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Archive for Saturday, June 1, 2013

Effort to block new education standards fails in House

June 1, 2013

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— An effort to give the Kansas Legislature more control over educational standards in public schools failed to pass the Kansas House on Saturday, but some officials say the issue may come up again before lawmakers adjourn.

The bill would have blocked the Kansas State Board of Education from adopting the proposed Next Generation Science Standards, which are expected to come up for a board vote June 11.

It also would have established a legislative oversight committee to investigate those science standards, as well as the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and math, and to make recommendations next year about whether those standards should be allowed to go forward.

"I'm very pleased with the way the vote ended up tonight," Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said after the House vote. "I think it was clear that there are some representatives who think that this authority to set standards clearly lies with the State Board of Education."

DeBacker confirmed that several state board members had already been talking about filing a lawsuit to challenge the bill on constitutional grounds if it had become law.

The bill's failure to win House approval was surprising to some because conservatives in the House were the ones who had insisted it be given a vote, as a condition for them voting in favor of a budget bill. They also insisted that it pass the Senate first.

The Senate passed the bill, 24-12, earlier in the evening. But when it reached the House, it failed, 55-58.

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican, had said the Common Core standards represent, "a dramatic centralization of authority" over public education.

But opponents of the bill said the standards are supported by the vast majority of educators, as well as business leaders across the country.

Sen. Marci Francisco, a Lawrence Democrat, tries to amend a bill that would block implementation of the Common Core standards in Kansas. The bill was carried by Senate Education Committee chairman Steve Abrams, right, an Arkansas City Republican.

Sen. Marci Francisco, a Lawrence Democrat, tries to amend a bill that would block implementation of the Common Core standards in Kansas. The bill was carried by Senate Education Committee chairman Steve Abrams, right, an Arkansas City Republican.

But others argued that Common Core had nothing to do with the federal government and that much of the criticisms of the standards were based on false information.

"This is another example of why Kansas has become the laughing stock of the nation," said Senate Democratic leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka.

The bill would have provided that: "No school district, nor the department of education nor the state board of education shall expend any moneys to institute the common core standards, the next generation science standards or any other uniform educational standards for grades kindergarten through 12, or any portion of such standards, including any assessments affiliated with such standards, that were not adopted by the state board of education prior to the first day of the 2013 legislative session."

It also would have set up a legislative oversight committee to review the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards and make recommendations to the 2014 Legislature about whether they conform to the "educational values" of the state and whether they should be continued.

Sen. Marci Francisco, a Lawrence Democrat, succeeded in getting an amendment added to clarify that "uniform educational standards" means standards adopted in two or more states. Otherwise, she said, it also would have prevented the state from implementing the new social studies standards that were adopted in April.

The bill raised constitutional issues because Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution says the state board is given authority over "general supervision of public schools, educational institutions and all the educational interests of the state."

But supporters of the bill argued that the Constitution also gives the Legislature authority to fund public schools. They said there were legitimate concerns about the cost of designing new assessments for those standards and preparing teachers to integrate them into classroom instruction.

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  • Comments

    Michael Rowland 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    Maybe they were thinking "Not everyone can be a scientist or a doctor. Burgers don't flip themselves!"

    5

    Glenn Reed 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    I've been away from the world for too long, didn't realize the education standards recommended by Common Core or the Next Generation Science Standards was cause for any serious, policy forming debate.

    It seems to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the big emotion-filled critique of these standards is the same tired "states rights vs. federal control" argument.

    Or, as others have so eloquently stated, encroaching communism. Fear and more fear without confirmation of what's to be feared.

    Unless the state was to enter into an agreement with the federal government, even adopting all of the standards from both sets of guidelines does nothing to threaten whatever autonomy the state has.

    There's nothing keeping the states from adopting pieces and parts of common core and next gen science, either. If a state wanted to adopt Kindergarten through grade 8 science standards, and draft their own for grades 9-12, they can.

    A set of standards doesn't equal a curriculum, either.

    Reading through the standards myself, I just can't see what's got everyone so riled up. I spent a bit of time looking at both www.corestandards.org and www.nextgenscience.org/ and I've found nothing, literally nothing at all, to justify the fear of loss of freedom.

    4

    Ray Parker 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    It is so laughable to think that gullible hicks living in Kansas might be intelligent enough to run their own public schools and set curricula and standards for their own children.

    Indoctrination and change

    Indoctrination and change by parkay

    0

    Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    We Kansans suffer the presence of those among us who would have loudly supported the creation of the Third Reich. Those throwbacks who hide behind the laughable lable of "conservative" in the mold of the closet facist Rush Lombaugh. They seek to have their "conservative" ideas included in the school planning that support their extremist political views and further create a facist state in our state.It is good that this bill has been defeated, but the forces that are behind this sort of political suicide remain. We will have them with us, the present Republican majority in every niche of Kansas politics will continue to move Kansas boldlly into the 18th century.

    5

    IreneAdler84 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    " a legislative oversight committee to review the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards and make recommendations to the 2014 Legislature about whether they conform to the "educational values" of the state and whether they should be continued"". Great. let's put flat earthers and creationists in charge of reviewing science standards.

    3

    tomatogrower 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    Now they will try and target the elected Kansas Board of Education members. Of course, that's the route they used to get their foot in the door of state governments all across the country. Fortunately, the people of Kansas were so embarrassed by the anti-science proposals of the Religious Right, that they voted those people out, but now I'm not so sure. Their effective strategy of targeting reasonable non radicals in the primaries works quite well.

    We need to pony up and join the Republican party and go out and vote in the primaries. I know I prefer to be independent, but I think it's the only way to help the moderate Republicans take back their party, and restore the responsible sanity to Kansas. Who's with me? I'm serious about this. Don't let them use this strategy again. Go and reregister as a Republican, but more importantly tell your friends in Johnson county and other Republican strongholds. Take back the Republican party. Let's use the system they have created to oppose them.

    4

    yourworstnightmare 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    55-58 is no reason to celebrate. They will be back at it as soon as they can, and wil do some major arm twisting to gather the votes. I am not even sure that common core opponents know why they are against it, other than it has been wrongly called a federal measure and they hate all things federal because Obama is now at the helm.

    6

    toe 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    A communist core is not a good idea.

    2

    oldexbeat 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    Word on the street is that some Kansas state senators will move to make science illegal in Kansas. Avoids the whole issue of thinking. Of course, since gravity is just a theory, like evolution (the Senators don't really know what 'theory' means, but), there will no gravity in Kansas, allowing easier farming. Going to be a fun sight seeing all those tea pots flying around. (No wait, flying won't be possible without science.) Never mind.

    6

    somebodynew 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    "DeBacker confirmed that several state board members had already been talking about filing a lawsuit to challenge the bill on constitutional grounds if it had become law."

    Now why did you have to go and say that out loud ? You know these idiots will go ahead next session (or as soon as they can) and pass something like this. You just told them it would be unconstitutional and a lawsuit would be filed. That is like a carrot on a stick for this group. They will do it now just Because. Passing unconstitutional laws has not slowed them down so far.

    Besides, it will spur the economy to pay outside lawyers (friends) tons of dollars to defend their stupidity.

    4

    question4u 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    Did someone start a rumor in the House that conspiracy theorists who wanted to reject the Common Core were actually secret agents of the federal government? Or did representatives have second thoughts when they saw Pete DeGraaf twitching and foaming at the mouth?

    2

    Maracas 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    And some people wonder why we are the laughingstock of the nation when it comes to education and especially science.

    8

    Bill Thompson 10 months, 2 weeks ago

    Surprisingly, common sense prevailed for a change...

    10

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