May 13, 2013

Common Core Battle Rages Across the Nation – A Report from the Front

The battle against the Common Core standards is raging across the country. Here is some of the more recent news.


Florida – In a great combined effort between a statewide coalition of activists under Floridians Against Common Core Education and Education Liberty Watch, Florida’s invasive data mining/tracking bill, SB 878 was stopped. This bill connected Florida’s data collection system to the National Center of Education Statistics data elements that contain 300-400 pieces of very personal and private data as well as gathering data on students through their work lives.  For a bill that had passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously with the difference of a small amendment to be stopped is unprecedented, even miraculous.  It speaks to the intense concern about and passion of parents to protect the privacy of their children’s and families data from government bureaucrats and corporate profiteers, as well as the inspired research and lobbying team that fought for parental rights in Tallahassee. Details are here.  Legislative leaders, the chairman of the state Republican party and the governor are no longer using the phrase “Common Core” in press releases. This combined with some language that will hopefully slow the pace of Common Core implementation in Florida will allow the battle to continue next year.

Indiana -  Governor Mike Pence heard the voice of the people of Indiana whose elected representatives passed by wide margins a bill to take a pause on the Common Core by allowing public hearings and a fiscal analysis before further implementation.  Passage of this bill makes Indiana the first state in the nation to pause or withdraw from Common Core after having adopted it.  Heather Crossin and Erin Tuttle along with their statewide coalition Hoosiers Against Common Core deserve great credit for their perseverance and passion despite attacks by the always big government promoting Chamber of Commerce and the other corporate and foundation interests.  Details are available here.

Michigan - The Michigan House passed an amendment to defund the Common Core.  There is a rally to continue that effort in Lansing on May 14th.

U.S. House of Representatives – Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has written a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan with concerns about the lack of congressional oversight into Common Core and the irregular process by which the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was changed to weaken student privacy without Congress via regulation.  Education Liberty Watch is thankful to Rep. Leutkemeyer and all of the 33 cosigners including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN 6), Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL 19), and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL 5) for this effort that will hopefully lead to legislation restoring the privacy protections of FERPA.

U.S. Senate – Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and eight other senators [Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), Senator James Inhofe (R-OK),  Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)]  sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) requesting the defunding of the Common Core standards and tests in compliance with federal law.  We can only hope that this effort is successful, but it will be difficult given the partisan divide of the Senate.

The Republican National Committee – The RNC unanimously passed a resolution at their Spring meeting condemning the Common Core and it associated data collection system.  It is available here.  This sets up a needed debate between the freedom minded, limited government and the corporate and foundation backed establishment elite.


Minnesota – Despite many valid legal, legislative, and content concerns, an administrative law judge approved the Common Core linked Minnesota Social Studies standards.  The judge’s decision may be viewed here and a cogent analysis by attorney Marjorie Holsten may be viewed here.  Legal options are still being considered.

In addition, Minnesota’s education finance bills seem to be performing a stealth implementation of the Common Core math standards that they had so wisely and on a bipartisan basis rejected.  That implementation is being accomplished by using the ACT or SAT as the graduation exam.  Because these tests are aligned to the Common Core standards, Minnesota students will in essence have to learn the Common Core math standards in order to pass this exam.  This is despite the fact that experts like James Milgram, professor emeritus at Stanford, and who refused to sign off on the final version of the math standards while serving on the validation committee, sees the standards as being behind international norms by at least two years at the end of eighth grade.

Florida - The education finance bill is still going ahead with an implementation plan for the Common Core assessments.

Georgia - This state’s Common Core withdrawal bill was tabled in the state senate.

Alabama Alabama’s bill to withdraw from Common Core was killed by the Senate President Pro Tempore.

There are starting to be cracks in the dam of the once inevitable Common Core system, but as one can see there is much work still to be done.  Education Liberty Watch appreciates your support.  Please stay engaged with both your activism and your finances.

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