Michigan Lawmakers’ Attempts to Repeal Common Core Standards Put Student Achievement at Risk

Michigan State Representative Gary Glenn will introduce legislation that seeks to repeal and replace the state’s Common Core Standards, according to a release by the group Stop Common Core in Michigan. “The goal of this legislation is to repeal the unproven, nationally driven Common Core Standards and assessments in Michigan,” the site boasts. Rep. Glenn is expected to unveil the legislation on February 24.

By seeking to replace the standards, Rep. Glenn risks setting Michigan on a path similar to that of Oklahoma, the only state to replace the Common Core with a set of explicitly different learning goals. A white paper by the Collaborative for Student Success notes, “Oklahoma has taken a step backwards, reverting to an old set of demonstrably inferior education standards and setting schools on a rocky path of disruption, uncertainty and internal turmoil.”

A fact sheet by the Michigan Department of Education from 2010 explicitly states, “The Common Core State Standards were developed by states, for states to provide a consistent set of clear K-12 expectations that outline the knowledge and skills students need in English language arts and mathematics to lead to career- and college-readiness…The CCSS do not represent a curriculum; instead they serve as a framework around which curriculum can be built.”

John Austin, president of the Michigan Board of Education, says the legislation could politicize the state’s learning goals, leading to regular changes in curriculum. “These are standards set by Michigan, with the help of leaders in the business community to determine standards that are good for Michigan,” Austin said.

Contrary to Rep. Glenn’s claims, parents and educators strongly support rigorous, consistent academic expectations and high-quality assessments. Last year, 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote, “Common Core is not a federal takeover of our schools, nor does it force teachers into a rigid model for classroom instruction…In fact, under the Common Core, teachers have greater flexibility to design their classroom lessons—and can, for the first time, take advantage of the best practices from great teachers in other states.”