Bill would kill Common Core, state tests

No more end-of-course state tests.

No more state-enforced teacher- or principal evaluation systems.

No more Common Core.

That’s the meat of a bill introduced this week by Ohio Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, and Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville. The two are calling it the “Student and Teacher Liberty Act.” Basically, said Brinkman, it’s a step back in time to pre-2010, before Ohio adopted the Common Core standards.

“All the angst over this constant teaching to the test will disappear,” he said. “That’s what we want to return to. There’s not teaching to the test; there’s just teaching.”

Local control is a major issue in Cincinnati, where more than 40 area school districts banded together to fight state control in education. The Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network wants fewer edicts and more freedom.

But, said Tracey Carson, a spokeswoman for Mason City Schools and the GSAN, there are concerns about – again – starting over with new state standards. Perhaps it would be better to start smaller, Carson said. Get rid of the teacher and principal evaluation systems. Get rid of the end-of-course exams. But leave Common Core alone for now.

"We definitely appreciate the spirit of this legislation and applaud lawmakers' efforts to give back local control of our schools," Carson said. "But if Ohio just eliminates the current standards and devises new state standards with new state tests, we haven't solved the problem of state overreach."

Brinkman has been railing against Common Core for years, so this isn't exactly new territory. And previous iterations of similar bills have stalled in the House. This one won’t be different, said Greg Harris, an education policy wonk and the former director of StudentsFirst Ohio.

It’s been seven years since Ohio adopted Common Core, and no bill has killed it. Repeal efforts die one after the other. It’s time to move on, Harris said.

“We can’t keep continuing to give the teaching profession whiplash on all these initiatives,” he said.

But Brinkman says this bill is "an entirely different concept." He and Hood have been working on it for two years, and while he won't promise it will pass, he’s confident he can at least get it out of the House and on to the Senate.

He said House leaders are behind the bill, and they gave him a mission: Come up with something that scraps Common Core without risking federal funding.

“Get rid of it,” he said, “but make sure we do not lose a penny.”

That, he said, is what this bill will do.

Cincinnati Enquirer


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