Governor Signs Bill to Repeal Common Core

Gov. Mary Fallin

Governor Mary Fallin has signed a bill into law that will replace Common Core Standards and replace them with a set of standards developed by the state.

HB 3399 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers, 71-18 in the House and 31-10 in the Senate.

Fallin signed the bill today.

"We are capable of developing our own Oklahoma academic standards that will be better than Common Core," Fallin said in a news release. "Now is the time for Oklahomans - parents, citizens, educators, employers and elected officials - to unite behind the common goal of improving our schools. That begins with doing the hard work of building new, more rigorous Oklahoma standards."

The law requires the State Board of Education to create new standards by August 2016. The State Regents for Higher Education, the State Board of Career and Technology Education, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce will evaluate those standards.

Tulsa leaders had mixed reaction to the governor's decision.

Tulsa Superintendent Keith Ballard called Common Core a difficult issue for the state.

"People have had very strong public feelings on it, and that has to be taken into consideration," Ballard said in a statement. "It has been a very polarizing topic and there have been strong sentiments on both sides of the issue. I would encourage the governor and the secretary of education to start working on new state standards. We know our state needs higher educational standards."

Mike Neal, president and CEO, Tulsa Regional Chamber, said repealing Common Core is a "massive disappointment."

"Gov. Fallin and the Oklahoma Legislature have reneged on their promise to Oklahoma's students, bending to political hysteria at the expense of our children and the quality of our future workforce," Neal said.

"The unintended consequences of this bill are frightening. By endangering Oklahoma's exemption to No Child Left Behind, Oklahoma's schools could lose control of millions of dollars in federal funding and be subject to additional federal oversight. The bill also subjects our students' education to future political whims without input from parents or educators."

Broken Arrow Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall also said he was disappointed in the governor's decision.

"The very legislature that passed HB 3399 passed Common Core standards three years ago," Mendenhall said. "Since then, we have spent countless hours and dollars preparing for Common Core. And, yet again, the rules are changing just as the game is about to begin. This puts our students and teacher in a very difficult position."

Jenks Public School administrators released a statement saying ""Although we are disappointed with the consequences that HB 3399 is going to perpetrate on schools, we recognize this was a difficult decision for Governor Fallin. Jenks Public Schools will remain committed to the high standards our District and community expect for our students."

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi originally supported adopting Common Core, but said she no longer does.

"At one time, as it was emerging from Republican and conservative ideas from individual states, I did support Common Core," Barresi said in a statement. "As it has become entangled with federal government, however, Common Core has become too difficult and inflexible."

Barresi's office will be in charge of developing the new academic standards.

"The signing of House Bill 3399 marks an opportunity to move forward and work to ensure that Oklahoma has the strongest academic standards possible standards that reflect Oklahoma values and excellence," she said. "We must improve academic rigor."

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