Upcoming Common Core Bill in North Dakota

north-dakota-state-flagState Representative Jim Kasper (R-Fargo) told Truth in American Education that he is introducing a bill in the North Dakota House of Representatives that would withdraw North Dakota from Common Core and Smarter Balanced.  The North Dakota Legislature only meets on odd years so they could not introduce a bill last year.

I obtained a draft copy of the bill from a local activist.  Since this is a draft copy the language could very well change.

There is a lot going on in this bill, which could be its weakness.  Smaller, straightforward bills are easier for legislators to get behind.  There are a number of interesting aspects of this bill.

Here are some highlights….

  • It moves the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s role from a supervisor of developing educational standards to that of a participant.
  • It also places limitations on the Superintendent. ¬†The bill states, “may not commit this state or any political¬†subdivision of this state to participate, at any level, in any organization, consortium,¬†association, or like entity, if the participation requires, will require, or potentially could¬†require either an expenditure of public funds or changes in the laws of this state.” ¬†It doesn’t allow the Superintendent to be a signatory either unless their is legislative consent and public hearings have been held.
  • It requires school districts to provide a copy of the state standards being used, a translation of them for those who don’t have an education background, and a copy of the curriculum being used by teachers in subject areas where standards exist.
  • School districts have to provide copies of assessments they use so adults over the age of 21 can review them.
  • It creates a commission on North Dakota standards and assessments whose role is to develop and oversee standards developed for North Dakota. ¬†Membership requires an education background and/or content expertise with an advanced degree.
  • The new standards in English, math and science are required to be internationally benchmarked.
  • A new assessment is to be developed for 3rd through 12th grades and aligned to the new standards.
  • The commission would maintain a list of materials and curriculum that is aligned to the new standards. ¬†The bill reemphasizes that the decisions about curriculum is for local school boards.
  • There is language directing the Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction to pull North Dakota out of the Smarter Balanced Consortium.
  • It lists assessments that can be used in the 2015-2016 in the interim while the new assessment is being developed.
  • It restricts the type of data that schools can collect and specifies schools may only obtain data from parents and guardians directly. ¬†Schools have to explain why they need the data, how it will be handled, how it will be stored, etc.
  • The bill also addresses what will be done in the event the Federal Department of Education decides to respond to this bill by pulling Federal funding.