Senate Begins Debate Over Common Core Repeal

Mar 2, 2015

Members of the West Virginia Senate began discussing a bill Monday that, if approved, would repeal Common Core standards in West Virginia. The legislation passed the state House of Delegates Saturday.

Credit Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

House Bill 2934 calls on the West Virginia Department of Education to repeal the Common Core standards adopted in 2010 for math and language arts. It then requires the board, along with the state Department of Education, to draft new standards.

Members of the Senate Education Committee heard testimony from stakeholders, including parents and a fifth grade student from Kenova Elementary School. Republican sponsors of the bill, Delegates Jim Butler and Michael Moffatt also spoke to the committee calling for the repeal of the national standards.

Butler told the committee no West Virginia teachers were involved in writing the standards, which newly appointed state Board of Education member Beverly Kingery disagreed with.

Kingery is the former superintendent of Nicholas County schools and told Senators she sent teachers from her county to participate in workgroups that adapted the national standards to set that are West Virginia specific, known as the Next Generation Content Standards. Those standards are in place in West Virginia Schools today.

Speaking against the bill, American Federation of Teachers West Virginia President Christine Campbell said lawmakers should be more focused on making sure teachers across the state have the professional development they need to teach the more rigorous standards rather than repealing something teachers across the state tell her are working.

“We’re really moving in the right direction and we have to have the time to do this,” Campbell said, “and if we go back we’re going to be starting from scratch and set the state back at least five to seven years.”

State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano joined the department in September and told the committee he hears the legislature’s concerns over the standards, but asked for more time to dig in and analyze what the state has before them.

“I am doing a very intensive review of our education model. I’ve come with expectations from our citizens, from our elected officials to do certain things to improve our educational system I need the opportunity to dig in deep to our education standards and understand where those concerns are,” he told the committee.

The Department of Education predicts the repeal will cost the state $113 million to craft new standards.

The bill was placed in an education subcommittee for further discussion. Chaired by Sen. Boley, the committee also includes Sen. Robert Karnes and Sen. Bill Laird and will hold their first meeting Tuesday morning at 8:30.