Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

House Votes to Reject Bill Repealing Common Core Education Standards

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

House Votes to Reject Bill Repealing Common Core Education Standards

Article excerpt

The House struggled through exhausting debate Tuesday before rejecting a bill repealing academic standards implemented by the Kansas State Board of Education in 2010 designed to better prepare students for jobs or college after graduation from high school.

The controversial legislation went down on a vote of 44-78, but opponents of Common Core were unlikely to be silenced on an issue flush with passion.

Inflamed opinions on Common Core and the effort in Kansas to void statewide standards in place for hundreds of thousands of students boiled over on the House floor, leading to hours of debate on state sovereignty, fine print of the Kansas Constitution, the goal of standardized testing, shape of health and sex education, tea party politics, government indoctrination, assignment of racy books to kids and the quest by transitional military families for educational consistency.

The state board of education is responsible for establishing standards for instruction in math, science, reading, writing and social studies on a seven-year cycle, but House Bill 2292 would have stipulated refreshed standards after July 2017 couldn't be framed by Common Core principles. In addition, the new set would have to be presented to the Legislature for review before adoption.

"We needed to have this discussion. Whether the bill passes or fails, there is conflict out there," said Rep. Amanda Grosserode, a Republican from Lenexa who carried the repeal bill.

House Democratic Leader Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, said a bipartisan coalition of representatives voted to maintain high- quality education standards in Kansas.

"Our work is not done," Burroughs said. "The Legislature must still take up how to equitably and adequately fund our public schools. Both high standards and suitable funding are essential to ensuring all Kansas children have the opportunity to succeed."

Skeptics of the repeal bill argued the Legislature should allow 10 elected members of the state board of education to fulfill their constitutional obligation to establish standards and to permit elected local school board members to figure out what curriculum would best draw students closer to those statewide academic objectives. …

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