Common Core repeal bills stalled in House Education Committee

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Common Core repeal bills stalled in House Education Committee
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

With just more than three weeks left in the 2016 Regular Legislative Session, several bills introduced to cut ties between West Virginia’s educational standards and Common Core standards remain pending in the House Education Committee.

“While the state Board and others claim that these (Common Core) standards are better, that’s absolutely false. They’re worse because they’re too complex,” said Delegate Jim Butler (R-Mason, 14) who is the lead sponsor of one version of the Common Core repeal bill, HB 4014.

In general, Butler’s bill would keep the state Board of Education from implementing Common Core academic standards and assessments.

As proposed, West Virginia would return to the 2010 standards that were in place prior to Common Core for a period of one year until a select committee develops new standards.

“We’ve had three different standards in the last three years,” noted Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association during a Wednesday appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” which originated from the State Capitol.

Of going forward with developing any new standards, he asked, “Do you believe that politicians know more about the curriculum and the standards than the teachers do?”

Last week, a Common Core repeal bill was taken off the House Education Committee’s meeting agenda and, as of early Wednesday afternoon, it had not yet made a reappearance.

“The item was removed from the agenda to provide an opportunity to discuss the legislation in our respective caucuses,” Delegate Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson, 66), chair of House Education, said at that time.

In general, the Common Core academic standards in math and English outline what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade.

During the 2015 Regular Legislative Session, the House voted to repeal the Common Core standards but the Senate did not agree.

After several months of gathering public comments, the state Board of Education later replaced the Common Core standards with the reworked West Virginia College and Career Readiness Standards in attempt to address Common Core critics.

“That whole process, actually to put in plain terms, was a joke,” Butler claimed. “They came back with exactly the same standards, in many cases, of what we had before and they called it a ‘repeal.’ Really what it was was a rebranding.”

Any bill that’s likely to come out of the House Education Committee in the coming days or weeks will be a compromise, Butler predicted.

“It’s hard to compromise on an issue like this because, the farther we go down the road, the more years we spend going down the Common Core road, the more expensive and the more difficult it becomes to turn around,” he said.

The 2016 Regular Legislative Session ends on Saturday, March 12.