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New legislation could erase Common Core standards

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Zach McAuliffe
Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

As more and more states begin to reject and propose bills against Common Core standards, new legislation has been released which could cause an end to the controversial education system.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is the new chairman of the Senate’s education committee, and he has released two options to replace the education system. One replacement plan would have standardized requirements for math and reading between grades 3-8, while the other option offers states the choice to test annually or every three years to see how they are performing.

The second option, according to the Times-Picayune, would allow each state to choose which standardized test to administer to their students. Whether or not the state chooses to move forward with the Common Core standards would therefore be left up to the state.

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Alexander also took time on Tuesday, while speaking on the House floor, to say he believes President Obama’s Education Department has overstepped its authority. He said he thinks the Education Department should not hold each state to a specific set of standards, but should allow each state to set their own standards. “The department has become, in effect, a national school board,” said Alexander.

While many believe a new proposed education bill is likely to succeed now that Republicans have control of Congress, not everyone is totally convinced it is the right choice.

Andrew Rotherham, one of the founders of the education consultancy Bellwether Education Partners, has said, according to the Washington Post, the point of Common Core was to make sure all children across state-lines were getting an equal opportunity to learn and achieve.

“This is basically a way,” says Rotherham on the legislation, “to make sure we don’t have a common definition. Some kids are going to get a really challenging and ambitious set of standards, and other kids are going to fall through the cracks.”

Tom Loveless, a scholar with the Brookings Institution, found students in states which have a more rigorous academic curriculum do not necessarily perform any better on standardize tests than their peers. Loveless argues the changes should not be made at the state level, rather individual school systems within the state need to be changed.

A study published by the Brookings Institution found, “students from wealthier families score significantly higher on [standardized tests] than students from poorer families,” within the same state.

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a member of the Senate Education Committee, agrees with Alexander in saying changes are needed in the education system, but says annual testing is needed to make sure schools are meeting some sort of standard.

“We know if we don’t have ways to measure students’ progress, and if we don’t hold our states accountable, the victims will invariably be the kids from poor neighborhoods, children of color and students with disabilities,” said Murray. “These are the students who too often fall through the cracks, and that is not fair…This is a civil rights issue, plain and simple.”

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