Bill Could Make Big Changes to Common Core Standards

The South Carolina Senate has passed a bill that might eventually get rid of the controversial Common Core Standards in the state.

Common Core is a set of standards developed by the states, and adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia, aimed at making sure students across the nation are learning basically the same things at the same time. The standards do not set the curriculum—how those standards are actually taught—that's left to the states, local districts, and teachers.

But critics say the states are giving up too much control by adopting the standards, and that some of the standards are lower than previous ones.

The standards in math and English are already being implemented in South Carolina. The state was already planning to review the standards in two years, but the Senate bill would move up that review to next year.

Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley County, sponsor of the change, says, "We've required the Department of Education and Education Oversight Committee, with the input from our teachers, to develop new standards within the next year, and then the following school year is when they would be implemented. So we're maintaining the status quo for one more year in the classroom. Then the following year we'll be implementing the new standards written by South Carolinians for South Carolina children."

Not so fast, says Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg. "I think it's much ado about nothing if people are trying to tell you that we've repealed Common Core. That has not happened. This bill goes nowhere near that. It just moves a review that was scheduled for two years from now up till next year," he says.

When that review takes place, there's no guarantee that the Common Core Standards will be repealed or changed in any way, he says.

But Sen. Grooms says his bill would also require the state House and Senate to approve all statewide standards, so even if the review committee were to keep the Common Core Standards, lawmakers might not approve them.

Senators must still give the bill a third and final reading. If they pass it, it would go back to the House, which would have to go along. If House members also approve the bill, it would then go to Gov. Nikki Haley's desk.


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