West Virginia Lawmakers Pass Common Core Repeal Bill

Published March 24, 2016

Lawmakers in West Virginia have approved a bill that would repeal the state’s Common Core curriculum and prohibit the state’s Board of Education from implementing the national curriculum standards and aligned testing programs.

In March, the West Virginia Senate approved House Bill 4014, sponsored by state Del. Jim Butler (R-Mason). The bill was sent to Gov. Earl Tomblin (D) for signing, but at press time, no final determination has been announced on the bill’s fate.

Butler says his bill would increase the quality of education in West Virginia government schools by removing government bureaucracy from the classroom.

‘Get the Bureaucracy Out’

“The goal is actually to make our education system better for West Virginia kids and also for West Virginia teachers,” Butler said. “When I first ran for office, almost four years ago now, everything I heard from teachers was ‘get the bureaucracy out of the classroom, and let us teach.'”

Butler says his bill would improve West Virginia children’s education experience by removing unnecessary restrictions imposed by out-of-state interference.

“This is not a political move by any stretch of the imagination,” Butler said. “What this is all about is giving West Virginia students the best opportunities, the best education experience, and giving teachers the best opportunities, the best education experience, and freedom to teach, rather than forcing them to excessively teach to the test and have to follow these cumbersome strategies that are part of Common Core. What we’re trying to do is give teachers freedom to use what works.”

Sunk Costs

Butler says the State Board of Education began implementing the Common Core curriculum and testing programs years ago, to set up a argument favoring keeping the standards because money has already been spent on implementation.

“The problem is we started asking questions about this … over three years ago,” Butler said. “I told them we had concerns and wanted to do intra-committee meetings, … find out what they were doing, how much money they were spending, and all of that, … three years ago, before they had spent all of this money.

“They have done that intentionally, I believe,” Butler said. “They have spent the money and really almost accelerated what they’re doing so they would have this argument.”

‘Assailed’ by Federal Interference

Terry Wallace, an education policy expert with the Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia, says West Virginians are fighting back against top-down policies coming from Washington, DC.

“West Virginia voters have been assailed with a range of top-down federal regulatory overreaches in several areas that have crippled the state’s economy, leading to job losses, out-migration of the population, and a diminution of citizens’ quality of life,” Wallace said. “Common Core is viewed as one more unnecessary federal intrusion.”

Andy Torbett (mecon[email protected]) writes from Atkinson, Maine.