New Hampshire Senate Passes Bill Making Common Core Voluntary

Last week the New Hampshire Senate voted 14 to 9 to pass SB 44. This bill is not a repeal of the Common Core State Standards, but it makes the math and ELA standards voluntary for local school districts in the Granite State.

The bill that was sponsored by State Senators Kevin Avard (R-Nashua), Dan Innis (R-New Castle), Harold French (R-Franklin), Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), John Reagan (R-Deerfield), Gary Daniels (R-Milford), and Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead). State Representatives Rick Ladd (R-Haverhill), Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro), and David Murotake (R-Nashua) have sponsored the bill in the House.

The text of the bill reads:

1  Substantive Educational Content of an Adequate Education.  Amend RSA 193-E:2-a, IV to read as follows:

IV.(a) The minimum standards for public school approval for the areas identified in paragraph I shall constitute the opportunity for the delivery of an adequate education. The general court shall periodically, but not less frequently than every 10 years, review, revise, and update, as necessary, the minimum standards identified in paragraph I and shall ensure that the high quality of the minimum standards for public school approval in each area of education identified in paragraph I is maintained. Changes made by the board of education to the school approval standards through rulemaking after the effective date of this section shall not be included within the standards that constitute the opportunity for the delivery of an adequate education without prior adoption by the general court. The board of education shall provide written notice to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, and the chairs of the house and senate education committees of any changes to the school approval standards adopted pursuant to RSA 541-A.

(b)  Neither the department of education nor the state board of education shall by statute or rule require that the common core state standards developed jointly by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers be implemented in any school or school district in this state.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives will now have to consider this bill.

Local school districts have a history of pushing back against the Common Core in New Hampshire. In 2013, for instance, the Manchester Public Schools Board voted to reject Common Core.

Ultimately what makes this difficult for school districts to do is the mandated statewide assessment school districts have to administer to their students, as well as, the glut of Common Core-aligned curriculum. New Hampshire is still a member of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The New Hampshire General Court needs to address the assessments as well. Every Student Succeeds Act requires that state assessments align with state standards. Making the standards optional, while a first step, ultimately doesn’t go far enough.