Exactly who does Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin work for? Recent events begs the question. Who does she serve? Does she serve the children and families of Oklahoma or does she serve the National Governors Association? It seems like her chairing the NGA has put her in conflict with serving her state.
At least in the realm of education anyway.
Parents and residents of Oklahoma are crying out for the State Legislature to kick the Common Core out of their state. The Oklahoma House of Representatives are listening to the people and have put forward several excellent bills to address the Common Core.
Action in the Senate has been slower, but it seemed like some headway was being made. Restore Oklahoma Public Education sent this update earlier – “An amendment filed to SB1764 late yesterday by Senators Sykes and Brecheen, will stop Common Core state standards in Oklahoma and return Oklahoma education to the control of those best in charge of their children’s education – parents. In the Oklahoma House, Speaker Jeff Hickman yesterday filed similar language in an amendment to HB3399 providing the same assurances.”
Last night things changed. ROPE had another call to action as their was another amendment to the bill:
UNFORTUNATELY, the bill was amended AGAIN today late in the day and the resulting amendment removed many of the best parts of the bill. Yes, it does still repeal Common Core from law, however, it requires new ‘college and career ready’ standards for English/LA and Mathematics to be developed byDecember 1 of THIS YEAR (2014). If this is really to be a collaborative, deliberative process, there is NO WAY to do that in 6 months time – unless you copy and paste the Common Core State Standards in Math and English/LA into a document and say they are state standards. Very concerning!
In addition, the section on assessments so good in the former version has been gutted and changed to say assessments and standards shall "be approved and controlled solely by the State Board" without any indication of what those assessments will be or will NOT be under this law.
What changed? I’ve been told that Governor Fallin, who made an impassioned defense of the Common Core at a recent NGA press conference, has been visiting the Senate Leadership and Republican caucus meetings trying to bolster support for the Common Core.
Then her Secretary of Education and Workforce Development, Dr. Robert Sommers, is propagating nonsense like this in response to the amendment that was originally filed saying it would eliminate Oklahoma’s ability to engage with national youth organizations such as the FFA (Future Farmers of America).
Not that I believe that is a problem that couldn’t be fixed (if it actually is a problem at all) that is a reason to keep subpar standards and ignore the people of Oklahoma?
The Senate will have to decide whether to approve the original amendment or the weakened one that will allow Governor Fallin’s administration to simply rebrand the Common Core. If the good amendment is passed in the Senate, it is likely to pass the House. That would put pressure on Governor Fallin that she’d rather avoid. It is much easier to rebrand the Common Core under the ruse of “repealing it.” Faced with the other option she’s will be faced with the decision of truly rejecting something the NGA is behind and possibly put her chairmanship at risk or veto a bill that is popular with the people of Oklahoma.
So she’s pressuring the Senate to do the dirty work for her so she can avoid signing a bill or sign one that in effect does very little.
Governor Fallin needs to be reminded that she serves the people of Oklahoma, not the NGA. It’s time that Governor Fallin and her administration start acting like it on this issue.