DENVER – After hearing more than six hours of impassioned testimony for and against Colorado Academic Standards including Common Core, Democrats on the Senate Education Committee killed a measure Thursday to stop and study the controversial curriculum and online testing.
Senate Bill 136, sponsored by Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins), would have suspended the curriculum standards and testing for one year and created a bipartisan task force to evaluate the pros and cons of Common Core.
“This bill was not written by me, this bill was written by moms very concerned about the Common Core standards and the implementation of testing,” said Marble, who added that parents view it as “the camel’s nose under the tent.”
“This is the first brick in the foundation to help the fed government take over our schools,” declared Marble.
Supporters of the bill argued that Common Core promotes a cookie cutter and radical left-wing agenda, lowers academic standards, forces educators to teach the tests and burdens cash-strapped school districts with heavy investments in materials, text books and online testing.
Several parents read graphic, sexually explicit excerpts from books approved by Common Core for teenage readers. The basis of the books – from a rapist to a pedophile sexually assaulting a little girl – added to the controversy over materials promoting unproven theories of global warming and climate change.
“I truly speak for hundreds of educators and parents who are desperately trying to have their voices heard,” said Lis Richard, principal of Monument Charter Academy, a charter school in El Paso County. “We will not align to those standards.”
Parents from across the state shared Richard’s concerns – some tearfully pleaded with the committee to pass the measure.
The movement against Common Core has escalated in Colorado and nationwide, influencing half of the 45 states that adopted the national curriculum to reconsider.
Opponents of the bill contended that Common Core ensures quality education for all students.
“We believe these standards are an issue of equity,” declared Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association union. She said that Common Core would improve resources in the state’s education system.
The bill was defeated on a 4 to 3, opposed by Democratic Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood, Michael Johnston of Denver, Nancy Todd of Aurora and Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada, and supported by Republican Sens. Marble, Scott Renfroe of Greeley and Mark Scheffel of Parker.
Douglas County School board members passed a resolution opposing Common Core in July, and vowed to work with the legislature to pass a measure to allow school districts to opt out of the mandated curriculum and testing.
That issue will be debated Monday when the House Education Committee considers House Bill 1202, sponsored by Rep. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), to “waive statewide testing requirements” in school districts.