Mixed Bag Responses from Key Legislators on HB4192 Repeal Common Core

Representative Lee Chatfield

A couple education activists recently shared correspondence they received from Representatives Lee Chatfield and Hank Vaupel.  With permission, we are sharing them here and taking the opportunity to respond. Actual Letters (PDF).

Representative Hank Vaupel

We sincerely appreciate Rep. Chatfield’s continued support for passing HB 4192.  If necessary, we are available to work with him and Representative Gary Glenn to consider modifications to the bill while retaining the integrity of a full, true repeal of Common Core in Michigan.  We sincerely hope leadership does their best to pass HB 4192 quickly.

Rep. Vaupel is on the Michigan Competitiveness Committee with Rep. Chatfield.  We believe his concerns are holding up passage of HB 4192 out of committee. We appreciate that Rep Vaupel considers education a high priority.  We do too!  So let’s address the concerns in his letter.

“Does not completely eliminate common core.”

This is a true statement.  The bill was written acknowledging Michigan is a local control state.  As such, we believe the districts in partnership with their parents and local community, not the state, should have maximum flexibility in directing the educational practices in their schools.  Under HB 4192, districts are able to keep Common Core or drop it in favor of the proven MA educational standards.  Since the state assessments will be aligned to the MA standards, we believe many districts will make this change. Still, we believe this is the best solution for Michigan respecting the proper role of government and local control.  We hope Rep Vaupel respects local control for education as well.

“Will be very expensive for the state to devise and implement standards.”

This statement is incorrect with all due respect to the legislative analysis.  The standards require no devising.  They are available online, complete, fully written and time tested demonstrating the sound basis for improving educational outcomes for all children.  Ditto for years of the aligned assessments which can be ported to Michigan for our use free of charge.

Importantly, the huge unfunded mandate for technology to facilitate the state online Common Core assessment will be eliminated.  This is in fact a very significant cost reduction opportunity for districts.  Technology use will be completely at the discretion of the district, no long a requirement of the state.

“Based on a curriculum that has already been abandoned.”

Sadly. This is true.  MA itself now has Common Core.  But its citizens continue to fight to restore their proven, pre-Common Core Standards.  Like us and every other state, they keep running into hurdles, road blocks and excuses.  It seems like politicians across the nation have become extremely adept at using the “repeal Core” slogan during campaign season, yet cannot seem to “get ‘er done” during governing season.  We sure hope Rep Vaupel, who signed a pledge to get rid of Common Core before his last election does not end up in this category of politician!

We appreciate the careful reading and due consideration representatives are giving HB 4192.  We also remain available to meet in person, talk on the phone or respond to email to answer any and all concerns with the legislation.  We will continue to participate in meetings as the opportunity arises and to keep education activists apprised of the progress.

Please consider sending this information to your Representative and Senator to help prepare them for a quick YES vote once HB 4192 is voted out of committee.