South Carolina Latest State to Drop Common Core

South Carolina has decided to drop the Common Core Standards from its public education system. Danielle Dreilinger, reporter for The Times-Picayune, writes that Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill into law on May 30.

This means that the state will have to adopt new standards for the 2015-2016 school year.  The Common Core standardized test is used to determine college and career readiness.

Opponents to the Common Core standards believe that they represent too much federal control in education, even though the Department of Education did not write the standards.  The government does offer inducements for those states that use the standards.

A repeal bill is currently in the hands of the governor of Oklahoma, having been passed by its legislature.  Indiana repealed the standards over the winter.  Although Louisiana attempted to repeal the Common Core, it survived, even though Governor Bobby Jindal is against the standards.

A nine-member committee has been appointed in North Carolina to replace the Common Core with new standards by March of next year.  The Republican-backed bill , approved by a vote of 27-16, directs that the State Board of Education will replace the Common Core test for math and language arts.

Writing for the Citizen-Times, Gary D. Robertson reports that the bill orders that the board stop developing Common Core standards even though the standardized test will be used until a new test is found and accepted.

The reason that the replacement became necessary is that the study committee charged with examining the Common Core was hearing from parents, teachers, and conservative activists who worried that the state was losing its control over what is being taught in North Carolina classrooms.

“We just don’t feel that Common Core is appropriate for North Carolina,” said Rep. Bryan Holloway, R-Stokes, one of the primary bill sponsors, pointing out that the bill directs the board to come up with academic standards at least as high as the current ones. He said Common Core also can’t be deleted immediately for fear it could mean North Carolina would have to return federal Race to the Top grants.

“We want high standards,” Holloway said, but “we want to move down a different path than Common Core.”

What is making the change worrisome for many is that the transition will mean returning $400 million in federal funds linked to the “Race to the Top” education grants given to states which administer the Common Core.  Dr. Sandra Stotsky, academic standards expert, disagrees.  Congress did not pass legislation requiring Common Core.  Plus, the required validation proving that the test is “internationally benchmarked” was never done.

Some entities in North Carolina were supporters for the Common Core standards.  The North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina Chamber requested, through advertisements, that the Common Core remain in place, believing that it would be an effective way to measure students preparedness for future careers.

The bill “waves the white flag and sends a signal to job creators in North Carolina and every state in the country that North Carolina is not ready to compete,” North Carolina Chamber Executive Director Lew Ebert said in prepared remarks.

Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union) said that North Carolina needs to stick to its constitutional duty of operating the public schools, and should not be influenced by outside sources, and used the multi-state consortium that developed the Common Core, as an example.