The package of legislation, including bills authored by State Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-199, and State Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-89, seeks to prevent Pennsylvania’s schools from being forced to align curricula and assessment to unproven nationally-developed Common Core Standards which were never approved by full vetting and vote of the General Assembly.
In May, Gov. Tom Corbett decided to postpone seeking final legislative and regulatory approval for new education standards. This does not rule out the possibility of implementation in time for the 2013-14 school year.
“This issue is about educational freedom for the people of Pennsylvania,” said Kauffman, sponsor of House Bill 1553. “It is critical that we strive to meet the unique needs of Pennsylvania’s students in all aspects of education. This package of legislation aims to place the educational success of Pennsylvania’s young people ahead of the whims of the federal government.”
Bloom, author of House Bill 1552, said the “top-down” approach the federal government is pushing on Pennsylvania’s children and their teachers is contrary to our Constitutional freedoms.
“One of my deepest concerns about the imposition of Common Core is that private, religious and homeschool educators might be forced into adopting government-dictated curricula and assessments that violate their academic freedom and rights of conscience,” Bloom said. “While state officials have promised that Common Core won’t apply to these alternative educational settings, my bill is designed to back up that promise with enforceable statutory language.”
The individual bills, which are in the process of accumulating co-sponsors, are as follows:
• House Bill 1551 prevents further implementation of Common Core in Pennsylvania 60 days after being signed into law.
• House Bill 1552 exempts private, religious and home schools from Common Core standards.
• House Bill 1553 prohibits the Pennsylvania Department of Education from imposing a national standardized assessment on any student in the Commonwealth.
• House Bill 1554 prohibits transfer of individual student data to the federal government.
• House Bill 1555 creates an advisory committee to conduct a study of Common Core standards prior to any implementation.
The legislation is another example that republican concerns are beginning to go beyond federal control concerns as Bloom and Kaufman’s prohibit” imposing and national standardization assessment (PARCC)” and “transfer of student data to the federal government (data mining).”
As republican opposition to the Common Core package becomes more protracted and widespread, the reputation of Jeb Bush as a trusted education reformer among conservatives is damaged. Will it be in the end that his strategy to create a power vacuum driven solely by state education heads (Chiefs for Change) and republican governors was flawed?