Friday, March 7, 2014

Current Status Of Common Core Legislation (3/7/2014)

We started the legislative session in Oklahoma with 7 bills relating to Common Core.  I documented all the bills and gave a brief synopsis prior to the legislative session, however, now here we are - not even half way through the legislative session and we're already down to ONLY three survivors:
  1. HB3399 by Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman (formerly Jason Nelson)
  2. HB3167 by Gus Blackwell and
  3. SB1310 by Eddie Fields
  • SB1310 was the only bill by Fields to pass out of the Senate Education Committee (he had two - SB1146 was a repeal bill - SB1310 is a Task Force Bill).  Unfortunately - as I told Senator Ford - we have studied Common Core in some capacity for two separate years (2011, 2013), there is absolutely no reason to 'study' it further.  This bill is alive and scheduled for a vote in the full Senate.
  • HB3167 is a full repeal bill that provides six years in which districts may try any form of standards and curricula they desire.  A Fiscal Analysis has been attached to the bill that states a repeal could result in a significant loss of federal funds.
  • HB3399 as currently written does a number of things:
  • It prevents the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) or any state entity or agency from ceding control over standards, curricula, tests or data to an outside entity, ie; the federal government or private entity.
  • It forces the state agencies and individuals that are party to federal grants, agreements or contracts having to do with public education to amend the agreements to get out of them.
  • It STOPS Common Core AND Common Core testing implementation for two years.
There has been much confusion regarding these bills.  This morning I was talking to the creator of Bartians for Academic Freedom, Joy Collins.  Below, I am pasting a section from her Facebook page today because she has so aptly described the situation there is no need for me to reinvent the wheel:
HB 3167 - Removes the state mandate and leaves a choice for the schools to keep the standards in place (personally I don't see my school district removing them, how about yours? And does this end the nightmare of the ACT and the SAT?) I acknowledge it is a start, but it is not an complete answer to our prayers. There will be a lot work left to do.
My cousin, who teaches in Texas, has been dealing with C-Scope (the evil step sister of Common Core) in her classroom, and she can attest that just because the state removes the mandate, doesn't mean the standards go anywhere. Her school district holds the opinion that they have spent too much money and aren't getting rid of C-Scope in the schools.
HB 3399 - Freezes the mandate for implementation for two years, removes the Common Core testing mandate, and puts the PASS assessments back in place until 2016-2017, and prevents federal intervention in state education. If PASS is the test, then PASS will more than likely the be curriculum. It gives us the opportunity to see the lame ducks go, vote for people who reflect our ideals into office, and get rid of this horse manure once and for all. 
Some say, Governor Fallin wants to sign HB 3399 to be a hero in her campaign for reelection. I say…praise God! With more time we will continue to educate and get better legislation in place. Whoever thought this would this would be short journey clearly didn't pack enough clothes. In the meantime, as we continue to educate and demonstrate. We must also quit assuming we know what is going on with politicians behind closed doors. A little less he said/she said would go a long way. Who knows, maybe with a little authoritative prayer, Governor Mary Fallin might just come through for us. I am only a political novice who is learning by the day, but slandering any politician without clear evidence weakens our movement and cheapens our integrity.
We agree!  Is the issue STOPPING Common Core or backing a bill number?  ROPE has been lobbying, studying, writing, and speaking all over the state to anyone who would listen in order to STOP Common Core, since 2011.  We will back ANY legislation that STOPS Common Core BEFORE it is fully implemented in Oklahoma by law next year.

Unfortunately, Common Core is like a hydra. There are way too many heads to cut off by a simple repeal.  In addition, Governor Mary Fallin, is the head of the National Governor's Association.  She has touted these standards as an accountability measure since she came into office.  According to a conversation Joy had with the Governor last night - where a group staged a protest outside her new campaign office in Tulsa - our Governor believes her Executive Order on Common Core STOPS Common Core.  Of course it does nothing of the kind, however, we have also been told she will VETO any Common Core repeal bill - especially if there is a negative fiscal impact.

We understand from numerous sources who have been to the capitol, that Katie Altshuler (the Governor's Policy Director over education) has been speaking directly to legislators - lobbying against efforts to STOP COMMON CORE.

ROPE has ALWAYS determined to assist parents in their efforts to protect their children and retain their parental rights by STOPPING Common Core, whatever that looks like, whatever the bill number is, whomever is the author. If a bill can be cobbled together that will not only pass the Senate from the House but be SIGNED by the Governor - we're IN - but it will take a UNIFIED voice to get there.  

If you want to STOP Common Core, continue to help us with emails to Katie Altshuler's office, YOUR PERSONAL Senator and Representative and the Governor.  Sign up for our emails. We will give you ideas as to how to take action.  Thank you for ANY assistance in our battle to STOP Common Core in Oklahoma!