Friday Senate Update

Last June, state lawmakers passed a budget which included language that halted Common Core and Smarter Balanced Assessments pending an affirmative action of the legislature.  The new budget year begins October 1.    The House held four public hearings over the summer to help House members learn more about the issue.   Hoping to meet the October 1 deadline for the new fiscal year, the House passed House Concurrent Resolution 11 (HCR 11) last month and the resolution moved to the Senate.

HCR 11 currently sits in the Government Operations Committee chaired by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.    MIRS News asked Richardville if he had the votes to get this passed.

When asked for a nose count on the Common Core resolution, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) made it clear he does not discuss nose counts.

This could be the reason why. Information obtained by MIRS shows there are only six Republican Senate votes for the House-passed resolution that both Gov. Rick Snyder and the Department of Education want passed.

Another 14 Republicans are a no vote and five are on the fence, according to information obtained by MIRS. The Senate’s version of the resolution that would allow the Department of Education to spend money on the Common Core State Standards has four sponsor and co-sponsors.

The  Senate version is Senate Concurrent Resolution 12 (SCR 12).   There is no clear timetable on the passage of either resolution.  It is also not clear whether the resolution is binding or the right mechanism to continue funding.  Neither resolution appears to be a done deal.

Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) told the MIRS Monday podcast this week that he expects “a very large fight” on Common Core because the more people learn about it, the more concerning it gets. It’s not just about a standard, he said.

“It’s a whole new system of education,” he said. “The standard bone is connected to the assessment bone, connected to the curriculum bone, connected to the lesson plan bone, connected to the instructional material. All of that stuff, we’re hitting the reset button on it.”

With that in mind, the question is, “What control do we have, as a state, to control our education destiny.”

Senator Colbeck is exactly right.  Common Core it isn’t just about a standard but a fundamental shift in education in Michigan and the the United States.    Predictably, some Senators wants to blame the Tea Party for the slow movement on Common Core

“It’s laughable,” complained the Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing). With 26 votes in the GOP caucus, she said she wondered why they can’t advance their Governor’s agenda. She blames the Tea Party, which is “holding this chamber hostage just like they did in Washington.”

Senator Whitmer’s comment is laughable.   Perhaps Senator Whitmer doesn’t know that Common Core was adopted in 2010 under Governor Granholm, heavily influenced by the Obama administration and a desire for Race for the Top funding.  Common Core is the progressive, liberal Democrat education agenda that Governor Snyder is promoting and continuing.    The Republican National Committee passed a resolution last spring against the Common Core.   It is the federal government and liberal Democrats who want to hold Michigan’s students hostage to a centralized system from P-20.

Governor Snyder’s slogan is “Reinventing Michigan Getting it Right, Getting it Done.”  But on the issue of education and the Common Core he appears to be going left and getting it wrong.