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March 18, 2014

Common Core protesters flood Oklahoma Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY — More than 200 opponents of a set of education standards in math and English known as Common Core rallied at the Capitol on Monday and urged the Oklahoma Senate to pass a bill repealing the standards.

Wearing green shirts that read “Common Core is not OK,” the group that included parents, teachers and students roamed the Senate halls and lobbied for the bill, which passed the House last week. They also delivered notes to Gov. Mary Fallin’s office urging her to sign a repeal of the standards, which will be reflected in tests administered to Oklahoma students next year.

The Senate so far has thwarted attempts to delay or repeal the standards, but Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, a Common Core supporter, said Monday the House bill will be granted a hearing in the Senate Education Committee.

Fallin, Superintendent Janet Barresi and business leaders strongly support the standards, which were adopted in Oklahoma in 2010 and were part of an initiative of the National Governor’s Association, currently chaired by Fallin. But there has been growing concern, especially among grass-roots conservative groups, that the standards represent a federal takeover of state education.

“Gov. Fallin understands that some Oklahomans are concerned that Common Core — despite being a state-driven and state-implemented policy — will somehow open the door to increased federal involvement in Oklahoma public schools,” Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said in a statement. “Our message to those who are concerned about federal overreach continues to be that Gov. Fallin will never allow the Obama Administration or any other federal administration to dictate what we teach or how we teach Oklahoma students.”

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