The Missouri Legislature voted 131 to 12 in the House and 23 to 6 in the Senate in favor of the conference report for HB 1490. This bill, if signed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, would replace the Common Core State Standards by the 2016-2017 school year, and a new assessment to align with those standards within three years. It also outlines a development process for new standards. It also says that next school year’s Smarter Balanced pilot tests will not be used for purposes of accountability.
The bill revises the laws regarding learning standards and assessments in elementary and secondary education by:
(1) Specifying that whenever the State Board of Education in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education develops, evaluates, modifies, or revises academic performance or learning standards, it must convene two work groups, one for grades kindergarten through five and one for grades six through twelve, for each of four specified subject areas;
(2) Specifying the makeup of each 14-person work group and designating the persons or entities responsible for the appointment of members;
(3) Requiring the state board to hold at least three public hearings during the development of the standards at certain time periods in their development and specifying the groups from which it must solicit feedback. All comments must be made publicly available;
(4) Clarifying that a school district or charter school may adopt its own standards in addition to the current state standards as long as the standards are in the public domain;
(5) Requiring, by October 1, 2014, the state board to convene work groups to develop new academic performance standards by October 1, 2015, in place of the common core state standards. The work groups must report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tem of the Senate every month on their progress;
(6) Requiring the department to pilot assessments from the Smarter Balance Consortium during the 2014-15 school year, but exempting that year’s results from use in accountability decisions or teacher evaluations for the that school year;
(7) Requiring the adoption and implementation of new academic performance standards by the state board beginning with school year 2016-17. The state board must align the statewide assessment system to the new standards as needed within three years of adopting new standards; and
(8) Specifying that any person who does work that normally requires a teacher’s or administrator’s certificate must be an employee of the school district or charter school, and that the person’s evaluations must be maintained in his or her personnel file and not shared with any state or federal agency.
Update: The summary above has been changed. I removed the paragraph related to state board of education member term limits. Some student data protection has been added to the bill. You can read that here. Also read the Missouri Education Watchdog article on this as well.
“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. The coalition is a grassroots group made up of mothers and fathers, grandparents, teachers and school board members who are working together to restore local control of education.