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June 6, 2014

Fallin signs bill repealing state’s Common Core standards

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OKLAHOMA CITY —

She said the federal government has tied funding to certain Common Core guidelines and that “it’s a possibility” repeal of the standards could affect federal education dollars received by the state. Between 5 percent and 7 percent of the state education budget is provided by the federal government.

Repeal of the standards was praised by State Superintendent of Education Janet Barresi, a one-time supporter of the Common Core standards.

“As it has become entangled with federal government, however, Common Core has become too difficult and inflexible,” Barresi said.

The more rigorous standards were supported by the business community, including the politically powerful State Chamber, as a way to help better prepare Oklahoma students for college or the workforce.

Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, said Fallin’s decision to sign the bill “is a massive disappointment” to educators, administrators and business leaders who have tried to develop internationally-benchmarked but locally-controlled academic standards.

“Gov. Fallin and the Oklahoma Legislature have reneged on their promise to Oklahoma’s students, bending to political hysteria at the expense of our children and the quality of our future workforce,” Neal said.

The Oklahoma Academic Standards, which are aligned with Common Core standards in English and mathematics, were scheduled to be reflected in tests administered to students next year, and more than 60 percent of the school districts in the state already have aligned curriculum with the new standards, according to state education officials.

Shawn Hime, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, said Fallin’s decision “will throw many schools into chaos as they prepare for a new academic year.”

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