Missouri Governor Signs Bill to Review and Replace Common Core

MissouriStateFlag1Gretchen Logue of Missouri Education Watchdog reported late yesterday afternoon that Governor Jay Nixon signed HB 1490 into law.  He had until August 28th to sign the bill or veto the bill.  He could have also let the bill go into effect without his signature.  The bill will keep the Common Core State Standards in place while educators and parents  give recommendations on how the standards can be improved.

The Missouri Coalition Against Common Core said in a released statement, “The Coalition expresses its appreciation to Governor Nixon and the Missouri Legislature for this first step to enable Missourians to direct and develop education for Missouri students.  We believe this is an important step forward that applies the appropriate caution when implementing a new and untried system to protect our teachers, districts and students from consequences that are not supported by valid data.

“We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature in the next session to further educational excellence for Missouri students.”

After the bill was first passed, MCACC said that this was not the ideal bill, but it was a start.

“We would have liked the language to be a lot stronger in terms of rejecting the Common Core State Standards. We will have to rely on the professional integrity of those selected to be on the various work groups to really focus on what is best for our students and teachers and not be swayed by outside political or financial interests,” said Anne Gassel a co-founder of MCACC in a statement released after the Missouri Legislature passed the bill.

In a nutshell this bill…

  • Mandates the state board by October 1, 2014 to convene work groups comprised of educational professionals who will develop and recommend academic standards by October 1, 2015.
  • The law also specifies (see bill text below) the types of individuals who will be appointed to those work groups (section 160.514).
  • The law requires three public hearings to be held (also in section 160.514).
  • The state board of education shall adopt and implement academic performance standards beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.  The board will then have to develop a statewide assessment system that is aligned to those standards.
  • The law states that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall pilot the Smarter Balanced Assessment during the 2014-2015 school year.  What happens during the 2015-2016 school year is unclear.

The law also reiterates local control exists… “Local school districts and charter schools may adopt their own education standards, in addition to those already adopted by the state, provided the additional standards are in the public domain and do not conflict with the standards adopted by the state board of education.”

With curriculum… “the state board of education and the department of elementary and secondary education shall not be authorized to mandate and are expressly prohibited from mandating the curriculum, textbooks, or other instructional materials to be used in public schools.”

Also in regards to appendix B, etc. of the Common Core State Standards, “The state board of education and the department of elementary and secondary education shall not require districts to use any appendix to the common core state standards.”

In regards to a school’s performance with assessments, “The state board of education shall suggest, but not mandate, criteria for a school to demonstrate that its students learn the knowledge, skills and competencies at exemplary levels worthy of imitation by students in other schools in the state and nation.”

You can read the entire bill (now law) below:

Missouri HB 1490 (Final)

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