School Choice Weekly #39
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has until Saturday, June 7 to sign or veto a bill to pull the state from national testing and curriculum mandates. If she does nothing with it, the measure will be effectively vetoed.
The governor, once a strong public supporter of the Common Core mandates, has been subject to public and private pressure regarding the bill. Reports say she’s met privately with emissaries on Common Core’s behalf from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and with folks who have opposed it nationwide. Grassroots activists in Oklahoma and across the country delivered an 8,000-signature petition asking the governor to sign the bill.
The moms and dads who demanded that Oklahoma reject mediocre academic benchmarks also learned from Indiana’s Common Core rebrand: The legislation on Fallin’s desk requires the state to compare its new academic benchmarks to Common Core to ensure they are substantially different. It also requires the replacement standards be approved by the state legislature. These people aren’t taking any chances.
They’re right to be wary of the wily education establishment, which co-opts almost every reform idea thrown at it. That’s why removing Common Core is just a first step towards education freedom. If power over education remains concentrated in the hands of a few powerful people, coercive, nonsensical initiatives like Common Core will continue to roll down the pike. If that power is diffused and relinquished to thousands or millions of people--such as parents and teachers--it will be far less easy for Common Core 2.0 or 3.0 to spawn, and far less likely to consume so much of education so quickly.
IN THIS ISSUE:
- COLORADO: The state supreme court has heard the first oral arguments in a case against the nation’s first district-run voucher program . The ruling could come as late as next spring.
- ALABAMA: A judge rules that kids zoned into failing schools cannot leave  for better schools using vouchers.
- MISSOURI: The governor says he will veto a bill that would, among other things, let kids trapped in St. Louis’s unaccredited schools  take their education money to non-religious private schools.
- LOUISIANA: In New Orleans, the remaining five traditional public schools have closed for good . Starting this fall, it will be the nation’s first all-charter-school district.
- CHOICE: School choice laws increase government interference in private schools , a new report finds. Private school regulations also increase each subsequent year after enacting a choice program.
- NORTH CAROLINA: A bill to replace Common Core has passed  the House Education Committee 27–16. The bill would require the state to study alternatives and preclude Common Core remaining as-is.
- ARIZONA: The state will drop national Common Core tests  because it adopted them in violation of a state law requiring open bidding for government contracts. It will consider national Common Core tests during the bidding process.
- NEW YORK: Sixth graders want to be paid for being forced to take a Common Core test  that doesn’t benefit them.
- DATA: Federal regulators seek to stop a bankrupt company from selling student data . Currently, students have few such privacy protections.
- PENSIONS: Most teachers receive less in pension benefits than they paid  in. The contributions they made but don’t get go to administrators and career teachers.
- CALIFORNIA: A lawsuit to get poor kids better teachers is a bad idea  because it would make precedent for anyone to force schools to do almost anything.
- HANDWRITING: Writing by hand helps you learn better  than if you type on a computer, studies say. Cursive is especially good, particularly for kids with disabilities such as dyslexia.
- SCHOOL LUNCH: Michelle Obama’s new school lunch rules have become a fiasco , the Wall Street Journal says.
Thank you for reading! If you need a quicker fix of news about school choice, you can find daily updates online under the Ed News Roundup at http://news.heartland.org/education .