Supreme Court ends effort to revive Common Core

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ended a new effort to revive the Common Core curriculum in Oklahoma classrooms.

The ruling came Tuesday afternoon in response to a lawsuit that said the legislature overstepped their authority when they repealed Common Core through House Bill 3399.

The lawsuit’s lead attorney said lawmakers did not have the right to “reach into the classroom.”

But the Supreme Court disagreed, writing in their opinion, “HB 3399 is not unconstitutional.”

That means the state legislature had the authority to repeal Common Core.

Parents like Nikki Fate of Yukon, described Common Core as a “cognitive abuse on our children.”

She said if Common Core had prevailed, she would have started home schooling her children.

“They’re learning way too much at a fast pace,” she said, “and they shouldn’t because their brains are not developed for it.”

The ruling means the legislature has won the power struggle with the Oklahoma Board of Education.

One brief opposing Common Core said “…the legislature is authorized and obligated to maintain the public education system. In fulfilling (that), the legislature has to establish standards.”

State Rep. Jason Nelson (R-Dist. 87), the bill’s co-author, said “…the legislature is the only group involved here that answers to the people directly.”

But the lawsuit, filed by parents, teachers, and four board of education members, said Common Core’s repeal “…would materially diminish the independence and authority of the board.”

“Although the legislature gets to set policy for the state of Oklahoma, they don’t actually get to run the Board of Education,” Robert McCampbell, attorney for the lawsuit’s petitioners, said.

Amy Anne Ford, a Board of Education member and one of the lawsuit’s petitioners said local education experts developed Common Core standards and she did not want lawmakers to be able to alter years of research.

“Then it is no longer a consensus document that has been vetted by these experts,” she said. “That’s my problem (with HB 3399).”

The Board of Education will now revert to pre-2010 educational standards, while developing new standards by 2016.

Governor Fallin issued a statement following the ruling, saying, “Today the Supreme Court ruled that House Bill 3399, which repeals Common Core and directs the state of Oklahoma to develop new academic standards, is constitutional in its entirety. This bill has now been passed with large legislative majorities, signed by the governor, and reviewed by the courts. It is now time for parents, teachers, school administrators and lawmakers to work cooperatively to implement this law. We need all parties working together to ensure that Oklahoma’s new standards are rigorous and can be realistically integrated into the classroom. Working together, I know that we can design Oklahoma standards that live up to a level of excellence our parents and students expect and deserve.”

State Rep. Jason Nelson issued the following statement in regards to the ruling.

“The confusion caused by this lawsuit has been unfortunate as educators around the state have been busy preparing for the next school year, which is weeks away. The Court’s opinion today removes any uncertainty. Based on the many educators I know personally, I have no doubt that Oklahoma’s teachers are more than capable of making the necessary adjustments and will be more than ready when children, mine included, begin showing up after the summer break.”

State Sen. Josh Brecheen also issued a statement, saying, “One of the Justices correctly pointed out, that the authors of Oklahoma’s Constitution were concerned about the potential for abuse by non-elected, unaccountable appointees of the Executive branch, and so ensured the will of the people would be upheld through legislative oversight, which is exactly what HB 3399 will allow concerning education in our state.”

State Sen. Anthony Sykes said, “I am pleased with today’s opinion in favor of House Bill 3399. The Oklahoma Constitution is abundantly clear in granting the Legislature the authority contained in HB 3399. The lawsuit brought by the plaintiffs is a textbook example of a “frivolous” lawsuit. I look forward to working further with Senator Brecheen, Representative Nelson and other like- minded conservative legislators in returning Oklahoma education to Oklahomans.”

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