Yesterday, the Michigan state senate approved the state’s education budget with a rider that prevents the state from funding the implementation of Common Core standards, a nationwide curriculum initiative designed by state coalitions, including the National Governors Association, and heavily encouraged by President Obama’s “Race to the Top” education-funding competition. The state government adopted the standards in 2010, but popular backlash pushed the legislature to delay implementation as a statewide effort, though local school systems can go ahead with the standards themselves.
The state representative who proposed the amendment, Tom McMillin, said the delay will allow time for further popular debate about the new curriculum. Michigan is the third state to pause the program’s implementation, following Indiana and Pennsylvania.
For more on Common Core, Maggie Gallagher, a prominent opponent, has written for NRO about two Indiana mothers, after being shocked by the simplicity of their daughters’ Common Core–inspired math homework, have fought to prevent its implementation in their state (they contend that the new standards aren’t rigorous or evidence-based).
Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Fordham Institute and Sol Stern of the Manhattan Institute offered a conservative defense of the program on NRO in April, arguing that the standards are consistently more rigorous than what we’ve seen before and dismissing concerns that reading curricula would begin to emphasize nonfiction works (To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t being replaced by EPA white papers, etc.). Heritage Foundation education fellow Lindsey Burke responded to their piece, offering a defense of principled objections to a federalized curriculum and citing the work of experts who’ve questioned the curriculum’s rigor.