California Assemblyman Curt Hagman introduced Assembly Bill 2440, a bill intended to offer local school districts the ability to delay the implementation of the Common Core-related, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing. Two Republican legislators, Assembly Members Kristin Olsen (CA-12) and Rocky Chavez (CA-76, North San Diego County), joined five Democrats in a unanimous Assembly Education Committee vote against the bill.
AB 2440 would allow California school districts to defer implementation of assessments aligned with the Common Core Standards from the 2013-14 school year to the 2015-16 school year. If a school district chose to defer, it would be authorized to administer either no standardized test or the former Standardized Testing and Reporting Program (STAR).
Assemblyman Hagman released a statement in response to the committee’s vote, saying, “I am disappointed by the committee’s decision as many schools throughout the state simply are not ready to implement these new assessments.” Hagman’s statement continued, “This bill was a pragmatic approach that would have given our teachers and students more time to prepare, instead of being set up to fail.”
Eagle Forum California President Orlean Koehle attended an April 9, 2014 hearing in Sacramento, which included limited discussion of AB 2440. Orlean recalled proponents and opponents of the bill were present to voice their opinions, but only two speakers were allowed to speak for two minutes each. Other attendees were only allowed to state their names and whether each supported or opposed the bill.
Official analysis of AB 2440 records registered opponents as the Association of California School Administrators and the California School Boards Association. The analysis also reports the current budget as including an appropriation of $1.25 billion “in one-time money to assist local education in implementing the new standards.”
Assemblyman Hagman’s press release also states, “Education advocates estimate that another $2 billion is needed to help California schools become Common Core ready.”
Republicans Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, both of whose names have been tossed around as potential 2016 Presidential candidates, have been supporters of the controversial Common Core Standards. However, Huckabee has more recently advocated for rebranding the standards. According to a report by Politichicks.tv’s Macey France, at least in part, Jeb Bush’s support for Common Core becomes more interesting in light of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s donation of $500,000 to Jeb’s Foundation for Educational Excellence. The Gates Foundation has been a strong proponent of Common Core.
Breitbart contributor Dr. Susan Berry reported, “Common Core is a federally promoted, not state-led, initiative introduced in the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus bill through a competitive grant program called Race to the Top (RTTT). Common Core is a set of unproven and untested uniform standards and aligned curricula and testing that allows for a greater role of government in education, higher levels of social engineering, student data collection, and teacher evaluations based on student performance on assessments.”
Dr. Berry also reported on a Wednesday vote by Indiana’s State Senate to approve a bill, “by a vote of 35-13, that would fully withdraw the state from the highly controversial standards.” This would make Indiana the first state to withdraw completely from the Common Core standards.
States around the country continue to take varying stances on whether they will adhere to and implement the highly controversial Common Core standards or standards similar but under a different name. This fight is not purely partisan either. Proponents and opponents of Common Core exist on both sides of the aisle and for a variety of reasons. Still, the outcome of the Common Core battle continues and it remains to be seen which side will prevail from state to state and county to county.