House committee lifts ban on Common Core

The state House passed a resolution Thursday to lift the ban on implementing the Common Core State Standards, allowing the standards to go forward pending final approval from the Senate.

When the Legislature passed the Department of Education budget this summer, it inserted a ban on funding Common Core implementation — despite three years of preparation by teachers and school administrators.

The House established a special subcommittee to further examine Common Core. That subcommittee’s chairman, state Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, urged the House Education Committee on Thursday morning to lift the ban.

Kelly said his subcommittee held more than 17 hours of testimony, and spent “an awful amount of time and an awful amount of effort getting to this point.”

“It is my considered opinion that we move forward with Common Core and lift the pause,” Kelly said.

The House Education Committee voted on Thursday morning to support the resolution by an 11-5 margin, while the full House approved it later in the day by an 85-21 tally.

“Representatives from both sides of the aisle worked together for our number one priority: our children,” said state Rep. Theresa Abed, D-Grand Ledge.

The state would face the following consequences for failing to implement Common Core:

  • Michigan will lose its flexibility waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, immediately making every school in Michigan accountable for having 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading.
  • Not a single public school will qualify as making AYP, resulting in NCLB sanctions like providing students with choice and transportation to other school districts, costly tutoring services, and much more.
  • Local districts will once again have to change learning standards for teachers and students, and will be forced to base teacher evaluations on the old MEAP and Michigan Merit Exam.
  • School districts will lose untold amounts of federal Title I funds that would have otherwise gone to help underprivileged students.

The Common Core State Standards have strong support from educators, as more than 75 percent of National Education Association members either support the standards wholeheartedly or with some reservations, according to a poll released earlier this month by the NEA.