Lots of Opposition During Second Hearing on Common Core Repeal

Bob Kefgen's picture

The House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness met Wednesday to take further testimony on HB 4192, a bill that would force Michigan to abandon our current content standards and assessments. This was the second hearing on the bill, but no vote was taken and none is currently scheduled. MASSP's Director of Government Relations Bob Kefgen was one of a number of people to testify in opposition to the bill, which saw very little support during the hearing.

The Bill

As MASSP reported after the first hearing on this legislation, HB 4192 is a reintroduction of a bill that first surfaced last session. It is an extreme and poorly written piece of legislation that would force Michigan to abandon both our current standards AND ASSESSMENTS. Instead, the legislation would force the state to adopt the 2008-2009 standards and assessments from Massachusetts.

What We're Saying

MASSP and other opponents of the bill have testified in committee and met individually with committee members. The comments collected from MASSP members in the brief online survey we put out in February have been crucial in informing our advocacy and testimony. You can view archived video of the most recent committee hearing here (MASSP spoke for about 5 minutes about 1 hour and 12 minutes in if you just want to see that and don't want to have to slog through the other hour and 20 minutes).

In addressing concerns with this legislation in your own buildings and communities, Principals should be aware of certain key points, which MASSP and other opponents continue to emphasize and which MASSP has put together in a one-page handout:

  • The difference between standards and curriculum and the important role that schools play in determining curriculum locally.
  • The cost of changing standards again, which is estimated to range between $41 million and $289 million statewide (an estimate of the costs broken down by legislative district is available here).
  • The disruption that another shift in standards would cause at the district, building, and classroom level as educators would have to scramble to adjust instruction to new standards, students would have to adjust to new expectations, and parents would have to be educated about the continuing fluctuation.
  • The myriad technical problems with the proposed bill, including a requirement to adopt decade old standards and assessments.

In addition to MASSP, the committee heard testimony in opposition to the bill from:

  • Dr. Paul Salah, Deputy Superintendent of Wayne RESA
  • Lauri Hartmann and Kate Bassett, representing parents and educators from the 107th House district
  • Linda Forward from the Michigan Department of Education
  • Dr. Thomas Langdon, Superintendent of the Sturgis Public Schools
  • Current Michigan Teacher of the Year Tracy Horodyski, representing herself and the four previous Michigan Teachers of the Year
  • Peter Spadafore with MASA
  • Allie Bush with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and Lindsay Case Palsrok with the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce

Next Steps

Committee Chair Lee Chatfield has signaled that he may hold another hearing on this legislation, which could come as soon as next week. He has not indicated when or if he plans to schedule a vote on the bill.

It is unclear whether the bill has the votes necessary to make it out of committee. Even if gets as far as the House floor, initial indications are that it will face significant opposition from both sides of the aisle.