Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

COMMON CORE ; Testing Repeal Bill in Doubt

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

COMMON CORE ; Testing Repeal Bill in Doubt

Article excerpt

It appeared Friday that, for a second year in a row, a West Virginia legislative committee was moving toward eliminating a repeal of the Common Core standards from a bill originally aimed at doing so. Last year, the Senate Education Committee changed a repeal bill that the House of Delegates had passed to instead just require a review of the education requirements. The bill failed to pass on the last night of the session, when the Senate and House couldn't reconcile their differing versions in time.

On Friday, the House Education Committee was set to consider eliminating from a current bill the mandate to repeal West Virginia's math and English language arts standards, which greatly resemble Common Core. But Delegate Dave Perry, D-Fayette, said Republican committee members had caucus meetings for hours Friday afternoon and into the evening, and then voted to adjourn Friday evening over the objections of Democrats.

Perry, the committee's minority leader, said he opposes every version of this year's repeal legislation and wants to see the bill voted either up or down.

"Teachers and educators are totally tired and frustrated with changing standards and curriculum every two or three years, said Perry, who supported last year's failed Common Core repeal bill but said the state Department of Education's subsequent standards review and revision process assuaged his concerns.

"Something needs to stay in place long enough to see if it works or doesn't work, he said.

Perry said House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, who is not a member of the Education Committee, was part of the Friday meetings. Armstead has criticized the standards, even after the state Board of Education approved revisions expected to take effect next school year.

"It indicates the division that has occurred within their party and their inability to run the committee, Perry said of the situation.

House Education will meet at 9 a.m. today and may take up the bill again.

House Education Chairman Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, declined to comment on Perry's allegation about division in his party and would not say whether Armstead was part of the Friday caucus or not. He said committee members had to get to other meetings Friday evening and that Friday was the first real chance for members to meet on the new committee substitute, on which he expects members will propose amendments.

The new committee substitute version of this year's House Bill 4014 might anger anti-Common Core legislators. It would ban West Virginia's current Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced exam - which state schools Superintendent Michael Martirano's testing commission already has seemed eager to recommend abandoning - but it wouldn't repeal the standards.

Instead, it says the state Board of Education "shall continue to review, analyze, and update the standards, in collaboration with the Legislature. …

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