Common Core Update

Bob Kefgen's picture

Yesterday, the House passed a budget bill for the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) that includes language prohibiting the Department from spending any money to "fund implementation of common core state standards or smarter balanced assessments unless an affirmative action of the legislature authorizing implementation of said standards or assessments is provided." While the Senate has not yet voted on the bill, we expect them to do so early next week.

So what's next?

This language is a huge step back for Michigan's districts that have been working since 2010 to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). However, there is still much uncertainty about exactly what implications this will have for local districts and the future of the CCSS in Michigan, such as:

  • The FY 2013-14 budget does not take effect until October 1, 2013, so this language could potentially have no impact for several months.
  • The budget language only prohibits MDE from spending money for implementations of CCSS and Smarter Balanced, it does not change the decision of the State Board of Education to adopt CCSS as Michigan's state standards.
  • Nothing in the language prevents local districts from continuing their work on CCSS or stops districts from adopting CCSS locally.
  • It is unclear what impact this action will have on Michigan’s ESEA flexibility waiver…we do know that CCSS played a significant role in the state's application and this change could endanger the ability of schools to make AYP.

Over the next several days and weeks, MASSP will be exploring every available possibility to prevent this language from impacting schools. Many options exist for heading this issue off before it has an impact:

  • The Senate could chose to reject the MDE budget and send the bill back to conference committee for further negotiation.
  • While Governor Snyder cannot line-item veto this language, he could determine that it is unconstitutional or unenforceable, which would have the same effect.
  • The Legislature could pass a supplemental budget to remove this language from the bill.
  • The Legislature could take an affirmative action authorizing implementation of CCSS and Smarter Balanced before October 1, effectively negating the new budget language.

We understand the importance of this issue to local districts and that schools need clear and consistent guidance from the state well before October 1. MASSP is already working with likeminded partners to ensure the continuation of the CCSS in Michigan. We will continue to update members as this process moves forward.

In the meantime, school leaders should keep in mind that Michigan is still a member of the CCSS coalition and that nothing in yesterday's actions changes that engagement.