Fight in Lansing over Common Core is done, for now

Oct 29, 2013

State lawmakers have agreed to move forward with a new set of school standards in Michigan.

The state House on Tuesday gave final approval to a resolution which would pay for putting the Common Core State Standards in place.

Earlier this year, the Legislature barred the Michigan Department of Education from spending money to implement the standards while lawmakers debated the merits of Common Core. A state House panel heard more than 17 hours of testimony on the issue over the summer.

The chair of that panel, Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township), introduced House Concurrent Resolution 11. He says this is not the end of discussions about Common Core or associated standardized tests.

“As we move forward, I think there’s going to be innumerable discussions that follow this – not only on implementation of the standards, but on the assessments to come,” Kelly told reporters Tuesday.

Michigan is among a group of states developing a Common Core-aligned exam, called the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which could replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test.

Many opponents of the standards and associated exams say they threaten local control of school curriculum.

Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) led the opposition to Common Core in the state House. He says he’s glad lawmakers took time to debate the issue.

“I think this is something the Legislature should do more of, is, when we see something we don’t like, we put a hold on it and hold hearings, or else we stop it in the budget,” said McMillin.

“So, even though it was somewhat unusual, I think that we’ve maybe cut new territory for things that we ought to do in the future when we’ve got questions or concerns.”

The Michigan Board of Education adopted the standards three years ago, and local schools have been implementing them ever since.

Although the Legislature gave final approval to Common Core Tuesday, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan told education officials to resume work on the standards just hours after the Senate approved the resolution last week.