South Carolina Education Committee Vote Calls for Common Core Scrutiny

State Senator Mike Fair

This morning, the full South Carolina Education Committee delivered a bipartisan vote that called for additional scrutiny of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

On Saturday, State Senator Mike Fair had published a Greenville News op-ed (available only to subscribers) that stated, in part:

“But if the federal government didn’t create Common Core, how is this a federal takeover? Simple — the Department of Education is funding the development of the national tests aligned with Common Core.

Even Common Core proponents admit that whoever controls the test will, for all practical purposes, control what must be taught in the classroom. And once Common Core is implemented, no one in this state will have the power to change any standard, instead, power will reside with anonymous bureaucrats in Washington.

The Legislature never had a chance to review Common Core because the feds timed their deadlines for adopting them to fall when the Legislature wasn’t in session. So, to qualify for a shot at Race to the Top money in 2010, the (previous) state superintendent and the (previous) governor had to agree to adopt Common Core — standards that had not even been published yet.

Senator Fair, a leader on the education committee, is quite right in pointing out that the standards were implemented with an utter lack of democratic or legislative scrutiny.

This bipartisan vote in South Carolina indicates that legislators of both parties feel they should conduct a thorough analysis of an effort to move decision-making from Columbia, SC to Washington, DC.

South Carolina is leading the way to shine democratic scrutiny on the Common Core Standards.  The bipartisan support for an open democratic debate in the Education Committee should be commended.