Missouri could become the fourth state to partially or completely abandon Common Core multi-state standards, following Gov. Jay Nixon’s signing of House Bill 1490 on Monday evening.
For the time being, Common Core will remain in place in Missouri for at least the next two school years. However, the state will create two work groups (one for lower grades and the other for higher ones) consisting of teachers and public school parents who will work together to craft suggested changes to the state’s standards.
After a series of public hearings have been held, in October 2015 the state is supposed to approve new, modified standards for English, math, science, and social studies. Within three years of implementing the new standards, the state board of education must also adapt the state’s standardized tests as needed to match.
Notably, by signing the bill, Nixon is the first Democratic governor to acquiesce to a rollback of Common Core. Most of the ire against the controversial standards has come from the right, whose activists argue that they represent a federal takeover of education.
The bill, passed by significant majorities in both houses of Missouri’s legislature, sat on the governor’s desk for two months before he decided to approve it on the last possible day prior to it being automatically vetoed.
Bill 1490 originally had a far more ambitious vision to completely abolish Common Core, similarly to what has already been undertaken this year in Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. Instead, in addition to letting Common Core remain in place for at least two years, the final bill also provides the work groups with a great deal of leeway in what to recommend. Common Core could be almost entirely discarded, or the groups could decide to reauthorize all or almost all of the existing standards.
Nevertheless, anti-Common Core activists are pleased with the outcome. Anne Gassel, a co-founder of the group Missouri Coalition Against Common Core, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that she was happy with the final outcome, and would be enough to end Common Core if implemented as the group desires.
“I would say that it is definitely a victory for the state in terms of Common Core,” she said. “What it does is it makes the statement that Missouri is going to be in control of its education standards.”
Gassel said, however, that she would have liked for the bill to reduce the importance of standardized tests in the state, and said her long-term goal is to have the state imitate Kansas by having the state university system create the school’s standardized tests rather than a multi-state consortium, as is currently the case.
Going forward, Gassel says she is willing to let the appointed work groups revise or replace Common Core, while her focus turns towards issues like reducing the amount of student data collected by the state and increasing parental rights in education.
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