Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), the head of one of the organizations that developed the Common Core State Standards, is now in the unique position of whether to repeal them in her state.
Houstyn Lehman 5, works on math work as she waits for her mother in the gallery of the State House of Representatives Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, George Walker IV )
“Gov. Fallin is carefully reviewing the language in HB 3399,” Fallin communications director Alex Weintz told TheBlaze in a statement Monday, referring to the Common Core repeal legislation that's passed both chambers of the Oklahoma state legislature. “She is taking several days to meet with parents and educators to discuss how the bill would affect Oklahoma children and Oklahoma schools.”
Fallin is the current chairwoman of the National Governors Association, which developed the K-12 math and English standards along with the Council of Chief State School Officers. Common Core, which was adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia, has seen significant efforts to curtail its reach.
Fallin, who was not the chairwoman when Common Core was developed in 2009, has until June 7 to make a decision for her state.
Indiana has taken the lead in doing away with Common Core, repealing the standards. Other state legislatures have either considered repeal or are examining the standards' implementation, such as New York, where a task force was appointed. Though it's up to individual states whether or not to adopt Common Core, the U.S. Education Department has tied its adoption to federal funding, which critics say makes it a de facto national curriculum.
Jenni White, president of Restore Oklahoma Public Education, an anti-Common Core parents group, said she has heard indications from legislators that Fallin will sign the bill.
“As chair of the national nonprofit that instituted Common Core, it is hard for her to back off in her state,” White told TheBlaze. “She is between a rock and a hard place being NGA chair. But she is taking tallies of the people calling her office. We are encouraged that she is listening to the people of Oklahoma and not just the NGA.”
Federal funding has been the key concern for opponents of the repeal legislation, according to the Daily Oklahoman, which said repeal could result in the state losing $27.2 million in federal funds.
White contends the state will not lose federal money for schools, but rather see a redistribution of federal dollars.
“School districts will be told you can't spend on this you have to spend on that,” White said. “If they think schools aren't already told how to spend federal money, they're mistaken.”
State Rep. Jason Nelson, a Republican, was the co-author of the repeal bill and said federal intervention is a problem among many states.
“The one thing I have noticed that unites such a broad spectrum of people against it is the idea of giving up control to the federal government or a group of states,” Nelson told the Daily Oklahoman. “That’s the one thing that has everybody unified. They don’t like the idea of having to go to somebody outside the state to do what we think is in the best interest of the kids in our school system.”
However, Steven Crawford, executive director of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, said repeal would lead to “chaos.”
“We believe it goes way beyond the removal of Common Core and would cause a lot of uncertainty for our schools and confusion with what they are supposed to do to meet other mandates,” Crawford told the newspaper.