Last Thursday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law a bill making her state the third to drop the Common Core standards.
Instead of using Common Core for the short-term while forming new standards, the state will immediately revert back to older tests and standards. And when new standards are written two years from now, they will be required to undergo a review to assure they are sufficiently different from Common Core.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill May 30th, requiring her state to end the Common Core standards initiative and requires new educational standards be adopted. Actual replacement of Common Core with “new” standards won’t take place until the 2015-16 year. The common core will stay in place in South Carolina for the 2014-15 school year.
Indiana lawmakers passed legislation pausing Common Core’s implementation and requiring a statewide review to find a replacement. Governor Mike Pence in March signed legislation making Indiana the first state to drop the national standards, which are not federally required but have become the de facto guidelines.
However, the replacement standards, which include requiring second-graders to “add and subtract fluently up to 100,” have also drawn criticism from national education experts and the grassroots group ‘Hoosiers Against Common Core,’ who say they too closely resemble the tossed-aside benchmarks.
Prior to dropping the standards, the Obama administration issued a warning to Indiana about opting out of Common Core.
The U. S. Department of Education said in a letter to Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz that the state must prove its own standards are just as challenging, or else risk of losing its waiver from the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law and have its federal funding in jeopardy.
“Because the [Indiana Department of Education] will no longer implement those standards, IDOE must amend its [Elementary and Secondary Education Act] flexibility request and provide evidence that its new standards are certified by a state network of [Institutions of Higher Education] that students who meet the standards will not need remedial coursework at the postsecondary level,” the letter says.
Farther south, the Louisiana Legislature signed off on a bill June 1st that many see as a Common Core endorsement of the standards. Governor Bobby Jindal is now considering a veto of the bill.
Finally, a judge has struck down tenure and other job protections for California’s public school teachers as unconstitutional. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu cited the case of Brown v. Board of Education in ruling that students have a fundamental right to equal education.
Treu ruled California’s laws on hiring and firing in schools have resulted in “a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms.” The judge also took issue with laws that say the last-hired teacher must be the first fired when layoffs occur, even if the new teacher is gifted and the veteran is inept.
The case was brought by nine students who said they were stuck with teachers who let classrooms get out of control, came to school unprepared and in some cases told them they’d never make anything of themselves. They also charged that schools in poor neighborhoods are used as dumping grounds for bad teachers.
Teachers have long argued that tenure prevents administrators from firing teachers on a whim. They also contend the system preserves academic freedom and helps attract talented teachers to a profession that doesn’t pay well.
The California Attorney General’s office said it is considering its legal options, while the California Teachers Association, the state’s biggest teachers union with 325,000 members, vowed an appeal. Meanwhile, other states are paying attention to how the case plays out.