Oklahoma Common Core Repeal Being Challenged in Court

The Oklahoma  State Board of Education (sans Bill Price and Kathryn Franks) along with some teachers and parents have filed a lawsuit in order to stop the Common Core repeal that Governor Mary Fallin signed earlier this month.  It will be heard before the Oklahoma Supreme Court on July 14th at 10:30am.

Jenni White of Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE) summarized the lawsuit in an email sent out today:

Basically, the lawsuit asserts the role of the Oklahoma legislature in reviewing our new education standards (after creation in two years’ time) is unconstitutional.  Please see my blog as to why this assertion is ludicrous and why this lawsuit could have far reaching ramifications on school choice and pre-K programming.  It could also chill the ability of your voice to be heard on any board, council or rule-making body by silencing the voice of the legislator, thereby promoting legislation via bureaucracy.

White also included an action item for readers.

ROPE has retained two separate attorneys to write Amicus briefs on behalf of all those who worked so hard to stop Common Core in Oklahoma.  We will be contacting you soon to ask for help in financing these actions.  In the meantime, we are asking you to write your own state Senator and Representative and ask them who will represent the state’s interest in this lawsuit.

Currently, the only attorneys of record are those representing the plaintiffs!  Why are there no attorneys representing the respondents; Senate Pro Temps Brian Bingman, Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman, the State of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State Department of Education – the position that represents OUR interests?  Is this lawsuit to go unchallenged? The way we understand it, Amicus briefs and respondent responses are due in the court by JULY 9th!  We have no time to waste!

Here is a suggested letter:

Dear Senator/Representative,

June 5th, Governor Mary Fallin signed HB3399 – the repeal of the Common Core State Standards in Oklahoma – into law.  Currently, a challenge is being mounted against the bill in the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  With no representation listed for the respondents in the case, who will defend the interests of the state – OUR interests? 

As reflected by the overwhelming votes FOR HB3399 at the end of this session, Oklahomans DO NOT WANT Common Core.  Please ask how Oklahoma will be represented in this lawsuit and let me know.  This lawsuit is about more than Common Core.  If won, far reaching ramifications on school choice and pre-k programs in our state could be seen – as well as removing YOUR voice and the voice of the people – from any number of boards, councils and rule-making bodies.  It must be defended.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

If you would like to address your Senator or Representative based on their vote on HB3399, you can find that here.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Must Sign HB3399 Before June 2nd

Governor fallin please signWe reported on Friday that the Oklahoma Legislature overwhelmingly passed HB3399 Oklahoma’s Common Core Repeal bill.  Restore Oklahoma Public Education, in a press release sent over the weekend, shared what this bill will accomplish if Governor Mary Fallin signs the bill.

  • Repeals Common Core from state law, creating a framework for standards to be written by Oklahomans over a two year time period.
  • Directs a return to the state’s previous standards and tests during the interim.
  • Requires the “mastery of the “standard algorithms in math” – the “most logical, efficient way of solving a problem that consistently works”, in attempt to curb the concept of ‘fuzzy math’.
  • Requires Oklahoma’s new standards be compared against the Common Core State Standards to ensure they are NOT in alignment.
  • Provides legislative review and approval of finalized standards as created through the State Board of Education.
  • Prohibits the state Board of Education from entering into any agreements that would in any way cede control or authority of Oklahoma standards or tests.
  • Directs standards and tests to be developmentally appropriate.
  • Creates a paper and pencil test option in the event online testing creates issues for students.

If Governor Fallin does not sign the bill by June 2nd she could exercise a pocket veto.  Restore Oklahoma Public Education in a blog post encourages in-and-out-of-state emails to be sent to Governor Fallin this week.

Here’s what we would like for you to do:

  1. Copy and paste the letter of your choice (you can modify them or write your own as well) into an email.
  2. CC it to this address pleasesignHB3399@mail.com so that we can keep track of the number of emails sent
  3. If you live in Oklahoma, please also CC your state Representative and Senator so there is a record of the correspondence
  4. If you live outside the state, please identify your state in your correspondence

Please pass this information on.  The more letters we can get to her, the better off we’ll be. Also, please send your emails prior to WED. MAY 28th if possible, so we have time to print them out and give them to her if need be.
If you have any trouble with the email listed, you can also contact Governor Fallin through the Contact page on the state website.  There is a place into which you can copy and paste your email.
Thank you so very much for helping us with this mission!  We truly must prevail!

*If you have trouble copying and pasting from this blog, try this page on our website.

IN STATE LETTER:
Dear Governor Fallin,

No matter how disparate their circumstances or ideologies, parents across the state of Oklahoma come into agreement over the desire for their children to receive an excellent education.  A truly excellent education must include high standards and expectations, as these factors allow students to develop knowledge and habits to carry them into their adult lives possessing an ability to do anything – be anything – they want to be.

Study after study has shown a truly excellent education to be that provided at the most local level to the student.  Beyond a child’s parent, no one knows their educational strengths and weaknesses better than their teacher and no one is more equipped to provide a child the tools they need to succeed than their classroom educator working in tandem with parents.

December of last year, you restated your desire for all Oklahoma children to have just that kind of excellent education through Executive Order 2013-40.  As Governor of our great state, you recognize the ingenuity, wisdom and resourcefulness Oklahomans possess, as these traits are the pistons in one of the strongest economic engines in the nation.  Clearly, Oklahomans have the aptitude for creating educational standards and tests to mirror our great economic success.

Unfortunately, Oklahoma succumbed to federal overreach of our standards and tests once we chose to accept a No Child Left Behind waiver and with it, standards and tests created outside the state, promoted by the Department of Education.

May 23rd, HB3399 passed the House and Senate with wide majorities.  This bill echoes your desire for all Oklahoma students to have an education utilizing high educational standards and tests developed here in Oklahoma.  HB3399 recognizes that without developmentally appropriate standards utilizing the best, most widely recognized educational methods, Oklahoma’s students cannot succeed.  Beyond returning control of educational standards and testing to the local level, HB3399 also places the review and approval of new state-derived standards in the hands of the legislature and as such, back into the hands of the people of Oklahoma who know best how to serve and guide Oklahoma’s public education system.

Please sign HB3399.  Please allow Oklahoma the opportunity to lead the nation in development of the best, most comprehensive set of educational standards; standards by which we can educate Oklahoma students at the highest level in the country.

Thank you for your time and immediate attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

OUT OF STATE LETTER:
Dear Governor Fallin,

Oklahoma has the opportunity to set a national precedent – that of breaking the hold over local education exhibited by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  Please do so by signing HB3399.

Since the federal Department of Education began promoting the Common Core via State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Race to the Top grants, as well as the No Child Left Behind waivers, it has been virtually impossible for individual states who accepted any of these programs to retain local control over their educational standards and tests.  This has translated into, not only parental confusion and frustration over testing and assignments, but isolation from their ability to control and direct the education of their child.

While nearly all parents desire and expect educational excellence for their children, this cannot come without parental input and parent/teacher interaction.  When teachers spend more time on testing than classroom instruction, students flounder and the bond between teacher, student and parent becomes fragile.  Learning is not imparted via testing, but teaching.  The desire for their children to exhibit critical thinking is also nearly universal among parents, yet critical thinking skills are not mastered during protracted periods at a computer that better judges how well a child has mastered the use of electronics than has been educated by their own local teacher inside their local classroom.

Though my family does not reside in Oklahoma, like Oklahoma, our state adopted the Common Core State Standards.   As many Oklahoma families, our family has experienced the frustration of isolation from our children’s educational process set into motion by implementation of the Common Core.

With your signature on HB3399, you not only allow Oklahoma to create those standards and tests best suited for Oklahoma parents and children, but you set a precedent for our state to follow in creating and adopting our own local standards; those best for our state.   By signing HB3399 you not only become a hero to Oklahoma parents and educators, but you provide hope for those in my state as well.

Please sign HB3399.  Put public education back into the hands of those whom best it serves – parents and students.

Sincerely,

Oklahoma Legislature Sends Common Core Repeal Bill to Governor Fallin

The Oklahoma Legislature today overwhelmingly passed the conference report for HB 3399, the Common Core repeal bill, and it will now go to Governor Mary Fallin’s desk.

The Oklahoma House passed the bill 71 to 17.  They also voted 68 to 19 in favor of an emergency clause which means the law would go into effect as soon as the bill is signed.  The Oklahoma Senate voted in favor of the bill 31 to 10 with the emergency clause.

Restore Oklahoma Public Education wrote on its Facebook page “Okay Governor Fallin, it’s on you, the people have spoken.”

Oklahoma Common Core Repeal Bill Out of Conference Committee

HB 3399, Oklahoma’s Common Core Repeal bill, passed out of the conference committee and the Oklahoma House and Senate will now have the chance to vote on the conference report.

Here is an update from Jenni White, president of Restore Oklahoma Public Education, that was sent to supporters last night.

This morning, the Conference Committee signed out HB3399 with the repeal of the Common Core State Standards. Tomorrow the bill needs to go to BOTH houses for a vote. Our group will be there at 1pm trying to rally legislators to get the bill heard and passed.

We are using the slogan “8 are great” to describe the 8 big reasons we need to get this bill across the finish line. If we can (a veto from our veto-happy governor not withstanding) this will be the best bill in the country for stopping  Common Core:

Here are the 8:

1. Repeals Common Core from state law
2. State must use PASS (our previous Oklahoma standards) during the two year interim while new standards are being written and the tests must be aligned to those standards
3. No more ‘fuzzy’ math! The new standards require the mastery of the ‘standard algorithms in math’ – “the most logical, efficient way of solving a problem that consistently works”
4. Oklahoma’s new standards must be compared with the old standards to ensure they are NOT aligned with Common Core
5. Oklahoma’s new standards must be reviewed and approved by the legislature returning control to the people
6. The state board cannot enter into any agreements that would cede control or authority of our standards and tests
7. Standards and assessments must be developmentally appropriate
8. The state may use paper and pencil tests if online testing creates problems for students

Oklahoma GOP Passes Resolution to Protect Oklahoma’s Education System

The Oklahoma Republican Party’s state central committee passed their own resolution against the Common Core State Standards today.  Update: The language we published over the weekend was the original draft of the resolution.  

2nd Update: The embedded document we had earlier still wasn’t right.  The language below is the correct language… finally… hopefully…. sorry about the back and forth on this!

RESOLUTION TO PROTECT OKLAHOMA’S EDUCATION SYSTEM

Whereas, Many Oklahomans are concerned about the implementation and use of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), aka Oklahoma Academic Standards, in Oklahoma’s public education system;

Whereas, The State of Oklahoma applied for, and was granted, a waiver by the federal government from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements in return for participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative including Common Core aligned-assessments, teacher and school accountability measures, and the implementation of a State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) with federal grant money to collect, store and share data on public school students from pre-school through twenty years of age;

Whereas, Many conservative groups have come out against CCSS along with both Oklahoma U. S. Senators; likewise, twenty states across the nation have called a halt to, or plan to fully repeal CCSS; the Republican State Party in Utah, Georgia, South Carolina, Kansas, California and Florida have passed resolutions against CCSS;

Whereas, The Oklahoma Republican Party, as stated in the 2013 Oklahoma Republican Party Platform, “oppose[s] participation by Oklahoma in the Common Core State Standards because it transfers control of local schools away from the parent and local school boards and gives more power to the State;” and

Whereas, The Republican National Committee in April of 2013 passed a resolution rejecting Common Core State Standards because it devalues the individual student with a “one size fits all” approach to education, therefore be it;

RESOLVED, The State Committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party stands in opposition to  Common Core Standards (by any name) and strongly urges the 2014 Oklahoma Legislature to honor and comply with Governor Mary Fallin’s Executive Order 2013-40 signed December 4, 2013 and take concrete action to stop or delay the implementation of CCSS and cease participation in NCLB waiver requirements pertaining to CCSS;

RESOLVED, The State Committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party urges the Secretary of Education and the State Legislature in the 2014 Session to honor and comply with the second directive in Governor Fallin’s Executive Order 2013-40, declaring that the “State of Oklahoma will be exclusively responsible for deciding the assessment methodology to be used to measure student performance” and encourages OSDE to contract with an in-state testing vendor not affiliated with PARCC or Smarter Balance;

RESOLVED, The State Committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party urges the Secretary of Education and the State Legislature in the 2014 Session to honor and comply with Governor Fallin’s Executive Order 2013-40 “to safeguard against any threat of federal intrusion” and to honor and comply with its fifth directive declaring that Oklahoma Academic Standards will “not jeopardize the privacy of any Oklahoma student or citizen,” therefore cease the use of federal monies in the funding, continued development, and usage of the State Longitudinal Database;

RESOLVED, The State Committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party strongly request that Republican State House and Senate Committee Chairs receiving bills concerning the repeal or delay of CCSS and/or any part pertaining thereto (including but not limited to the analysis of CCSS and any part of the NCLB waiver requirements) agree to hear these bills and allow a Committee vote;

RESOLVED, The State Committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party directs the State House and Senate Republican Floor Leaders to agree to hear any bills concerning CCSS and/or any part pertaining thereto that pass out of Committee, and that these bills be slated for hearing and vote by Legislators, so honest debate can occur and Oklahoma citizens are represented by the vote of their elected legislator; and

RESOLVED, The State Committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party directs each County Chair or Vice Chair to hand deliver this resolution to each duly elected Republican Legislator for their County, and the State Chairman to hand deliver this resolution to the Governor and State Superintendent of Public Instruction and to publish this resolution on all Oklahoma Republican online resources within 30 days of passage of this Resolution.

Chief Sponsor: Cyndi McArtor, Delaware County State Committee Member

Restore Oklahoma Public Education writes:

This resolution records the will of the Oklahoma Republican Party Executive Committee to direct Republican floor leaders to both slate Common Core bills for hearing in Committees as well as Republican Committee chairs to allow a hearing for Common Core bills so that an HONEST debate on the issue may be had and citizens may be directly represented by their lawmakers.

Grassroots Republicans felt it important to elucidate this point since a Common Core repeal bill was blocked from committee hearing by both House Education Committee Chair, Representative Ann Coody and Senate Education Chair, Senator John Ford during both 2011 and 2012.  Last year (2013), a bill was written mid-session by Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, but failed to gain a hearing in the Senate.
In addition to stressing the necessity for transparency, the Resolution echoes Governor Fallin’s Executive Order (2013-40) “to safeguard against any threat of federal intrusion” and to honor and comply with its fifth directive declaring that Oklahoma Academic Standards will “not jeopardize the privacy of any Oklahoma student or citizen” by urging the cessation of state and federal funds to continue development or usage of the State Longitudinal Database System.
The resolution should assist Governor Mary Fallin and State Superintendent Janet Barresi in understanding clearly the will of the majority of grassroots Republicans on the issue of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (AKA Oklahoma Academic Standards) during this election year.

ROPE Responds to Fallin’s Executive Order

Restore Oklahoma Public Education responded to the executive order that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed on 12/4/13.  They give a much more detailed response than I did yesterday.

Be sure to check it out.

Below is one excerpt that is going to prompt me to change how I present on the Common Core.  I have said no state legislature voted on the Common Core.  I stand corrected, apparently Oklahoma’s did before they were even released for review:

The Governor uses paragraph four to acknowledge that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are listed by name in Title 70 – in other words, it is LAW that Oklahoma students be educated with Common Core State Standards. She also states the standards were developed through theNational Governor’s Association (NGA – for which she is currently Chair) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). She does not mention these organizations are PRIVATE, DUES-PAID organizations in no way responsible to individual citizens – in essence, she admits the standards were created outside the bounds of representative government. She also does not acknowledge our legislature passed Common Core into law (SB2033[xii]) before the Standards were available to read.

Another money quote: “An Executive Order preventing federal intrusion into an initiative we have been told repeatedly isn’t federal in nature in the first place to seemingly pacify the public, fits the model of tone deaf government officials attempting to quash public dissent in order to continue bad public policy that serves their needs and not that of the public at large.”

Stop Common Core Progress Update

commoncore1We are drawing close to the end of the state legislative sessions.  I thought it would be a good time to highlight the progress that has been made in fighting the Common Core.  If you look back just a few months ago you can see how far our movement has come.  Some significant progress was made in just the last five months.

  1. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) then called on the federal defunding of the Common Core State Standards, the assessments and the federal review board for the assessments.  He had eight other Senators join him.
  2. Indiana passed a Common Core Pause bill which brings more transparency for the Common Core implementation in the Hoosier State.  The Indiana State Board of Education is required to hold three public hearings and have a fiscal impact study done before they can continue to implement the Common Core.  Our hope is this will lead to a repeal bill as the facts, not just the propaganda, becomes known.
  3. The Utah GOP passed their own resolution condemning the Common Core State Standards.
  4. The Georgia GOP Resolutions Committee passed their anti-Common Core resolution 11-3 despite major lobbying being done on behalf of Governor Nathan Deal.  The Georgia GOP Convention were not able to take up any resolutions as the convention ran late and they lost their quorum.  This follows four district conventions passing their own anti-Common Core resolutions.  Governor Deal recently ordered 60 days of public comment on the Common Core in response to pressure he has been under.
  5. Oklahoma after seeing their initial bill get derailed had their Speaker of the House do a 180 and is now working to repeal the Common Core in their state.
  6. Iowa put Common Core Assessments on hold and now requires a task force to be formed to study different assessments (not just tie themselves to SBAC) and do a fiscal impact study before the State Legislature will vote on an assessment.  The time frame for assessments were pushed back to the 2016-17 school year.  This is a turn around as the original language in Iowa’s education reform bill gave the State Board of Education the authority to mandate Smarter Balanced Assessments.  So a conference committee stripped that language and inserted the pause.  Also opposition is forming within the State Legislature so look for repeal and defunding bills to be forthcoming next session (their session ended yesterday).
  7. Wisconsin just had a hearing on the Common Core Wednesday, and it sounds like it likely that pause legislation will be introduced in that state.
  8. Legislation has been introduced in Congress by Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-AL) entitled “Defending State Authority Over Education Act.”  This would “prohibit the federal government from offering grants or policy waivers contingent on a state’s use of certain curricula or assessment policies.”
  9. Pennsylvania is experiencing push-back that led Governor Tom Corbett to sign an executive order delaying the Common Core implementation. (Still need legislative action so this is permanent).
  10. Ohio is having a budget battle over the Common Core State Standards, after the Ohio House stripped funding for PARCC from their budget.
  11. States that have had legislation introduced this year that would either pause or repeal the Common Core State Standards: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota.  States that are still active are mentioned above.  States that had bills die in committee (or in Missouri’s case was halted due to political games prior to a floor vote) we expect will see efforts again next session.
  12. We have seen an explosion of anti-Common Core state-based groups over the last several months.

It is clear that we have momentum in what seemed a year ago to be an impossible uphill battle.

Originally posted at American Principles Project.