Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Efforts continue at blocking Common Core in Kansas

May 30, 2013


TOPEKA - Some conservatives in the Kansas Legislature are still hopeful of finding a way to block public schools from implementing the new Common Core standards for English language arts and math, a move that state and local education leaders argue would be costly and disruptive to school districts across the state.

Although bills introduced earlier in the session to block Common Core failed to advance out of committee in either chamber, some conservatives still hold out hope of using the issue as leverage in last-minute negotiations to pass a tax package and budget bill that would allow lawmakers to end the 2013 session.

The renewed push in Kansas comes at the same time Tea Party-backed groups are making similar efforts in other state capitols around the country.

One of those still holding out hope of blocking the new standards is Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Republican from Mulvane.

"I've gotten so many emails from constituents and people across the state that have looked into it much better than I have," DeGraaf said Thursday. "But any time we move to a federalized program, I don't know anything the federal government does well en masse."

The Common Core standards, however, are not a federal program. They are academic standards developed by states through a project that was launched by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The Kansas State Board of Education adopted them as the official English language arts and math standards for Kansas in October 2010, renaming them the Kansas College and Career Ready standards. Teachers are already using them in classrooms in Lawrence and throughout the state.

"Our elementary teachers really used this year to gear up and to really start to make the transition to use the more rigorous standards," said Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll. "Our elementary teachers are implementing the more rigorous standards now. Middle schools and high schools are also in that process, but might not be quite as far advanced."

Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said other school districts are in the same situation.

"The word 'implement' is tricky because all schools in Kansas are far, far beyond implementation," DeBacker said. "Worst case scenario, we would have either no standards or have to revert to the retired standards of 2003. Either case would be burdensome and costly to schools."

Both DeBacker and Doll said any attempt by the Legislature to block the new standards would raise legal questions because the Kansas Constitution gives the State Board of Education authority over supervising public schools.

Sen. Steve Abrams, an Arkansas City Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said there continue to be talks about finding a way to block the Common Core standards, but he could not say how such a deal would be arranged.

"I don't care for the Common Core. I think it's a mistake for the state of Kansas to do that," Abrams said.


Pr0digy 10 months, 3 weeks ago

We don't need no education We dont need no thought control No dark sarcasm in the classroom Teachers leave them kids alone Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone! All in all it's just another brick in the wall. All in all you're just another brick in the wall.


kuguardgrl13 10 months, 3 weeks ago

People are already saying that Common Core isn't effective? How do you know? We don't have a fresh class of Kindergarteners to look at yet. This is still a transition period between the old and the new. The same thing was going on with NCLB when I was in school. Unfortunately it was a bad system with no real standards. So I'm reserving judgment on Common Core until it's fully implemented and we have fresh students who weren't under the old system.


Lynn Grant 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Seeing the paranoia of people these days, fueled by the tea party, yes I can see thousands of people working to defund Common Core even if it is good for their kids. Anything remotely connected to the federal government is considered bad for that reason alone. By all means Kansas should lessen the effectiveness of its schools because of the few others states who are also considering that step. I assume Texas is one of them.


Miriamne 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you, Optimist! There are indeed concerns about Common Core! It appears that Peter Hancock and many of the other commentators here did not do their homework! First of all, parents are extremely concerned because the standards so far are NOT working for their children. How silly to say they don't want standards! Of course they do! But standards that work! These standards are NOT working! Moms and Dads are seeing that their children are NOT learning and they are afraid for them! If you didn't like No Child Left Behind, you will not like Common Core! It is worse! Never been tested even! Don't believe ME, check it out! Also, Mr Hancock is wrong about the program originating in the states. Not so. It came directly from the feds in the form of financial incentives to the governors. An untried program! Do we smell a rat here? FIVE states rejected Common Core right off. SEVENTEEN other states have rejected it since or are in the process. People, go online and find out what this program actually does. Would hundreds of thousands of people work to de-fund Common Core if they thought it was good for their kids? Really?


voevoda 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Let the State Board of Education and local school districts and teachers decide what curriculum to use. They are the ones who have the knowledge and experience to make good decisions. The State Legislature does not. It can't even complete its own business, so why is it trying to usurp the authority to make decisions that properly and legally lie with others?


Kathleen Ammel 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Why do they keep promoting the lie that Common Core was a state-led initiative? Common Core was mainly created by Achieve, Inc, which is a non-profit corp, and then funded by Gates Foundation. I assume that when they realized they needed to make it at least look like it came from the states (due to federal law), they asked the National Governors Association (a trade association) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (another trade association) for input. Neither of these groups had any authority from any state to write the standards. The states are 'allowed input' on about 15% of the standards. Wow! They get to voice their opinions.
As usual, the federal gov bribed the states to accept the standards by attaching federal monies to it with Race to the Top. Money and the race to get away from the equally horrible NCLB makes for bad decision motivators. Do some more research:


midwest_muser 10 months, 3 weeks ago

There are numerous states that are blocking or dumping Common Core, in addition to the states that never bought in. Not all of them are red sates. Just because law makers take a course of action doesn't mean that it's a partisan issue or a reason to launch into the typical hate. Increasingly, Common Core is being viewed as a boondoggle. Maybe those in Topeka are just doing their jobs.


optimist 10 months, 3 weeks ago

There are true concerns about common corp. Simply having "standards" in education does not a quality education make. I encourage reading the testimony of Dr. James Milgram regarding Common Core. Dr. Milgram was a member of the Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the standards because they failed to achieve the intended goal and to some degree because of the politicization of the "standards".

“Dr. R. James Milgram, professor of mathematics at Stanford University, received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has given lectures around the world and has been a member of numerous boards and committees, including the National Board of Education Sciences, a body created by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 “to advise and consult with the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) on agency policies.”
Dr. Milgram is the author of "An Evaluation of CMP," "A Preliminary Analysis of SAT-I Mathematics Data for IMP Schools in California," and "Outcomes Analysis for Core Plus Students at Andover High School: One Year Later." This latter paper is based on a statistical survey undertaken by Gregory Bachelis, professor of mathematics at Wayne State University. Each of these papers identifies serious shortcomings in the mathematics programs: CMP, Core-Plus, and IMP.”


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Reactionary obstructionism has become the sole motivator for the New Republican Party.


usesomesense 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm a bit confused - aren't these the same people that wanted public schools to fail so they could get vouchers to subsidize their own kid's/grandkid's private school education, while the masses get stuck with whatever's left?


question4u 10 months, 3 weeks ago

China is now investing $250 billion a year in higher education. U.S. states on average cut funding of higher education by 28% over the past 5 years. Now the anti-education Tea party wants to put the United States even further behind by rejecting standards designed (by states, not the federal government) to better prepare students for college.

But it's OK. We don't really need an educated citizenry. There's no reason why the U.S. has to be a world leader in science and the development of technology. After all, the U.S. is no longer the world leader in manufacturing. We've done very well by shifting from manufacturing to technology development, and no doubt we can do equally well if the U.S. economy shifts from developing technologies to providing services. Service jobs require less education, so it will be a win-win situation. Let the EEC, China, Brazil, and India invest in education and take the high-tech jobs. We'll take the service work.

That will also be helpful because as China produces more and better-trained scientists and engineers the Chinese will naturally take over world leadership militarily. We'll be even more prosperous because we'll be able to reduce funding of the military. Since the Chinese military will be technologically superior, it just makes sense to leave world military influence to the Chinese.

The more you look at this Tea Party mentality, the more sense it makes. Why should we pay to keep the United States at the forefront of science and technology? Why should we pay to keep the U.S. military technologically superior? Let other countries dominate the international market in information and technologies; and let other countries lead the world militarily. Maybe the Tea Party is right. We should just let the United States decline and we'll all be happier and more prosperous. Let the Tea Part motto of "I hate the United States" be the guide to a better future for all.


Keith 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"The Common Core standards, however, are not a federal program. They are academic standards developed by states through a project that was launched by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers."

Now now, don't be confusing the already confused with facts, it upsets their tiny little minds.


somebodynew 10 months, 3 weeks ago

It just amazes me how stupid these people can be- and continue to be. They can't even understand (or refuse to) the real origins of things. Some tea-party ultra said this is big Gov't so therefore it is, even though it was designed by Governors.


oldexbeat 10 months, 3 weeks ago

And I don't care for S Abrams. I think it's a mistake for the state of Kansas to listen to him.

Wow. Kansas (Brownbackistan) Senator doesn't like a list of math and English goals? I would pay a dollar per item if he would list what he doesn't care for. I believe he doesn't have a clue what he is saying. ALEC Koch Brothers LLC has paid good money no doubt for his care.


Bill Thompson 10 months, 3 weeks ago

I see stupid people all around me in Topeka...


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