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July 16, 2014
Common Core Jettisoned for State Control, Parent Involvement
According to the Common Core website, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“the Department”) adopted the standards on June 15, 2010, to be fully implemented throughout the state in the coming 2014-15 school year. As governor, Nixon exercised authority over the Department at the time. But the public outcry against the standards has been great, and the legislature has responded.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative, or Common Core, is a national set of academic standards established by private corporations and state executive trade unions and backed by federal dollars, in violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers. Significantly, very few professional educators were part of developing the standards, and the ones who were involved refused to sign off on the final product.
HB 1490, which ParentalRights.org supported, does more than simply reverse the decision to adopt this program, however. It also outlines a whole new procedure for adopting academic standards in the future, including many new safeguards to prevent another federal takeover.
The Common Core was adopted by the Department during the summer break between school years, without any legislative oversight, review, or public input. Education, which is traditionally and constitutionally a role of the states and not the federal government, was handed over to the latter without any say from the people.
That will not happen again under HB 1490, which requires that any academic standards revision must go through work groups assigned by the legislature. These work groups, to be comprised of education professionals and parents of children in the grade levels to which the standards will apply, will be selected by a wide range of persons. The governor, lieutenant governor, commissioner for higher education, president pro tempore of the senate, speaker of the Missouri House, statewide association of Missouri school boards, and the state board of education are among those tapped by the bill to each name members to the groups. (Read the whole list in section A(3) here.)
In addition, the law states that whenever standards are developed or modified a minimum of three public hearings will be held, giving parents and other concerned citizens a voice before any changes are made. And it prohibits the Department “from mandating the curriculum, textbooks, or other instructional materials to be used in public schools.” Such decisions are left to the local school boards, though they will of course be chosen to meet the academic standards set by the state.
Common Core, with its requirement that material taught in addition to the guidelines must not exceed 15% of all material studied, greatly restricted any discretion on the part of state or local officials in correcting or supplementing the standards, regardless of what would prove best for students. The new law includes a provision that “local school districts and charter schools may adopt their own education standards, in addition to those already adopted by the state,” as long as they don’t create a direct conflict with the state standards. There is no limit by percentage, which allows for more local control.
Each of these safeguards will prevent the kind of heavy-handed power grabbing that led to the Common Core being adopted by 43 states and the District of Columbia in the first place. (For more on how Common Core sprang up so quickly, click here.) Instead, HB 1490 protects the role of parents, through local educators and state lawmakers, in directing the education of their children.
We are grateful for the support of those of you in Missouri who called, emailed, or otherwise spoke out to champion this bill. And we are proud of Missouri for returning education to the purview of parents and state lawmakers, and not to deep-pocketed special interest groups and the federal educrats.
In addition, the Parental Rights Amendment is still collecting cosponsors in the House (Rep. Mark Meadows’ HJRes. 50) and in the Senate (Sen. Lindsey Graham’s SJRes. 37). Contact your lawmakers (access their contact info at parentalrights.org/states) and urge them to sign on as a cosponsor. Or you can set up an appointment to see them while they are home on recess in August. Click here for more on setting up an appointment.
Thank you for standing with us to defend parental rights. This victory in Missouri proves that success can be reached if we stand together and make the will of the people known!
Director of Communications & Research
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