By Dustin Ensinger
An effort in the Ohio Legislature to repeal recently implemented educational standards is not being received warmly among Delaware County lawmakers and education officials.
The legislation, House Bill 597, would repeal Common Core learning standards in the state. But those involved in implementing the new standards say a repeal would be costly and foolhardy.
“Our teachers have spent countless hours helping to develop the curriculum and we’ve also spent lots of dollars on this project,” said Tom Kaelber, president of the Buckeye Valley Board of Education.
Common Core has been adopted by more than 40 states and was developed by the bipartisan National Governors Association at the behest of businesses and universities to create a more rigorous and uniform academic standard in English and math across the country.
Ohio went a step further and developed standards in several other subject areas as well.
The proposed legislation would remove the standards and take Ohio back to the standards used by Massachusetts before it implemented Common Core for a two-year period, after which the state would be required to develop its own set of standards.
That would create too much uncertainty for students and teachers, according to Julie Wagner-Feasel, a member of the Olentangy Board of Education.
“If this is enacted, our current fifth-graders will have gone through four different standards by the time all this is said and done,” she said.
The legislation is not taking the normal route through the Ohio House’s Education Committee. State Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell), who is the vice chair of the committee, said he is unsure the bill has been placed in the Rules and References Committee.
“You would have to ask Chairman (Matt) Huffman (R-Lima),” he said of the bill’s sponsor and the chairman of the Rules and References Committee.
While Brenner, who said he would like to hear from more county residents on the issue, declined to take a position on the bill. He did, however, say Ohio needs more continuity in its education standards.
“Three standards in four years is way too many,” he said. “If you want to transition into a new set of standards for English and math, let’s do it in an orderly fashion over a number of years.”
Brenner’s colleague, Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl (R-Mount Vernon), said she is only in favor of repealing the standards if there is a solid plan to replace them.
“It doesn’t sound like to me they have a very good plan,” she said.
State Sen. Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) could not be reached for comment.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.