Common Core bills impact many other programs

Author: Kristy

THIS week a Senate committee advanced an anti-Common Core bill. Here’s an indication of how bad the hysteria has become: To repeal those academic standards, state lawmakers came close to banning the Future Farmers of America from Oklahoma schools.

Proposed anti-Common Core legislation initially required the State Board of Education to “maintain the independence of all subject matter standards and student assessments in the state by rejecting any efforts to have Oklahoma’s standards subject to federal, national or standardized controls …” As drafted, such language appeared to broadly ban the use of all national standards and assessments in public schools.

This prompted Robert Sommers, director of the Department of Career and Technology Education, to warn legislators such a ban “would encompass a full range of CareerTech programs including STEM programs, Agricultural Education/FFA, and several other similarly situated programs with standards, assessments, and curriculum.”

Other proposed statutory language would specifically prohibit any state agency or board from entering into any agreement that cedes or limits state discretion or control over development, adoption or revision of standards and assessments in the public school system. In the abstract, few would disagree with that sentiment.

But Sommers warned that provision would likely “eliminate” FFA participation because FFA “is a federal program as defined in Public Law” and federal law “specifically identifies the leadership of the FFA as individuals employed by the United States Department of Education. Significant standards, assessments, and in some cases curriculum are dictated from the National FFA Organization.”

Sommers warned the same provision “also clearly negates any options for using national assessments such as ACT.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. State Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson warned those provisions could “prohibit the use of testing instruments such as ACT’s PLAN and EXPLORE and perhaps, in the future, Aspire; use of College Board’s equivalents, such as Advance Placement (AP) classes and examinations; or other nationally standardized assessment instruments.”

Posted in In The Industry |

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