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Senate rethinks Common Core repeal

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Senate rethinks Common Core repeal
By Ashton Marra, West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of the Senate Education Committee made major changes Monday to a bill that would repeal Common Core English and math standards in West Virginia. The bill no longer calls for a repeal, instead requires the West Virginia Department of Education study the standards for two years.

House Bill 2934, as approved by the House of Delegates, would have fully repealed the content standards by July 1, 2015. As it moved through the Senate, an Education subcommittee agreed to give the repeal an additional year, amending the date to July 1, 2016.

At the time, state Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano called the conversion a heavy lift that would cost the WVDE $113 million to implement. The Education Committee heard his plea Monday, removing the repeal language all together.

Instead, the bill requires Martirano to work with a comprehensive review committee, comprised of West Virginia parents, teachers, administrators, lawmakers and union officials, to conduct a complete review of the content standards to report to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2017.

During that process, the review committee will also recommend content standard revisions to the West Virginia Board of Education.

The amended bill also requires the superintendent to conduct four regional town-hall style meetings to hear from stakeholders across the state about the standards. It also discontinues the use of the Common Core aligned Smarter Balance Assessment after the 2016-2017 school year.

Gov. Tomblin said Monday he does not support a full repeal of the standards.