Is Michigan on the Verge of a Common Core Rebrand?

Photo credit: Brian Charles Watson (CC-By-SA 3.0)
Photo credit: Brian Charles Watson (CC-By-SA 3.0)

In May, I wrote about the status of the Common Core Repeal and Replace bill being considered by the Michigan Legislature (SB 826/HB 5444). The bill they were considering was one crafted by Stop Common Core in Michigan, and would have been the strongest bill we’ve seen nationally to date if passed.

In that article American Principles Project’s Jane Robbins gave a warning about the bill being gutted.

If the sponsor(s) can keep it from being gutted by the usual suspects who elevate their own agendas over genuine education, it will be a very strong bill. I look forward to seeing how the education-establishment and corporate types argue that replacing the Common Core standards with the indisputably better pre-Common Core Massachusetts standards will harm Michigan education,” Jane Robbins, Senior Fellow at American Principles Project, said to Truth in American Education in an email.

In May, the Senate bill sponsor, State Senator Pat Colebeck (R-Canton), assured Truth in American Education in May that, “It will have a repeal component, and it will include the Massachusetts standards as a replacement. It will make it very difficult for the Common Core to eek its way back in.”

He then elaborated:

When pressed about what would be taken out of the current bill if a substitute bill is offered, Colebeck pointed to the language in the bill that requires new standards having to pass through the House and Senate in concurrent resolutions. He indicated they would receive pushback and likely a legal challenge over that.

“I just don’t want this thing challenged once it is out,” Colebeck explained.

Looking at the substitute bill that was leaked last week it appears that Robbins fears about the bill were justified. Colebeck did more than remove language dealing with the concurrent resolutions.

Michigan Campaign for Liberty, who first reported on the substitute bill, noted one of the most important changes in the bill:

As part of the process of conversion away from the Common Core standards, the superintendent of public instruction, the state board, the department, and any other state public employee or authority shall take all steps necessary to terminate areas of federal control of the Michigan Educational process.

The problem is, this provision is being derailed.

Why are Republicans fighting to keep Washington D.C. bureaucrats in control of the Michigan education process?

A substitute is being pushed that changes the language to:

The department, and any other state public employee or authority shall take all steps necessary to terminate areas of federal control of the Michigan educational process that are not considered to be in the best interests of pupils in this state.

This added language at the end, “that are not considered to be in the best interest of pupils in this state” opens up a huge loophole.

All bureaucrats and politicians believe what they do is in the best interest of the pupils.  All manner of federal control will be justified under this new provision.

They note that Colebeck’s concern about the concurrent resolution could be dealt with in two steps. It didn’t need to be removed.

  1. In the original bill, the approval process was to be done through a concurrent resolution.  Instead, state that the legislature must vote on it via a full bill.
  2. Place a severability clause in the bill.  If any portion of the bill is struck down by the courts, then the rest of the bill stands.

Tamara Carlone with Stop Common Core in Michigan sent Truth in American Education a list of changes that need to be made in the bill (the more stars the more vital it is that a change is made).

The first 4 pages of the sub, except for the last three lines of page 4, are pages that were not included in the original bill.  The original bill changed any wording that had the term “core” in it.  These additional pages would need to use the same terminology of the original bill to be consistent and to be less confusing.” State academic content standards” instead of “core academic curriculum content standards,” for example.

Page 2 – line 2 – “cognitive” needs to be defined.

Page 2 – line 7 – based on who’s opinion/world view? 

Page 2 – lines 19 & 20 – define “Michigan K-12 program standards of quality”

Page 2 – lines 23 and 24 – update outdated terms – we do not use MEAP anymore… and what makes up MME now…

Page 3 – line 1 – “beliefs” is excluded here and should be included, as per rest of bill. 

Page 3 – line 7 – “all” is not accurate as all students will not achieve same material and same age/ pace.  Section 6 at top of page 4 refers to this, but this should be accurate taken on its own.

Page 4 – line 17 & 18 – update outdated term – we do not use MEAP anymore.

Page 4 – line 22 – case law referred to and can change…should refer to point trying to make here…

***Page 5 – lines 20 & 21 – too subjective/ based on who’s opinion/ world view?

*******Page 6 – sections B, C and D are all new and should be deleted.  Section B is too general; MA is for 5 years only; if include must be extremely specific.  Not really needed since all schools have current events – it is not prescriptive in the standards.  Section C is way too general!  MDE thinks what they just passed, NGSS, is “evidence based.”  NGSS treats global warming as fact and pushes it every year, deletes major areas of scientific study, deletes the scientific method, and no God or creation IS fact to them.  Section D is too general and risky.  If a new law comes up – that law is followed, this language not even needed.  These three sections are BIG holes in this sub.

***Page 7 – line 12 – Add, “and the Next Generation Science Standards” after “…not directly aligned to the common core standards” and before “…that were previously adopted by the state board.”  Then add another sentence, “Not directly aligned to the C3 social studies standards under consideration by the state board of education either.”

Page 7 – lines 14 & 15 – based on who?  Gates or other pro-CC groups?  Must be independent and repeated.

**********Page 8 – line 10 & lines 16-18 – “BASED ON” & MDE making assessments – this is way too open – MDE is a big part of why MI schools are doing poorly – stick with original bill in which we use MA standards and MA tests.

Page 8 – lines 23-25 – put wording back to original bill.

**Page 9 – section 2 – Schools too; and not just opt out of assessment – opt out of objectionable things going on in the school – see original bill language. 

Page 9 – lines 16-19 – this is new language – what $ would be used then?

Sub bill deletes emphasis on “coherence, focus, and essential knowledge” and instead just requires that “standards shall be supported by evidence that demonstrates improved academic achievement.”  The wording was selected by a MI teacher that sees the aim of CC being “off” from a true and full quality education, and it is separate from the proposed wording, which seems to focus on test scores.  Standards must be supported by evidence but that is already in the original bill.

Sub bill deletes prohibition against collecting mental data of a pupil or their family.  This section must be maintained in order to protect inappropriate data collection on children.  If exceptions are needed for mentally handicap children, there can be necessary information gathered to aid in the education of those children only – preferably maintained within the school district. 

Concurrent resolution language was deleted and it could be replaced with a bill with a severability clause in the bill.  That way, if any portion of the bill is struck down by the courts, then the rest of the bill stands. 

Carlone provided the following statement:

As the Vice President of Stop Common Core in Michigan I worked closely with Representative Gary Glenn and other members of my team over a year’s time to create the absolute strongest bill in the nation.  That is House Bill 5444, which was picked up on the Senate side as SB 826.  We saw what was happening in other states with fake repeals, etc. and wanted to avoid that in Michigan so the language of the bill was very carefully selected.  National education experts, state education experts, and lawyers were consulted along the way.  Our only goal is giving the children of Michigan the best possible education.  We do not get paid and we have no ulterior motives.  We work hard every day seeking the best interests of children in education and that is it.  We can tell you who all the special interests are that are behind Common Core, the related tests, the data, etc.  We watch the issue constantly and are part of a national network doing the same.  We know the tricks of the pro-Common Core folks to protect their gravy train.  We have literally seen it all.  So, of course, we were very disappointed to be shut out of the process when the Senate chose to pick up the bill.  

I have provided my detailed input on the proposed substitute bill and it has been ignored.  I can tell you who is behind every change in the substitute bill and why they are pushing it.  It is NOT to serve the best interest of the children.  The original bill gives us the proven best standards and assessments in the nation for a period of 5 years.  This is enough time to prove them out in MI and to flush the ill effects of Common Core and the related assessments out of the schools.  This substitute bill opens the door for the manipulation of the standards and the tests by the MDE. 

The MDE has been in charge of our schools for a long time and their own recent road show for new science and social studies standards detailed the poor results.  Let’s use proven standards and assessments for 5 years and let our children flourish.   From there we can decide the best course of action going forward.  We can continue with it after 5 years and tweak it as needed.  During the 5 years we could work on improving teacher training, and other things that need attention in education.  The original bill also kicks federal control of education in MI to the curb, gets rid of inappropriate data collection on our children, and clarifies local control and the rights of parents to opt their children out of objectionable material.  The substitute bill retains federal control and reduces the strength in the language on the other issues.  We need legislators that are willing to do whatever it takes to do right by the children of Michigan, not whatever it takes to protect Fed Ed, the MDE, and special interests.

Unless recommended changes are made to the substitute bill then all Michigan will get is a rebranding of the Common Core State Standards under the guise of a repeal, not to mention allow the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and C3 State Social Studies Standards.

Note: Be sure to see Karen Braun’s article on this development at Stop Common Core in Michigan’s website.

One thought on “Is Michigan on the Verge of a Common Core Rebrand?

  1. ESSA has codified Common Core standards into federal law. When will people wake up to the fact that if the states wants to receive federal money they WILL create standards that are aligned with Common Core. Common sense tells us that all of the tests, books etc are now geared toward Common Core and Common Core aligned (rebranded) standards. International tests like PISA are currently being redesigned to align as well. The US Superintendent of Education must approve all state standards and Common Core aligned standards are the only standards that get the stamp of approval. So what is not to understand here. Common Core is here to stay unless a state wants to pull away from federal funding. So it is time for activists to stop wasting their time fighting Common Core and start working together in the community to circumvent the system. Create home school consortiums, if you already home school take on one additional child, give up the luxuries in life and keep a parent at home to home school, get a job that is conducive to home school (we have parents that work shift jobs so the mom or dad is home during the day and works at night and parents share the home school duties, you can home school on weekends or at night. There are so many ways to make it happen. But fighting Common Core is now a losing battle. It is so deeply embedded into every facet of education. There is such enormous amounts of money to be made they will never let it go. Time to STARVE THE BEAST. Sorry but we need to face the truth.

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