State Rep. Andy Thompson likes standards. He likes standardized testing. What he doesn’t like are standards that aren’t primarily Ohio-made, specifically the Common Core State Standards.
The Common Core is a set of expectations for what students should know and be able to do in math and English at each grade level that has been adopted by Ohio and 44 other states.
Thompson, a Republican from Marietta, is the sponsor of a bill that would pull Ohio out of the Common Core. The bill would also bar Ohio from using Common Core-aligned standardized tests.
At a House Education Committee hearing on the bill yesterday, much of his testimony focused on the process of developing those standards.
He doesn’t like that the process wasn’t overseen directly or run primarily by Ohio people. And he doesn’t like that few non-educators were even aware of the process of writing new standards.
Even as schools nationally teach to the Common Core, almost two-thirds of Americans have never heard of the Common Core, according to national Phi Delta Kappa / Gallup poll released in August.
“This is an Ohio concern,” Thompson said yesterday.
Instead of using the Common Core, Thompson would instead have Ohio educators and experts write a completely new set of standards just for Ohio–though modeled in part on standards from other states.
Thompson estimated that process would take about 6 months. House Education Committee Chair Gerald Stebelton put the process at closer to 3-5 years. The Common Core took about 2 years to write.
Thompson told the House Education Committee yesterday he did not have an estimate of how much the work of developing new standards would cost or what the financial consequences would be for schools that already spent money to begin teaching to the Common Core.
Yesterday was the first hearing for Thompson’s anti-Common Core bill.
Hous Education Committee Chair Gerald Stebelton, a Republican from Lancaster, does not support the bill and declined to say whether there would be additional hearings on it.
More than a hundred audience members, many of whom wore anti-Common Core stickers or carried anti-Common Core signs, attended yesterday’s hearing.
Terri Cline, whose children attend the North Union schools in central Ohio, attended the hearing and supports the anti-Common bill. She said she only found out about the Common Core this year, after her son’s teacher sent a letter home.
She says she would have wanted to know earlier.
“Obviously there’s something with it that they’re not letting people know about it,” she said.
But the Ohio Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union opposes the anti-Common Core bill. So does the Ohio Business Roundtable. And a consortia of dozens of education groups, including the Ohio PTA, the state school boards association and the Ohio Department of Education, are part of a coalition working to make sure the Common Core happens in Ohio.
Stebelton said he did not believe there is significant support for the bill on the Education Committee.
“I don’t think it’ll have legs,” he said. “If it does, they’ll be very short legs.”
But Stebelton said separate bills that would set limits on sharing data about individual students data would likely receive hearings.
Join WVIZ/PBS ideastream Education on Monday, Oct. 14 from 9-10:30 a.m. for An Uncommon View of the Common Core, a panel discussion of what you might not know–but need to know–about the Common Core. Register here.
Panelists include State Rep. Andy Thompson; Ohio Education Association President Becky Higgins; Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper; Ohio Schools Council Director Bill Zelei; and Kirtland Local Schools Superintendent Steve Barrett. Follow the discussion on Twitter under the hashtag #ccssoh.