More state legislatures jumping Common Core ship

BY Kyla Calvert  May 30, 2014 at 12:27 PM EDT
Photo by KT King/Flickr

Photo by KT King/Flickr

The Common Core standards for math and English could be out in two more states. State legislatures in Oklahoma and South Carolina have sent bills to their governors’ desks to withdraw from the standards, which have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia since 2010.

Oklahoma State Rep. Jason Nelson, a Republican who co-sponsored the repeal bill in his state, told the NewsHour in April that broad bipartisan support for the guidelines for teaching math and English language arts at each grade level faltered because of concerns that they encroached on the state’s power to decide what is taught in public schools. Gov. Mary Fallin has been a supporter of the standards, but signaled in March she could sign a repeal and has said she’ll meet with educators before deciding whether to sign the final bill.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told Columbia, South Carolina’s The State:
“Common Core was brought to South Carolina by a previous administration, and Gov. Haley has fought against it from day one and will continue to do so until it’s no longer part of our school system’s curriculum.”

School districts in both states have been training teachers, buying materials and incorporating lessons based on the Common Core into classrooms for more than a year. The State estimates South Carolina districts have already spent between $59.8 million and $88.2 million on the rollout.

In March, Indiana became the first state to abandon the Common Core, despite being among the standards’ early adopters.

Oklahoma and South Carolina are not the only states reconsidering their commitment to the guidelines. The Missouri legislature has also passed a bill directing the state to develop its own, new standards over the next two years. Gov. Jay Nixon has not signaled whether he will sign the bill. While Louisiana has rebuffed efforts to drop the standards, Gov. Bobby Jindal is considering executive action to add his state to the list of those withdrawing from common tests based on the standards.

The Common Core’s defenders still say they’re an improvement on the standards in place in most states before 2010 and their focus on critical thinking, problem solving and evidence-based writing will better prepare students to go to college and enter the workplace.


PBS NewsHour education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.