Common Core Repeal Bill Changes While Debate Continues

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The Ohio House Rules and Reference Committee approved a substitute bill on Thursday for HB597, an effort to repeal the Common Core learning standards.

Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) introduced the changes and said they were beneficial.

"I think it has some good tweaks," he said. "That was reflective of the fact that we listened to the concerns that were raised in testimony and also the panel."

Among the changes, replacing controversial language many believed would open the door for the teaching of creationism in the classroom.

The substitute bill would also shift the implementation of the proposed standards to the 2018-2019 school year, one year later than the original bill.  In the meantime, the state would adopt the old Massachusetts learning standards. This means the state would have three different standards in a five year period.

"I think that three year period will give schools the ability to get used to [the standards]," Thompson said. "It kind of addresses that concern about kids moving to multiple standards. We give them time."

Despite the changes, the debate continued with opponents of the bill still supporting Common Core.

Jim Mahoney is the executive director of Battelle for Kids, an education support firm. As a former teacher and superintendent, Mahoney said the standards benefit both the students and the district.

"Common Core does not tell teachers what word problems to use," he said. "Common Core does not tell teachers which teaching methods to use; Common Core does not tell local boards of education which textbooks or material to use. Common Core leaves control of education where it belongs, at the local level."

Rep. Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster) is the chairman of the House Education Committee. He said the proposed changes still would not change his mind on the bill.

"This bill is a bad bill," he said. "It's bad for school districts. It's bad for teachers. It's bad for parents and it's bad for kids. And so there's nothing that I've heard for the last three weeks that would change my mind about that."

The Committee has yet to schedule their next meeting.