Battle to De-fund Common Core is Intensifying

The battle against Common Core is heating up.   Michigan Governor Snyder, in an appearance with Obama’s Secretary of Education, expressed support for the Common Core pitting him against many in his own party.  The proposed budget to de-fund the Common Core is the current battleground.

The pressure upon Michigan lawmakers, especially Republicans,  to follow Governor Snyder’s lead and fully fund the Michigan Department of Education’s effort to implement Common Core with Smarter Balanced Assessments is intense.  The budget is currently in a conference committee chaired by Senator Walker and Representative Bill Rogers with a vote pending Tuesday, May 28, 2013.

The choices before our legislature are to either continue mandating that common core be imposed upon our school or to end it. The bill does not change local school budgets by one penny. It does not force any school to stop using Common Core. All it does is remove the state mandate and these burdensome tests that teachers say occupy so much of their time that they are just teaching test prep time rather than developing creative and critical thinking skills

Ironically, some proponents are angry that the battle to de-fund Common Core is being pushed through without debate. Here’s an email being sent out by the Michigan Association of School Board (MASB)  in favor of Common Core.

Support Common Core – contact your legislator

This week, the House and Senate will be voting on a Michigan Department of Education budget bill that will effectively prohibit Michigan from participating in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative.  This language was inserted into the budget without ANY testimony or public input, or any consideration of the cost of students and schools.  There is a proposed compromise which would allow participation to continue while the Legislature commences a study of the Common Core.

Tell your Legislator that in order for students to compete in a knowledge-based, global economy, Michigan needs consistent standards that will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students.  Our schools are now four years and millions of dollars down the road toward adopting the CCSS.  Changing course now will put our students and schools at a severe disadvantage that could last for years.

In 2010, the Common Core was pushed through by the Michigan Department of Education with NO debate and no cost analysis and now the MASB is crying foul about debates in a budget bill?

Jeff Phillips, Trustee for the Kingston Board of Education, which is in the thumb area, is against the Common Core and not happy that the MASB is lobbying for it.

“Simply put, MASB has become a traitor to its own member boards by lobbing against us having this most basic authority over our own curriculum goals. It is *always* in the school board’s best interest to maintain its own sovereign authority over deciding any matter, no matter what the issue is or which side either party favors. When there have been opportunities in Lansing to support local control or oppose the Common Core state mandate, MASB has deliberately omitted those specific opportunities from their “news from the capital” regular e-mails. It gives us 90% of what’s going on in Lansing but not the most important and most relevant issue we need to be aware of that directly effects the bounds of our own authority as local boards.”

Common Core advocates say it’s too late to de-fund the standards.

 “This train has already left the station,” said Michael Yocum, executive director of learning services for Oakland Schools, the county’s intermediate school district. “We are so far down the road now.” Yocum is overseeing the implementation of the standards throughout the county’s school districts.  (Source: Detroit Free Press)

Phillips refutes the charge that it is too late.

“It is certainly not too late to remove a mandate. I’m sure that many local districts will feel that they have invested too much time and effort to pull the plug on Common Core and switch to something else now, but nobody is asking them to switch to anything else. We’re just telling them that they should be free to decide such matters for themselves. If they aren’t willing to trust themselves with curriculum decisions, then why did they run for a position on their local board of education in the first place?

When a train is headed in the wrong direction, it’s never too late.  It’s time for Michigan lawmakers to get off the Common Core train.   Our children’s futures are riding on their decision this Tuesday.

Call your senators and representatives, Senator Walker, and Representative Rogers and tell them to end the funding for Common Core and the related assessments.