Pennsylvania Putting the Brakes on Common Core Until July

Just two months before Pennsylvania was scheduled to begin its Common Core Standards rollout, Governor Tom Corbett put the brakes on by ordering a delay earlier this week. According to the spokesman for Department of Education Tim Eller, Corbett’s decision was made after the governor consulted with a number of lawmakers.

The news comes after the state House and Senate made it clear that legislators were split on the imminent CCS adoption, which would have put the state’s schools in line with most states currently in the process of adopting Common Core.

Pennsylvania isn’t the only state reconsidering Common Core. Indiana has also recently announced that it prefers to wait and has put their adoption plan on hold. According to PennLive, a number of other states are considering doing the same.

Along with the new standards was a graduation requirement for students, starting with the Class of 2017, to pass subject-specific state tests in Algebra I, biology and literature called Keystone Exams to earn a diploma. Eller said the governor directed the department to make “minor modifications to the regulations” governing the standards and Keystone Exams.
“Governor Corbett remains committed to ensuring that all Pennsylvania public school students – regardless of zip code – have access to a quality education,” Eller said in an e-mail.

Eller hopes that whatever the concerns are that trouble legislators this close to the adoption date, they can sort through them quickly to avoid causing a delay for the state’s education establishment.

Support for the Common Core Standards comes from bodies as varied as businesses, early childhood development experts, higher education committees, and even the military. They believe that Common Core adoption is the key to producing high school gradates who are not only college-ready but are also have the necessary work skills to get a job directly after graduation.

Still, opposition to CCS doesn’t just come from one side of the aisle. Republican and Democratic lawmakers both have expressed reservations about the adoptions for a host of reasons.

At last week’s education committee hearings, some opponents said they didn’t like tying graduation to passing a test. Some didn’t like the emphasis on tests. Some considered the standards another educational fad. Some thought the implementation costs were too pricey in light of the $900 million in cuts school districts saw two years ago that have yet to be restored. And some felt it narrowed the curriculum or was too top down from government, leaving schools with little room to make decisions how best to educate their students.