fate of the controversial Common Core educational standards in Missouri
will largely be determined in the next two weeks as the Missouri
General Assembly closes out its 2014 legislative session.
Legislation designed to repeal, phase out, replace, or modify the
Common Core curriculum standards has gained surprising momentum during
this year's legislative proceedings, which will come to an end when the
General Assembly adjourns on May 16th.
Senator John Lamping of
St. Louis County and Representative Kurt Bahr of O'Fallon have been
leading legislative proponents of scrapping the Common Core initiative
in Missouri. Opponents of Common Core object to the implementation
of uniform national educational standards, support local control of
public schools, and resist social indoctrination in public education.
week the Missouri Senate adopted a revised version of House Bill 1490,
the proposal introduced in the Missouri House by Representative
Bahr. Senator Ed Emery
who handled Representative Bahr's bill in that chamber, offered a
Senate Substitute. Numerous amendments were adopted, and the
revised bill, adopted on a 23-9 vote, now goes to a high-profile
Under the latest version of the bill, the
State Board of Education would be required to appoint work groups of
"education professionals" by October 1st of this year. The work
groups, composed of 16 to 21 members, would be charged with developing
new statewide academic performance standards. Eight different work
groups would be convened covering the subject areas of English language
arts, mathematics, science, and history and governments.
Work group members would include representatives from teachers' organizations, school boards, and school
administrators. Legislative leaders, the governor, and the
lieutenant governor would also make appointments. Each work group
would include four parents of students currently enrolled in the public
The work groups would be required to submit their
recommended standards to the State Board of Education by October 1st,
2015. The State Board would then be required to adopt and
implement academic performance standards effective for the 2016-2017
school year.Senator Lamping
says that the latest proposal ensures that a deliberative process will occur in formulating the
standards. "Among the greatest concerns with Common Core is the
fact that the process used to adopt it was less than transparent.
This legislation provides the framework for an open process to occur
that allows everyone from education professionals to parents an
opportunity to weigh in."
Regardless of the collective work
product of the work groups, the State Board of Education could still
choose to re-implement the Common Core standards or the same standards
under a different name. "There is nothing to prohibit the exact
same standards the bill was designed to reject," said Senator Ryan Silvey
of Clay County.
Senator Silvey offered an amendment to explicitly prohibit adoption of
the Common Core standards. The amendment was rejected on a 29-2
vote, with only Senator Mike Parson joining Silvey in calling for
absolute exclusion of the Common Core initiative.
supporters of the current bill hold very different opinions regarding
educational purposes and instructional practices, they share one common
philosophy. Missouri educational standards should be homegrown,
developed by Missouri educational leaders for Missouri students.
There is broad disdain for the arbitrary manner in which Common Core
standards were established in Missouri.
The State Board of
Education voted in 2009 to implement the Common Core initiative in
Missouri. The decision by the Board followed unilateral action by Governor Jay Nixon
to enlist Missouri in the Common Core national consortium. The Common Core
standards were pioneered by the National Governors Association in
concert with the Council of Chief State School Officers. Critics
have railed against the competency and credibility of private parties
who have formulated the academic performance benchmarks.
provision in the bill which has been little discussed would further
restrict the powers of state education authorities. It would
prohibit either the State Board of Education or the Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education from "mandating the curriculum,
textbooks, or other instructional materials to be used in public
schools." Local school boards would have the exclusive authority
to determine the curriculum to be used by their respective school
Senator Emery says the struggle over Common Core is really a debate
about educational freedom. "Our children are individuals, not just
members of a group or data set. Under Common Core, we are all
going to be alike with one set of textbooks, one publisher, one testing
agency, and eventually one curriculum."
"Public education should
have purpose and promote purpose, not just create products and
robots. Common Core will tell a generation of Americans what to
think, not teach them how to think for themselves," Senator Emery
You can let your state senator and state representative know your views
concerning the Common Core debate by using the links below.
Your state representative can be contacted using this link:Your State Representative
Your state senator can be contacted using this link:Your State Senator