Common Core Losing Steam? Michigan Could Become Next State to Kill Effort

A bill to repeal Michigan’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards that was introduced last month is making its way through the legislature.

There will be a second hearing before the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday evening regarding Senate Bill 826, which seeks to repeal Common Core.

Introduced by Republican Senator Patrick Colbeck, S 826 reads that if enacted it will among other things “protect state and local control of public education.”

“By enacting this section, this state terminates all plans, programs, activities, efforts, and expenditures relating to the implementation of the educational initative commonly referred to as the Common Core Standards, or any derivative or permutation of that educational initiative,” read the legislation in part.

“To further protect state and local control of public education, the state board and the Department are prohibited from adopting, aligning to, or implementing any other national or multistate consortium standards from any source or requiring the use of any assessments aligned with any other national or multistate consortium standards from any source.”

The Common Core State Standards trace their origins back to a National Governors Association task force report released in December 2008 regarding education reform.

Since then, more than 40 states and the District of Columbia adopted the Common Core standards, which also reportedly had partial inspiration from the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind legislation.

Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia did not adopt Common Core, while Minnesota adopted only the Math standards.
After the wave of adoptions, Common Core experienced backlash from a wide variety of groups, both political and academic, conservative and liberal, regarding its effectiveness.

In March, former sixth grade teacher Tom Loveless wrote a report published by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Titled “How Well Are American Students Learning?” the report concluded that there “is no evidence that CCSS has made much of a difference during a six-year period of stagnant NAEP scores.”

“Maybe CCSS has already had its best years and additional gains will be difficult to attain,” wrote Loveless in the report. “Some observers were quick to point a finger at CCSS. That’s probably unfair. The analysis above indicates that, yes, non-adopters performed better than CCSS states, but only by declining less, not through improved performance.”

The California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education released a research brief in February expressing concerns about their state’s Common Core standards.

“Overall, there is not a compelling body of research supporting the notion that a nationwide set of curriculum standards, including those like the CCSS, will either raise the quality of education for all children or close the gap between different groups of children,” read the CAREE brief.

“Yet, with the CCSS comes even more testing than before, and based on those test scores, any number of high stakes decisions may follow, all of which are decisions using scientifically discredited methods, namely, the use of value-added modeling that purport to attribute gains in test scores to such factors.”

In an interview with The Christian Post, Dr. Andrea Ramirez, the executive director of the Faith and Education Coalition for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition, rejected the conclusions of those reports. Reports like the ones by Brookings and the California group were too early in the process, she argued.

“Most experts would argue it’s too soon to know with certainty how Common Core State Standards are affecting student achievement,” said Ramirez.

“As one expert points out, states that have adopted the Common Core are at all different stages of implementation, making it difficult to draw sweeping conclusions.”

Ramirez also told CP that efforts to repeal or replace Common Core standards still involved influence from the standards.

“State and local officials continue to refine standards to ensure they meet students’ needs — exactly as the Common Core Standards were originally intended,” continued Ramirez.

“But the fact remains it continues to prove impossible to produce a set of rigorous K-12 Math and English standards that bear no resemblance to the Common Core.”

While Michigan continues to mull repealing Common Core, earlier this month Tennessee announced that they were joining Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina in phasing out Common Core.

“State education officials approved new English and math standards Friday, marking the symbolic end of controversial Common Core standards in Tennessee,” reported 11alive.com.

“Tennessee is the latest state to phase out Common Core, joining Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina. Like its predecessors, Tennessee’s English and math standards have a new name, but still have roots in Common Core.”
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