OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A legislative attempt to derail a set of education standards in math and English known as Common Core was thwarted Wednesday, but Republican leaders in the Senate have agreed to grant a hearing to a repeal measure approved in the House.
A plan to repeal the standards was unveiled this week by Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, who voiced concern there are too many unknowns about the new standards, including the potential costs associated with curriculum and testing.
Oklahoma is among 45 states that have adopted the standards, which include basic requirements for students in math and English, but there has been growing opposition to them, especially among some conservative House members.
Brecheen said he shelved his amendment after Senate leaders agreed to grant a committee hearing to a Common Core repeal bill that was passed in the House late Wednesday.
“This is a tough issue that is of utmost importance to Oklahoma’s parents and future of their children,” Brecheen said.
Adopted in Oklahoma in 2010, the standards are part of an initiative of the National Governor’s Association, which is currently chaired by Gov. Mary Fallin, a strong supporter of Common Core. But there has been growing concern, especially among grassroots conservatives, that the standards represent a federal takeover of state education.
Fallin tried to placate those concerns in December by signing an executive order stating Oklahoma will be responsible for deciding how to implement the standards, but opposition continues to mount.
The state committee of the Oklahoma Republican Party passed a resolution in January opposing the standards and urging the Legislature to delay or repeal them.
Sen. John Ford, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a Common Core supporter, said Wednesday he agreed to grant a hearing to a Common Core repeal bill.
“That’s what I gave my assurance I would do,” said Ford, R-Bartlesville. “A lot of people have very strong opinions about this.”
The Oklahoma Academic Standards, which are aligned with Common Core standards in English and mathematics, will be reflected in tests administered to students next year, and more than 60 percent of the school districts in the state already have aligned curriculum with the new standards, said Phil Bacharach, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Education.
“These were standards that were thoroughly and exhaustively reviewed by Oklahomans and for Oklahomans,” Bacharach said. “We think it’s important to increase rigor and raise expectations for our students. We think higher expectations result in greater success.”