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Common Core Academic Standards Under Attack Again In Kansas

Sam Zeff

An anti-Common Core bill that’s advanced out of the House Education Committee could have broad consequences for Kansas schools.

“This bill basically repeals all the standards in Kansas and directs the State Board of Education and local school districts to start over,” Mark Desetti of the Kansas National Education Association told KCUR’s Steve Kraske on Up To Date Thursday morning.

Not only would the bill require Kansas write new academic standards – a two-year process – it would bar schools from buying Common Core-aligned materials, including ones used in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes.

It could also hurt college-bound students, as the SAT and ACT entrance exams also reflect the nationally-crafted Common Core standards.

Current Kansas standards encompass the Common Core but also additional, state-specific expectations.

Though Republicans such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush initially championed Common Core, the standards fell out of favor with many conservatives once the Obama administration adopted them. Kansas never outright rejected the Common Core, in part because the state always planned to use its own test to assess the standards.

It’s likely the bill won’t gain traction, but it could become a talking point in legislative races between moderate and conservative Republicans.

“This kind of extreme bill alienates a lot of people with kids in school,” Desetti said. “So I’m not sure you’re getting the political bounce if you’re one of the sponsors like John Bradford or Tony Barton. You’re really just solidifying the people who are going to vote for you anyway.”

Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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