US House Passes Student Success Act with Strong Anti-Common Core Language!July, 2013
Karen R. Effrem, MD
Despite numerous communications from former governor Jeb Bush, Commissioner Tony Bennett and the Florida Department of Education, Governor Rick Scott, State Board of Education Member John Cologne, Majority Leader Steve Precourt, Senator John Thrasher, and numerous former Republican chairs that anyone who raises concerns about the Common Core system is "misinformed," "a conspiracy theorist," or "crazy," we are very grateful that the US House of Representatives did not get those memos. Great thanks and congratulations should go to the Reps. John Kline (chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee) and the 12 co-sponsors of HR 5, the Student Success Act, as well as the 200+ other members that voted for this bill that contained such strong anti-Common Core Language. The purpose of HR 5 is to reuathorize the Elementary and secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind. Here are two of several excellent examples of the anti-Common Core language:
Voluntary Partnerships- A State may enter into a voluntary partnership with another State to develop and implement the academic standards and assessments required under this section, except that the Secretary shall not, either directly or indirectly, attempt to influence, incentivize, or coerce State--`(1) adoption of the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative, any other academic standards common to a significant number of States, or assessments tied to such standards; or`(2) participation in any such partnerships.
- SEC. 5521. PROHIBITION AGAINST FEDERAL MANDATES, DIRECTION, OR CONTROL.`(a) In General- No officer or employee of the Federal Government shall, directly or indirectly, through grants, contracts, or other cooperative agreements, mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school's specific instructional content, academic standards and assessments, curricula, or program of instruction, (including any requirement, direction, or mandate to adopt the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative or any other academic standards common to a significant number of States), nor shall anything in this Act be construed to authorize such officer or employee to do so.`(b) Financial Support- No officer or employee of the Federal Government shall, directly or indirectly, through grants, contracts, or other cooperative agreements, make financial support available in a manner that is conditioned upon a State, local educational agency, or school's adoption of specific instructional content, academic standards and assessments, curriculum, or program of instruction, (including any requirement, direction, or mandate to adopt the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative, any other academic standards common to a significant number of States, or any assessment, instructional content, or curriculum aligned to such standards), even if such requirements are specified in an Act other than this Act, nor shall anything in this Act be construed to authorize such officer or employee to do so.
In addition, a "Sense of Congress" amendment to HR 5 was passed by 230 of 233 Republicans that "States and local educational agencies should maintain the rights and responsibilities of determining educational curriculum, programs of instruction, and assessments for elementary and secondary education." This amendment was authored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer.(MO-3) who had also authored an excellent letter to Secretary Arne Duncan about the many problems with Common Core, federal overreach, and data collection. That letter was co-signed by three Republican Florida members of Congress: Rep. Richard Nugent (FL-11), Rep. Ted Yoho (FL-5), and Rep. Trey Radel (FL19). Rep. Radel said the following in support of that amendment:
- "The Department of Education heavily incentivized & pressured states into adopting the Common Core State Standards Initiatives. These national standards and assessments ultimately determine the curriculum and teaching materials used in classrooms across the nation."
Finally, Rep. Martha Roby (AL-2) along with eight co-sponsors including Rep. Radel have authored HR 2089, The Defending State Authority Over Education Act of 2013. It is a separate bill that contains language similar to that of HR 5 quoted above. Both because HR 5 passed as a partisan bill with little or no Democrat support and therefore facing a steep uphill climb in the Senate, where a bill that seeks to centralize federal power over education even more has passed committee, and because this really should be a non-partisan issue, we urge you to contact your members of Congress and talk to them about supporting HR 2089 which only covers Common Core and federal control of education. Thank you.