Breaking…. big move in the Michigan House of Representatives! The Michigan House today approved the Department of Education budget (HB4328) on a 59-51 vote with an amendment which does not allow them to implement Common Core State Standards or “Smarter Balanced Assessments”. The amendment was sponsored by State Rep. Tom McMillin, the amendment is similar to House Bill 4276 which is currently before the House Education Committee.
The amendment reads:
Funds appropriated in Part 1 (MDE’s full budget) shall not be used to fund the Common Core State Standards Initiative or Smarter Balanced Assessments. Funds shall not be used to implement programs or student assessments created by the Common Core State Standards Initiative or Smarter Balance Assessments.
It should be noted that Common Core State Standards were never approved by a Michigan Legislature (or any state legislature for that matter). A press release sent by McMillin noted said that “Concerns have been raised about the State Board of Education exceeding its authority as it attempts to implement standards in Michigan schools that were created by a private, national organization, the National Governor’s Association. The National Governor’s Association controls the content of the Common Core State Standards, and the privately-owned “Smarter Balanced Assessments” align with those standards.”
“The Department of Education is trying to put Michigan schools in Common Core without legislative approval,” said McMillin, R-Rochester Hills. “Giving our authority to control what is taught in our schools to any national entity is wrong. I am glad the House is taking up the debate of whether this is appropriate.”
National education experts also weighed in on the budget amendment.
“The Common Core adoption cut the people and their elected legislators out of the process,” said Emmett McGroarty, an executive director at the American Principles Project. “On a matter that concerns the education of children, that is an especially fatal flaw. The House has taken a big step toward correcting that.”
Sandra Stotsky served on Common Core’s Validation Committee from 2009-2010 and now advocates against the standards. “Michigan can have a brighter future if its own mathematics, science, engineering and literary experts at its great universities are asked to work out college-ready standards for Michigan high schools,” said Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. She holds the 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality. “Today’s smart move by the House gives Michigan the opportunity to work out a range of state-based high school curriculum options.”
State Representative McMillin told me that the budget bill only included non-school aid spending which includes funding for the Michigan Department of Education. School aid money, he said, goes directly to local school districts who can use the money to implement the Common Core if they choose to do so, but the state can not.
The budget will go to the Senate for consideration.