South Carolina Parents Group Urges 'No' Vote for Compromise on Common Core

South Carolina Parents Group Urges 'No' Vote for Compromise on Common Core

Many South Carolina parents are urging state Senate Education Committee members to approve a bill Wednesday that would repeal the Common Core State Standards without any compromise amendments.

State Sen. Larry Grooms (R) sponsored SB 300, which states:

The State Board may not adopt and the State Department may not implement the Common Core State Standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Any actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards as of the effective date of this section are void ab initio.

South Carolina Parents Involved in Education (SCPIE) has actively opposed the Common Core standards and considers any amendments that would achieve a compromise a betrayal. However, state school officials and members of the chamber of commerce are defending the standards.

The parents’ group has offered that the legislature could pass a clean repeal bill and revert to the state’s prior standards, or adopt other standards, such as Massachusetts’ English Language Arts standards, which are among the most rigorous in the country.

SCPIE states, however, “Senate Education Committee leaders contend the bill had to be amended to successfully move it to the Senate floor for full and open debate.”

As reported, last month state Sen. Mike Fair (R) introduced the proposed amendment.

“For me it was a compromise with myself,” Fair told South Carolina Senate’s K-12 Education Subcommittee. “This is where many of us find ourselves.”

Fair was in favor of a hybrid bill that would keep the Common Core standards for math and English Language Arts in place, but eliminate the mandated assessments.

For some state lawmakers, such a compromise would allow the work and resources committed to the Common Core standards over the past several years to continue without disruption.

Fair’s proposal includes a data privacy provision that would prohibit state agencies from providing student information to the U.S. Department of Education.

Still another provision would require a cyclical review of the Common Core standards after 2016 to allow the state’s curriculum writers an opportunity to keep, alter, or eliminate parts of the standards.

A third amendment would pull South Carolina entirely out of the testing requirement. The state belongs to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), whose test is set for release in the fall of this year.

“The Smarter Balanced test is just repugnant to lots of people,” Fair said. We’ll sever that relationship.”

Grooms, who sponsored a bill similar to SB 300 in 2011 that failed to move out of committee, said the legislative session offers very little time for the bill to reach the full assembly. May 1st, he said, is the deadline a bill must be voted on by either chamber to have a chance to be approved.

“My fear is we do nothing this year and then we move into the next year,” Grooms said. “If nothing happens this year, the Smarter Balanced assessments will be given to every school district, and we don’t know the costs.”

“Parents, and taxpayers against Common Core Standards are a grassroots group whose motive is to improve the quality of education in SC too while focusing on protecting the rights of parents to direct their child’s education,” wrote Johnnelle Raines, Upstate Regional Director of SCPIE. “We too have spent hours upon hours of time researching evidence on how these standards are NOT in the best interest of SC children.”

“Our motive is love of children. We want the best educational standards possible for them regardless of money or our time spent,” Raines continued. “We have spent countless time researching and developing strategies to expose the dangers hidden behind this road to a National Curriculum.”