Anti-Core Bill Falls Flat in South Dakota; Nationwide Opt-Out Movement Growing

It appears that the bill that would have kick started the process to abolish the Common Core in South Dakota did not receive enough votes to garner attention during the state legislative session.  Daily Caller reports:

Supporters of Common Core won another victory on Tuesday, as South Dakota lawmakers shot down an effort to repeal Common Core in the state. The defeat is the fourth for Common Core foes in the last month, following earlier failures in Mississippi, North Dakota and Arizona.

The failures are disheartening for conservative activists who were fired up after Republican victories in last year’s midterms. Four defeats in Republican-controlled legislatures, however, indicate that the standards still enjoy substantial support from the party, and that the “toxic” standards remain robust despite the repeated attacks on them. (RELATED: Midterms Great For Choice, Bad For Common Core)

The South Dakota bill had appeared to be dead last week when a state House committee narrowly rejected the proposal, which would give the state until 2017 to craft a new set of replacement standards. However, the law’s backers managed to take it directly to the floor by using a “smoke-out” rule that allows a bill to be raised directly on the floor if at least one-third of representatives agree.

It was all for naught, though. A procedural vote that would have put the measure onto the Wednesday legislative calendar was rejected, 31-39, putting the matter to rest for the remainder of the legislative session.

The defeat in South Dakota is particularly painful for Common Core foes. While in several states the standards have survived thanks to a large Democratic minority cooperating with a minority of Republicans, in South Dakota Republicans totally dominate. The state House has 58 Republicans and only 12 Democrats, meaning the standards only survived because a large number of Republicans have been willing to hold the line.

Is this really a “disheartening” loss for those of us against Common Core?  This only delays the inevitable.  That states will remove the Common Core standards from their classroom, or the politicians who kept the standards in place will voted out of office.  This is not just a ‘South Dakota’ trend, or a ‘Louisiana’ or ‘New York’ trend.  This is now a nationwide trend.  Parents want out and they want their kids to opt-out of the test.  Politicians who ignore these facts will have a considerably shorter shelf-life than those who recognize the trend and will follow the will of the people who put them into power.

Make no mistake, the opt-out trend is spreading like wildfire.  Emily Scheie of World Mag discusses examples of the opt-out movement in the Rust Belt and the East Coast:

This spring, many students across the country face new standardized tests designed to align with new education standards such as Common Core. But the length and difficulty of the tests, among other concerns, are sparking opposition and even outrage in many communities. While Congress debates standardized testing on Capitol Hill, local voices ranging from state governors to public-school parents are pushing back against the demands of standardized tests.

Upon learning that Indiana’s ISTEP standardized tests had increased from five hours and nine minutes to over 11 hours, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed an executive order the second week of February to shorten the test. “Doubling the length of the 2015 ISTEP test is unacceptable and requires an immediate solution,” Pence said in a statement.

On Thursday, about one week before the start of the testing window, the Indiana Department of Education issued a release including guidance to reduce the test by three hours and five minutes.

Principals and teachers are also publicly protesting some standardized tests. In a tearful speech to her Board of Education, posted on a blog for The Washington Post, Jennifer Rickert, a New York state teacher for 22 years, explained why she would request reassignment on the 2015 Common Core English Language Arts Assessment days.

Rickert said she sobbed after reading the educator’s guide to the test.

“This is not developmentally appropriate for my students, and I find it cruel and harmful to suggest that it is,” she said in her speech. “I do not believe in knowingly setting my students up for failure.”

Some advocates and teachers are encouraging parents to boycott the standardized tests by refusing to allow their children to take them. And vocal “opt-out” movements are growing in many states.

NYS Allies For Public Education (NYSAPE) and other sources report parents of as many as 60,000 New York state students boycotted testing in 2014. NYSAPE advocates parents refuse testing in grades 3-8.Its Indiegogo page to raise money for  “Refuse the Tests” billboards, started on January 25, had received $10,690 as of Monday.

Marie Blistan, the vice president of the New Jersey Education Association testified before the state Assembly’s education committee in support of giving parents right to exempt their children from standardized tests. “Parents should not have to worry that their children will face negative consequences … if they refuse the test,” Blistan said in her prepared testimony.’

Heidi Huber, the financial administrator for a K-12 Christian academy in Ohio, founded Ohioans Against Common Core two years ago and is also encouraging parents to exempt their children from the new standardized tests being implemented this spring. She sees opting out of the tests as a way for parents to protect their children, but also as a form of civil disobedience, sending a message to the state.

The Ohio Department of Education issued “Information on Student Participation in State Tests” which warns, “If a parent withdraws his or her child’s participation in certain state tests, there may be consequences for the child, the child’s teacher, and the school and district.”

But the Ohioans Against Common Core website assures,“Ohio parents can exempt their child from Spring 2015 PARCC tests without affecting their grades, promotion or graduation.”

I agree that many parents, finally sick of decades of having test after test shoved down the throats of their children will not only opt-out to withhold participation, but will also be doing this as a form of civil disobedience.  Falsely insinuating that there will be “negative consequences” will infuriate those who question this statement, only to find out that it’s all a bluff.  Parents are ready to thumb their nose, or ‘flip the bird’ if you will, at Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and the consortium of those who wish to wish to data-mine our children, take the fun out of school and ruin their education and their love of learning.

-GD

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