Common Core is fast becoming a national flop as establishment support continues to flag and grassroots opposition grows stronger.
Participation in the K-12 math and language arts curriculum benchmarks and high-stakes standardized tests briefly peaked at 46 states but it’s been all downhill for Common Core enthusiasts since then.
Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina all repealed the standards and moved to replace them with new ones. Missouri and North Carolina created panels that could end in the replacement of the standards.
Now, the multistate standards are under attack in another batch of states. Nationally, Republican lawmakers are also attempting to limit the reach of Common Core.
On the federal level, four Republicans senators including Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Roberts of Kansas introduced a bill on Friday that would prevent the federal government from strong-arming states into adopting education standards such as Common Core.
The bill, called the Learning Opportunities Created At the Local (LOCAL) Level Act, would limit the federal government’s ability to control state educational standards and curriculums through financial incentives, grants, mandates and other forms of influence, according to a press release on Portman’s website.
“We need to get the federal government out of the classroom, and return community decisions back to where they belong — in the community,” Roberts told Topeka CBS affiliate WBIW.
At the state level, anti-Common Core action continues at a fast and furious pace around the nation.
In Wisconsin, for example, Gov. Scott Walker has been on the warpath against Common Core since the 2014 election season and his comfortable reelection victory. Walker is a likely 2016 presidential candidate.
“I’m all for high standards. Wisconsin has some of the highest standards on its own,” Walker said in Green Bay on Thursday, according to local Fox channel WLUK.
“I just believe the standards should be set by people within the state and not outside the state. They should ultimately be set at the local level,” he added.
Walker is calling on the Republican state legislature to pass a law that will allow Wisconsin to replace Common Core with its own education standards.
Taxpayers in The Badger State also learned recently that massive standardized testing associated with Common Core will cost at least $7.2 million more than Common Core advocates estimated in the next two years alone.
“What you’re dealing with is actual numbers versus estimates,” Luci Willits, deputy director of a testing consortium that manages the tests, blithely told the Wisconsin State Journal concerning the additional $7.2 million.
New Mexico has become the latest state where a state legislator has introduced a bill to depart from both the Common Core and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a fairly complex consortium that produces computer-based standardized tests for several states.
The New Mexico legislator is Democrat Linda M. Lopez, according to Diane Ravitch, a New York University professor, educational policy analyst and strong critic of Common Core.
New Mexico’s governor, Susana Martinez, is a Republican who strongly supports both Common Core and the PARCC testing regime.
Bills aiming to repeal or substantially modify Common Core are either being prepared or moving through the legislative process in numerous other states including Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky.
Additionally, the officials who oversee the Chicago Public Schools — the third-largest school district in the country — have announced plans to flout a federal mandate to administer PARCC standardized tests.
The decision by Chicago schools boss Barbara Byrd-Bennett could cost the city significant federal dollars, reports the Chicago Tribune.
“Too many of our children, over 400,000 of them, don’t have regular access to the technology that is needed. And we find that is particularly so in the younger grades,” Byrd-Bennett explained.