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Support SF 2123: the Iowa Senate’s Common Core Rollback Bill

February 10, 2014 0 Comments

State Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) introduced SF 2123 which would effectively rollback the Common Core State Standards in Iowa.

The key language is this:

Adopt a set of core content assessment standards applicable to all students in grade twelve in every school district and accredited nonpublic school.  For the purposes of this subsection, “core content assessment standards” includes reading, mathematics, and science.  The core content assessment standards shall be identical to the core content assessments standards included in Iowa’s approved 2006 standards and assessment system under Tit. I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965…

So basically we’d go back to the Iowa Core Standards that were in effect in 2006.  No Common Core math and English language arts standards, and no social studies or 21 Century Skills standards either.  Also this bill removes the language in the code that requires an assessment that is aligned to Iowa’s standards.

It isn’t a perfect bill for instance they still need to remove this language from the Iowa Code – “As changes in federal law or regulation occur, the state board is authorized to amend the core content assessment standards as appropriate.”  Since there are two federal laws that state the Federal government is not allowed to dictate standards upon a state this language in the code is unnecessary.  Also, the state legislature not an unelected board should make those changes if deemed necessary.

Also “core curriculum requirements” have been changed to “high school graduation requirements.”  It seems to me that the teeth have been taken of the standards Iowa will be left with if this bill were to pass.  All in all this is a very good bill that will likely get tweaked in committee.

This bill is cosponsored by State Senators Randy Feenstra (R-Hull), Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton), Jerry Behn (R-Boone), Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa), Jake Chapman (R-Adel), Ken Rozenboom (R-Oskaloosa), Michael Breitbach (R-Strawberry Point), Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City), Dennis Guth (R-Klemme), Mark Segebart (R-Vail), Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) and Bill Anderson (R-Pierson).

It has been referred to the Senate Education committee, but it has not been assigned a subcommittee yet.  Next week is funnel week so this bill needs to make it out of committee by February 21 if it is going to survive.

Here is the contact information for the Senate Committee:

The Senate Switchboard number is (515) 281-3371.

We need bipartisan support for this bill if it is going to survive.  Fortunately this is not a partisan issue.  I’d encourage you when you contact the Democratic members of the committee that there is Democrat sponsored legislation in other states.

For instance:

In New Jersey you have , which was introduced by State Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Township), and then there is a companion bill which was introduced by Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle Township).  This bill if passed creates a task force to study the Common Core State Standards and delays the use of their Common Core Assessment.  New Jersey is part of PARCC.

In New Mexico you have . This bill introduced by State Senator Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque) and it would halt the implementation of the Common Core and withdraw the state from the PARCC testing consortium. It would also require public hearings and a fiscal analysis of the new standards before they are brought into effect.

Can Democrats in the Iowa Senate support measures like that?  I believe so.  Do many of them believe in local control in education?  I would think so since many are opposed to the state imposing laws related to traffic cameras on local municipalities so it would stand to reason they would support local control measures for education as well.

Also this doesn’t eliminate Iowa’s standards it just rewinds them back to the 2006 standards (which a Democrat-led House and Senate passed and Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack signed into law).

Also they could look at what liberals like Diane Ravitch and Paul Horton have to say.

I believe both parties should resonate with data privacy and high-stakes testing.  In Tennessee you have HB 1841 introduced by State Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) with a companion bill, SB 2221, that was introduced by State Senator Jim Kyle (D-Memphis).  As introduced this bill allows parents to opt their children out of high stakes testing.  There are many Republican sponsored bills that advocate pulling out of the testing consortium.  In Iowa’s case that would be Smarter Balanced.

Legislators should be concerned about the cost of assessments.  Can Iowa really afford paying $27.30 per assessment per student when we have been paying $3.50?  That’s quite a leap!  Also I believe all legislators should be concerned about whether the Common Core ELA standards will actually prepare our students for college and whether the math standards will adequately prepare our students for STEM fields.

Then there is the simple fact these were not field tested.  Are our legislators really going to allow Iowa students to be used as guinea pigs as these standards are rolled out in 45 states without a field test?  I hope not.

Filed in: Action Alerts, Common Core News, Iowa Ed News • Tags: Amy Sinclair, Bill Anderson, Brad Zaun, Brian Schoenjahn, Common Core State Standards, Daryl Beall, David Johnson, Dennis Guth, Herman Quirmbach, Iowa Assessments, Jake Chapman, Jerry Behn, Joni Ernst, Ken Rozeboom, Liz Mathis, Mark Chelgren, Mark Segebart, Mary Jo Wilhelm, Michael Breitbach, Nancy Boettger, Randy Feenstra, Rick Bertrand, Rita Hart, Robert Dvorsky, Robert Hogg, Senate Education Committee, SF 2123, Tod Bowman

About the Author: Shane Vander Hart

Shane Vander Hart founded Iowans for Local Control in 2012. Shane also is the founder and editor-in-chief of Caffeinated Thoughts and the founder and president of 4:15 Communications, LLC, a social media & communications consulting/management firm.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook or follow him on Twitter and Google +.