House Vote Pushes Michigan Closer to Common Core

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

After a few final words from both sides of the issue, an 85-21 House vote pushed Michigan closer to Common Core.

For Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township), it was the vote he was looking for after 17 hours of discussion in subcommittee hearings over the summer.

"We've got a lot of concerns that I think we've addressed with this resolution that we're going to hold their feet to the fire," said Rep. Kelly.

That's what he told the House Education Committee, Thursday morning, when he presented House Concurrent Resolution 11 to its members. The committee responded with an 11-5 vote, which began to lift the pause on putting in place tougher English and Math standards into schools that will bring Michigan in line with the rest of the country.

Committee Chair Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto) says while she was initially weary of Common Core, she thinks it's the right move.

"I think we've worked with stakeholders on both sides of the issue to really narrow down what those true concerns are and address them," she said.

Those concerns included maintaining local control of curriculum and testing. Local Education Committee member Rep. Theresa Abed (D-Grand Ledge) says the option to go with tests other than 'Smarter Balanced' assessments, which is based on Common Core standards, pushed her to vote 'Yes' because testing determines curriculum.

"If the tests are saying we're going to test this, this and this, then that's what the students will learn," she said.

Rep. Kelly says local control won't be an issue with Common Core under his resolution.

"We're a local control state and I think we remain so under Common Core," he said.

The resolution next moves to the State Senate, where a vote could come as early as next week. If it passes, the Michigan Department of Education will have to come up with a report on implementation and cost by December 1.

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