South Carolina Legislature Approves Common Core Replacement Bill

South Carolina lawmakers have passed a bill that would review and replace the Common Core standards, but not immediately repeal them.

H3893 passed the state Senate 42-0 and the House 80-26. It now heads to Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who is expected to sign the bill.

As reported by the Heartland’s School Reform News, the bill would create a committee to review and replace the Common Core standards prior to the 2015-2016 academic year. It also would prohibit South Carolina from using the federally funded national Common Core-aligned tests.

The bill launched a debate earlier in the year when the South Carolina State Department of Education (DOE) decided to withdraw from its Smarter Balanced Common Core test consortium. While the State Board of Education voted down that proposal, current state Superintendent Mick Zais reinstated the DOE’s decision to reject the tests.

“A special assessment panel will be convened immediately upon passage of the bill to provide input for a new assessments system, and must seek public input,” said state Sen. Wes Hayes (R).

As observed by Shane Vander Hart at Truth in American Education, “South Carolina could adopt the ACT Aspire assessment for the transition year which would allow them time to develop their own assessment aligned to the new standards.”

Nevertheless, once signed, the new law “would continue implementation of Common Core Standards in [English] and Math in 2014-15, but also requires a cyclical review of these standards on or before January 1, 2015, for the purpose of adopting South Carolina college and career readiness standards for 2015-16,” said Hayes.

Hayes added he does not expect the new standards to simply rewrite or rebrand the Common Core. But Sheri Few, candidate for state superintendent, observed that Democrats had already articulated a plan to rebrand the Common Core as the South Carolina standards, similar to what has occurred in other states.

“It is all going to be determined by the new superintendent so it is critically important that we elect the right superintendent of education, otherwise we will end up just like Indiana, or Oklahoma, or Arizona with just a repackaging and rebranding,” stated Few, who is facing several opponents in the Republican primary on June 10.

“Nothing else matters if we don’t get rid of Common Core because Common Core is destroying public education,” Few added. “This has to be the first order of business, and for these other candidates it is not the priority. It is just something they simply added to their stump speech because they know that’s what voters want to hear.”


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