Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a law Thursday evening that junks the Common Core State Standards as public school teaching guidelines and replaces them with state-designed education benchmarks.
The Common Core standards, embraced by more than 40 states, were adopted by Oklahoma in 2010 after President Barack Obama's Race to the Top competition offered incentives. The standards, developed in part by a group of bipartisan state governors, are designed to ensure that all U.S. students are held to the same high measures that will allow them to compete in a global economy.
Since states began adopting the standards, they have come under attack by critics charging federal overreach. In Oklahoma, lawmakers said "the benchmarks are a federal intrusion," according to The Oklahoman.
Lawmakers in the Oklahoma House passed the bill that repeals the Common Core in a 71-18 vote. The Senate approved the measure 31-10, according to a press release from the governor's office. The bill is designed to make sure that any future public school standards bear little resemblance to the Common Core, according to The Washington Post.
Fallin said in a press release that while “Common Core was created with that well-intentioned goal in mind ... federal overreach has tainted Common Core. President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards. The results are predictable. 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."
Fallin said new standards developed by Oklahoma will maintain educational rigor.
"They must raise the bar -- beyond what Common Core offers -- on what we expect of our students," Fallin said in the statement. "Above all, they must be developed with the goal of teaching children to think critically and creatively and to complete high school with the knowledge they need to succeed in college and in the workforce. I also ‘get it’ that Oklahoma standards must be exceptional, so when businesses and military families move to Oklahoma they can rest assured knowing their children will get a great education."
Oklahoma is the second state to repeal the Common Core. Indiana dumped the standards in March. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a law May 30 that requires the state to review the Common Core before Jan. 1 and implement new standards by the 2015-16 school year.
Oklahoma's decision may cost the state dearly. The Oklahoma Department of Education has estimated that replacing the standards will total approximately $1.24 million. However, a report from the conservative think tank Fordham Institute and the Oklahoma Business & Education Coalition said replacing the standards may cost significantly more. According to the report, the change could cost Indiana upwards of $125 million.
Fallin initially supported the Common Core standards, according to The Washington Post. The governor reportedly received a petition with nearly 8,000 signatures from American Principles in Action urging her to sign the repeal bill. Activists with the conservative lobbying group FreedomWorks also reportedly left the governor around 5,000 phone messages pushing the repeal.
This article has been updated to include South Carolina's law ordering standards to replace the Common Core.
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