Legislative Updates

Senate Update

We’re making progress but more work needs to be done.  Please continue calling and emailing.

As of today, House Concurrent Resolution 11 (HCR 11) sits in the Senator Government Operations Committee chaired by Senate Majority Leader Richardville.  There was no meeting this week.  There is a meeting scheduled for October 15, 2013 but HCR 11 or Common Core do NOT currently appear on the agenda.

This week Fox2 News reporter, Tim Skubick, asked three State Senators about their position on Common Core.

Senator Phil Pavlov (R-St Clair) chairs the senate education committee.

“Are you ready to vote yes today?”

The senator offers, “Not today.”

What about tomorrow?”

“Not tomorrow.”

Sen. Bruce Caswell (R-Hillsdale) is the GOP vice chair.  “I’m continuing to listen…It’s not a yes.  It’s not a no.”

And Sen. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City)  who runs the K-12 budget subcommittee?

“I’ve heard good arguments on both sides,” he postures himself comfortably on the fence.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting more information before they vote, but some of the key arguments made by the governor and others in favor of core standards, does not resonant with either Mr. Pavlov or Mr. Caswell.

Question:  Should students  be exposed to the same course content?

“Not necessarily,” responds Mr. Pavlov who adds, “It’s a local issue.  I think our local curriculum directors are doing a pretty descent job of putting the right material in front of the kids…We gotta make sure we preserve that ability.”

Doesn’t sound like a yes vote yet.  And he concedes he might not get to yes.

Former school superintendent turned Senator Caswell opines, “Why are we giving up our control of the standards which we set for ourselves in order to go with Common Core which is a nationwide standard… local control is very important and once you give that away, it’s very difficult to get it back.”

Their statements are definitely a positive sign that they understand the fundamental shift that Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments implementation will mean for our state.

Call these senators and those on the Government Operations Committee and tell them you appreciate the careful consideration that they are giving to this important issue.  Tell them you agree with Senator Caswell that local control is important and under Common Core and SBAC that will be lost forever.  Tell them you do NOT support HCR 11 as it is currently written because it does not protect local control or student data privacy.  (More details here.)

Here are the Committee members and their phone numbers:

And here are the numbers for the three senators mentioned in the Fox 2 article

  • Senator Howard Walker (R)  K-12 Budget Sub Committee , (517) 373-2413
  • Senator Phil Pavlov (R)  Education Committee (517) 373-7708
  • Senator Bruce Caswell (R) Education Committee (517) 373-5932