Proposed Common Core legislation would clarify state standards, allow schools to opt out

Last modified: 1/1/2015 11:51:04 PM
In past legislative sessions, lawmakers have attempted to limit the Common Core education standards in New Hampshire, ranging from delaying their implementation to canceling the state’s participation.

This year, lawmakers will propose a bill allowing schools to opt out of implementing Common Core.

State Rep. Rick Ladd, a Republican from Haverhill and chairman of the House Education Committee, sponsored the bill.

“This one is just trying to clarify and establish and codify that it’s a local decision to participate or not,” said. “We haven’t had any bills similar to this that I can recall.”

Common Core was adopted by the state Board of Education in 2010, but this academic year is the first in which tests associated with the standards – the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium – have been in place.

Common Core is not a curriculum, but a program of academic standards. The state Department of Education does not require school boards to implement the standards, but there is currently no law saying that schools can opt out. Even if a school opts out, the Department of Education still requires that the associated assessments be administered.

“The interesting thing is in New Hampshire, when the Common Core State Standards were adopted, they were adopted in principle. 
. . . It was never a mandate,” said state Rep. Mary Stuart Gile, a Concord Democrat and chairwoman of the education committee during the last legislative session. “My take on this bill is if districts want to opt out, that of course is their prerogative.”

In order to opt out of Common Core, school districts would need to identify academic standards that exceed the state standards, Ladd said.

Gile expressed some hesitation about the proposed legislation, saying she thinks it could cause some confusion and create pressure on districts from parents to withdraw from the standards already in place.

“It may reduce some of the effort that is going into the implementation of the Common Core State Standards,” she said.

State Sen. John Reagan, a Deerfield Republican serving on the state Senate Education Committee, has also signed on to support the proposed legislation. Reagan has supported past legislation aimed at changing the implementation of Common Core in New Hampshire.



(Susan Doucet can be reached at 369-3309, sdoucet@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @susan_doucet.)

New Hampton

Trooper in cruiser struck during stop

The New Hampshire State Police said a trooper in his parked cruiser was struck and injured in the breakdown lane on Interstate 93 in New Hampton.

The police said Sgt. David McCormack, who suffered multiple injuries and was taken to the hospital for observation, was conducting a traffic stop on the northbound side about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. He was sitting in the cruiser when it was struck from behind by a sedan. The incident happened between Exits 23 and 24.

The police said the cruiser, which was heavily damaged, had its blue lights on.

The police identified the driver as 61-year-old John Elliott Sparling of Thornton. His car also was heavily damaged; he was not hurt.

Associated Press






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