Controversial bill dealing with Common Core passes Oklahoma Senate

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that focused on the future of a controversial teaching curriculum has just been passed by the Oklahoma State Senate.

House Bill 3399 would repeal the Common Core teaching standards in the state and would allow Oklahomans to create new English and math standards.

It would also prevent any direct or indirect federal control over those standards or assessments.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Oklahoma Senate voted in favor of the bill, meaning they chose to repeal Common Core.

It passed 37 to 10.

Supporting senators say they got it wrong in 2010 when common core became law.

Senator Susan Paddock disagrees calling the bill a re-branding of what we already have.

She says the words common core have become toxic and this is an attempt to address the backlash.

Sen. Paddock says, “Are we talking about cutting and pasting some other standards and not really being true to Oklahoma standards?”

But representative nelson says the bill is all about the state being able to control its own destiny.

“”it actually replaces it with a system that protects us from outside influence, but also, I think help us establish probably the highest standards we’ve had as a state,” says Rep. Nelson. “The main difference is it’s something that is determined and developed by the state not by folks from outside the state.”

Several opposing senators are worried about how long it will take to see those higher standards in the classroom.

Nelson says they won’t be starting from scratch.

“If teachers have used parts of common core that make sense, that are helping their students out, That’ll still be a good idea,” says Nelson.

If not he says they need the freedom to get rid of it.

Gwendolyn Caldwell, State Chamber Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, said, “The State Chamber supports Common Core State Standards because our members – job creators in the business community – need an educated workforce that can compete in today’s high-tech, global marketplace. Common Core puts high school students on track for college or a career while House Bill 3399 sets back the cause of rigorous standards in Oklahoma.”

Common Core Standards have come under fire from districts, parents and students across the nation.

Organizers say it works to create a different level of critical thinking at a younger age.

HB 3399 is not officially law yet. It must be heard in the State House again after amendments were made addressing what to do during the transition from Common Core to the new standards.