West Virginia Education Chief Announces Common Core Repeal

Published January 6, 2016

The West Virginia state superintendent of schools announced on November 13 his plan to repeal Common Core K–12 math and English standards and replace them with College and Career Ready (CCR) standards developed specifically for the state.

West Virginia teachers and higher education professionals wrote the CCR standards collaboratively. Parents and public officeholders were also part of the process. A 30-day public comment period for the revised K–12 education standards opened prior to the West Virginia Board of Education’s vote in December on whether to repeal Common Core and replace it with CCR standards.

“I am proud of the work that has occurred throughout the last several months, because this effort was generated from the bottom up, with input from our educators and community members,” state Superintendent Michael Martirano told School Reform News. “These proposed new standards increase the level of rigor for our students while also removing complexity for teachers. Ultimately, we are focused on outlining a set of standards that ensure our students are equipped with the skills needed for college, careers, and the 21st century world of work.”

‘Unique to West Virginia’

According to West Virginia Board of Education President Mike Green, officials considered more than 250,000 comments made by participants in public forums held throughout the state while drafting the proposed replacement standards.

“I believe this process was transparent, and I am proud of the work that has been done to develop a set of revised standards that are unique to West Virginia and developed with the input of our state residents and education experts,” Green said.

“The proposed standards allow more flexibility for teachers,” said Kim Randolph, director of communications for the West Virginia Education Association. “Eighty percent of our previous state standards were reflected in the Common Core standards, but we’re very happy with the proposed new standards.”

‘Strive for Excellence’

On November 9, the Thomas More Law Center filed a lawsuit against West Virginia Gov. Earl Tomblin (D) and other state officials to stop implementation of Common Core. The lawsuit claims the state’s membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is unconstitutional because SBAC was never approved by the U.S. Congress. The lawsuit also argues membership in SBAC requires the West Virginia standards to align with Common Core.

It’s unclear whether the lawsuit will proceed if CCR standards replace Common Core.

“My reading of the current education climate is that there isn’t much to distinguish Common Core from the new standards,” said Jim Shaffer, president of the Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia. “At first blush, it seems they only polished the apple a little differently.”

Despite his initial skepticism, Shaffer says his main concern is to have education standards developed by West Virginia stakeholders rather than what he identifies as the “lowest-common denominator” and “cookie cutter” approach offered by Common Core.

“We should strive for excellence when it comes to educating our children,” Shaffer said.

Bruce Edward Walker ([email protected]) is a policy analyst for The Heartland Institute.

Image by WWYD?.