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June 6, 2014

Fallin signs bill repealing state’s Common Core standards

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation Thursday that repeals the Common Core education standards, stating that the federal government’s attempt to use them to influence state education policy was reason enough to get rid of the guidelines for math and English scheduled to go into effect in Oklahoma schools in the upcoming school year.

The bill, overwhelmingly passed in the House and Senate on the final day of the 2014 Legislature, requires the state to return to old standards in place before 2010 and directs that new ones be developed by 2016. It requires all new standards and revisions to be subject to legislative review.

“There are things in the legislation that will cause challenges,” Fallin said after signing the bill. “But there’s also great opportunity for Oklahomans to work together, all of us.”

Fallin said the intense debate over whether to repeal the Common Core standards has “focused our attention on the importance of education.”

“We are very capable as Oklahomans of developing our own Oklahoma standards to make sure that our children receive the highest quality education possible in our state,” she said.

Initially adopted in Oklahoma in 2010, the Common Core standards are part of an initiative of the National Governors Association, which is currently chaired by Fallin, to clearly outline what students are expected to learn and know by each grade level. They have been adopted by more than 40 other states, but there has been growing concern, especially among grass-roots conservatives, that the standards represent a federal takeover of state education.

Fallin tried to placate those concerns in December by signing an executive order stating Oklahoma will be responsible for deciding how to implement the standards, but opposition continued to mount.

“It has become very apparent to me that the word ‘Common Core’ has become a word that is tainted, that is divisive in our state,” Fallin said.

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