Education

Bill to repeal Common Core headed back to education committee

Rachael Taylor, right, Parnia Razi, middle, and Shayla Roper take part in an International Baccalaureate course at East High in February.
Rachael Taylor, right, Parnia Razi, middle, and Shayla Roper take part in an International Baccalaureate course at East High in February. The Wichita Eagle

A proposal to repeal Common Core standards in Kansas has been referred back to committee for “clarifying language” related to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, on Tuesday referred the bill back to the House Education Committee. His office sent an e-mail to House Republicans that provided talking points to “help inform your constituents” about the bill’s status.

“The bill was never intended to affect the AP or IB programs, so I’ve sent it back to committee asking for language to make sure that is plainly clear,” Merrick said.

“I am in support of the bill because it moves Kansas away from Common Core Standards, which a number of other states have already done in response to concerned parents and teachers.”

Substitute House Bill 2292, approved by the House Education Committee last month, would compel Kansas school districts to develop new standards for reading, math, science and other subjects to replace the Common Core-inspired standards that have been in place since 2010.

A clause in the proposed bill says: “If advanced placement, international baccalaureate, dual credit or other similar courses and tests are administered to public high school students after July 1, 2017, they shall be aligned with (revised) Kansas curriculum standards.”

Critics have said the measure could affect and possibly do away with AP and IB programs because those courses are modeled on national or international frameworks.

After the bill passed out of committee via a “gut and go” procedural maneuver, lawmakers received a flood of e-mails and phone calls from students, teachers, parents and others concerned that it could do away with AP and IB programs.

Rachel Whitten, Merrick’s director of communications, said the bill was returned to committee Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether Merrick would agree to give an amended bill a full hearing on the House floor this session.

“We’re going to wait and see how the committee work turns out and then go from there,” Whitten said. “I believe (Merrick) wants to just make sure that it has the clarity it needs.”

Contributing: Bryan Lowry of The Eagle

Suzanne Perez Tobias: 316-268-6567, @suzannetobias

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