Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Oklahoma Origins of Common Core - Adopted By Brad Henry Via Stimulus Funds

As we discuss the findings of our research into Common Core, we find that there are few people who understand the very convoluted and confusing genesis of Common Core here in Oklahoma.  This overview attempts to outline that history. 

In 2009, under Governor Brad Henry, the state took State Fiscal Stabilization Funds from the Obama Administration.  Inside the application for SFSF funds, Governor Henry agreed to  "Take steps to improve State academic content standards ad student academic achievement standards consistent with section 6401(e)(1)(A)(ii) of the American COMPETES Act. (Improving Standards Assurance).

Page 98 of the America Competes Act - titled, "Subtitle D - Alignment of Education Programs" - speaks specifically to "Improving Standards Assurance".  This section contains what ROPE has called the Four Pillars Of Education Reform; A State Longitudinal Database, College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core), Turning Around Low Performing Schools and Teacher Accountability Measures.

After the ARRA funds came the Race to the Top application.  Though Oklahoma got no money from that application, we did get Common Core cemented in state law (SB2033) because Oklahoma got 20 points on their RtTT application for providing "A description of the legal process in the State for adopting standards, and the State’s plan, current progress, and time frame for adoption." (pg 53)

Following RtTT, there was the No Child Left Behind Waiver.  Again, in order to get the waiver, Oklahoma had to agree to the Four Pillars of education reform.  You do not have to go any further to see this than page 2 of the Waiver.  Page 2 of 110 begins, "Principle 1:  College- and Career-Ready Expectations for All Students" followed by "1.A. Adopt college- and career-ready standards".

It should be clear now as to why we have asserted that Governor Fallin's "Executive Order on the Common Core" was essentially useless.  Simply saying that Oklahoma's education plan does not fall under federal control does not make that true.  Until Oklahoma breaks the No Child Left Behind agreement and ceases and desists all efforts at instituting the "Four Pillars of Education Reform" in Oklahoma, we will continue to be dictated to by the Federal Department of Education.

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