Academic Standards On Hold

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

With bipartisan support, in 2010 governors across the country organized national academic standards known as Common Core. At least 44 states adopted them.

"The business community and others are trying to make sure that we have kids that are ready for the jobs of the future and be prepared for a global economy," said Rep. Sam Singh a democrat from East Lansing.

While Governor Snyder supports the standards, but about a month ago support in the legislature dropped.

"Some people have raised a concern about having a centralized standard across the United States and being too much of a one size fits all approach, Speaker Bolger has heard those concerns and thought the most prudent thing to do at this point was press that pause button," said Ari Adler the Spokesman for House Speaker Bolger.

"Unfortunately what this does is it ties the hands of the Department of Education and our local school districts. They have been working on this for the last three years," said Singh.

The republican controlled legislature decided the Michigan Department of Education can not spend any federal or state money to implement the Common Core standards, unless at some future point the legislature authorizes them.

"Those who are sounding alarm bells about how this is a problem for the local schools, it's not a problem today and it won't be for quite a while yet," said Adler.

However school district administrators see it as a big problem.

"We need to be able to do things based in a global economy. This legislation is a giant step backwards in trying to accomplish that goal," said Brad Biladeau of the Michigan Association of School Administrators. "These standards for us are about all students regardless of where they live being judged by the same set of expectations so that a student in East Lansing is judged by the same way as a student in Detroit, or that a student in Lansing is as college ready as a student in Grand Rapids."

Democrats say the Common Core standards do not eliminate local control over schools.

"Local control will remain. Local communities will have the ability to develop their own curriculum and if they want to exceed standards they can very easily do that. This in some instances creates the floor of where we want our young people to be at," said Singh.

Michigan isn't the only state having second thoughts, eight other states are now reviewing Common Core.

The new budget doesn't take effect until October 1. Democrats are hoping to hold hearings during the summer and fall to educate people about the importance of the common standards.


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