Bill introduced to drop Common Core in West Virginia

Photo by Perry Bennett
Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, delivers a speech on the House floor this week.

Photo by Perry Bennett Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, delivers a speech on the House floor this week.

WHEELING — A Hancock County delegate has reintroduced a bill to eliminate Common Core education standards in West Virginia.

Delegate Pat McGeehan, a Republican from the Northern Panhandle county, said the state’s way to educate students is “confused and convoluted” and taxpayers should have more of a say in what is being taught in the state’s classrooms.

House Bill 2309 would direct the West Virginia Board of Education to discontinue implementation of the West Virginia Next Generation Standards, most often referred to as the Common Core curriculum. The standards have been in place since 2010.

Additionally, the measure would end administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessments in West Virginia, a standardized testing program started just last year in West Virginia.

The 2017 measure to eliminate Common Core is similar to a 2016 bill that passed the Legislature, but was vetoed near the end of the regular session by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. In 2015, the Legislature also considered a bill to eliminate Common Core.

What is different this year is that lawmakers plan to consider the bill early in the 60-day regular session, according to McGeehan. A simple majority of votes in the 100-member House is needed to override a gubernatorial veto and if Gov. Jim Justice ultimately vetoes a Common Core repeal, McGeehan believes there would be enough time to override the veto before the session ends.

Justice, a Democrat, in his State of the State address on Feb. 8 called for eliminating Smarter Balance testing in West Virginia and replacing it with ACT college aptitude testing.

“Common Core is a confused and convoluted set of standards and curriculum forced upon us by the U.S. Department of Education,” McGeehan said. “This policy had the effect of regression in setting back our children’s education for years, and it has already done irreparable damage to our elementary and middle school children.”

Common Core has disavowed classical education and eradicated classical mathematic instruction, McGeehan said.

“Parents no longer can help students with their homework, because they can’t understand the convoluted math that is Common Core,” he said. “We have to get back to classical education and local control of education based on the experience and tradition we know that works.”

Upon approval the bill would become effective July 1, giving school districts six to eight weeks to develop new curriculum standards for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

“It gives us plenty of time to adjust to what will come next based on curriculum. The textbooks already exist and teachers are already well-acquainted with traditional teaching methods,” McGeehan said.

“The curriculum should focus on the customers — the children and their parents who foot the bills and have no say in what is being taught,” he said. “They are paying the bills for a multitude of bureaucrats in Charleston and for confused and convoluted policies that set their children back.”

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