this bill, she told me on Facebook:

All you have to do is look at the sponsor name. The lone dissenting vote was Andy Thompson, the only stalwart in our Ohio fight. The bill is not as described. Ruse #6 I believe in the Brenner series. As an example; an amendment that prohibits only a consortium assessment that was funded by ARRA. Classic. Brenner himself said the bill does nothing, but that won’t keep them from touting they killed PARCC. The federal mandate still exists and the standards are still in place. Nothing to see here but more kabuki theater. The kids be damned, there’s profit to be had.

John Kasich’s Alternate Common Core Reality

John-KasichOhio Governor John Kasich was on Fox News Sunday this weekend and he made some incredible claims about the Common Core State Standards.  Incredible enough that my jaw literally dropped.

Kasich who has been discussed as a prospective 2016 presidential candidate must be living in some alternate reality from the rest of us.

Here are his remarks in full:

The Common Core was written by state education superintendents and local principals in my state of Ohio.  We want higher standards for our children and those standards are set, and the curriculum is set by local school board.  Barack Obama doesn’t set it.  The State of Ohio doesn’t set it.  It is local school boards driving better education, higher standards, created by local school boards.

I’ve asked the Republican governors who have complained about this to tell me where I’m wrong and guess what?  Silence.  But you know part of the problem is to date politicians are running to get votes.  What we try to do out here, we run out here trying to solve problems, and we have a problem with the education standards and our children’s ability to compete in the world.  We’re not going to turn this over to Washington or even to Columbus our state capital.  It’s local schools with local school boards and high standards.  I don’t know how anybody can disagree with that unless you’re running for something.

Let me respond…

1. The Common Core State Standards in math and English/language arts that the Ohio State Board of Education adopted in 2010 were not written by state school chiefs.  They most certainly were not written by school principals.  Liar, liar, pants on fire.  Either that or completely ignorant about the process.  I can’t speak to the rest of Ohio’s New Learning Standards that include a broader range of topics, but I can speak to this.  With Common Core there was a writing team brought together by Achieve, Inc. and five lead writers.  None of those folks were Ohio’s State Superintendent of Education nor were any a school principal.

2. The State of Ohio doesn’t set their own standards?  Then what the heck are Ohio’s New Learning Standards.  Is he telling us that school districts are free to choose their own standards?  That’s fascinating when with Ohio Curriculum only high school students who graduate between 2014-2017 are allowed to opt-out.  The fact the Ohio Department of Education even has a model curriculum to accompany standards tells me at the very least that the state, not local school boards, set the standards.

3. No one reputable has claimed President Obama sets the standards, but only someone who is being disingenuous can’t admit that Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind flexibility waivers influenced states into adopting the Common Core prematurely and without legislative grants of approval.

4. Kasich wants to “solve problems” but has been opposed to a bill that would replace the Common Core math and ELA standards that exist with the Massachusetts pre-Common Core standards that actually are proven.

5. How are we to believe that local school boards have a say when Kasich won’t even listen to voters?  Only 26% of Ohio voters support Common Core… just 1 in 4.  Who can disagree with that?  Parents.  Teachers.  Kids.  These Republican governors he is criticizing are actually listening to their voters.  Is this something that should be scoffed now?

Earth to Kasich.  Come back from fantasy land.  You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

Stop Common Core Activist Blocked From a Kasich Event

A tea party leader, Ann Becker, was blocked from entering a campaign event for Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio). She says it was because of what she was wearing – a Stop Common Core t-shirt from Ohioans Against Common Core. The campaign said that wasn’t the reason. They say she was kept out because she was being disruptive.

How does one have the chance to be disruptive before even entering the event?

Here is an excerpt from The Cincinnati Enquirer recounting the incident.

Ann Becker, tea party president and a Butler County voter, said she was wearing an “Ohioans Against Common Core” T-shirt when private security stopped her from entering the event at Voice of America MetroPark and asked if she was invited.

Kasich campaign spokeswoman Connie Wehrkamp said the incident had nothing to do with the T-shirt. People wearing those same T-shirts were permitted in a similar Kasich rally in Hamilton County, she said. About 200 supporters attended the West Chester rally.

“It was about the fact that they were disrupting an event,” Wehrkamp said. “They were asked to leave and the event went on without problems from there.”

The dispute over the rally comes as polls show Kasich cruising to re-election – and getting national chatter as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. It underscores difficulties Kasich may face in any GOP primaries, in which the party’s more conservative faction often flexes its muscle.

At Monday’s rally, Becker – who served as a Butler County GOP central committee woman until May – said she was told she was not on the guest list, even though she showed the officer the email RSVP she had sent to the Butler County GOP earlier in the day.

“He said I had to leave the premises immediately or I would be removed,” said Becker, who was among a group of T-shirt wearing protesters who were denied access to the event.