Oklahoma, South Carolina Governors Reject Common Core

Oklahoma has opted to drop the Common Core education standards, joining South Carolina in rejecting the widely adopted education curriculum.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill last week that scrapped Common Core, while Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin did likewise Thursday.

Formerly a supporter of Common Core, Fallin said in a statement that there were too many concerns leveled by multiple parties about the program.

"We cannot ignore the widespread concern of citizens, parents, educators and legislators who have expressed fear that adopting Common Core gives up local control of Oklahoma's public schools," said Fallin.

Common Core traces its roots to an effort by the National Governors Association to create new education standards, as well as adopting components from former President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind law.

From 2010 to 2011 the standards were widely accepted, with 45 states and the District of Columbia adopting Common Core for their public schools.

In addition to widespread state-level acceptance, Common Core was also endorsed by the National Education Association.

"The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that young people need for success in college and careers," stated the NEA on its website.

"NEA believes that this work on Common Standards has the potential to provide teachers with more manageable curriculum goals. Their broadness allows teachers to exercise professional judgment in planning instruction that promotes student success."

However, since their adoption, many groups have had concerns regarding some of the materials adopted to comply with the standards and some of the testing and teaching methods which have followed the standards.

"Many are upset with the way the Core was written and implemented as well as aligned tests have been designed and administered," wrote Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post.

"Others say the standards for young children are developmentally inappropriate. The far right-wing has taken a position that the Core amounts to a federal takeover."

Emmett McGroarty, director of Education at the anti-Common Core group the American Principles Project, hailed South Carolina's move away from the standards.

"This is a great day for America's constitutional heritage," said McGroarty in a statement released Thursday.

"Governor Haley and the legislature have taken the first step toward pushing back against the federal government and special interests and putting South Carolinian citizens back in charge of their children's education."

Both South Carolina and Oklahoma were preceded by Indiana, which dropped Common Core back in March. Some opponents of Common Core, however, have argued that Indiana has only changed the name, not the substance, of its education standards. 

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