Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill last week ending her state's participation in Common Core education standards. Fallin said, “We are capable of developing our own Oklahoma academic standards that will be better than Common Core."
Fallin's objection to Common Core surprised me. I was convinced she would veto the legislation. In January, the governor, who is chairman of the National Governors Association, defended Common Core.
Now, she says, “Unfortunately, federal overreach has tainted Common Core. President [Barack] Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards. The results are predictable,” Politico quotes her as saying. “What should have been a bipartisan policy is now widely regarded as the president’s plan to establish federal control of curricula, testing and teaching strategies.”
So it is possible to change one's mind in regard to Common Core. Idaho lawmakers have yet to have a meaningful debate on the subject, possibly because Gov. Butch Otter, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and the chairs of the House and Senate education committees have refused to even entertain the possibility that Common Core will not work as advertised.
But Fallin's movement on the issue proves that it is possible to summon the political courage to change. Perhaps Fallin's decision will inspire reconsideration, or at least conversation, here in Idaho.
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