Gov. Mary Fallin signs House Bill 3399 to repeal, replace Common Core standards

OKLAHOMA CITY - Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 3399 Thursday, which would replace the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English and math.

The bill repeals the adoption of Common Core State Standards, allowing the State Board of Education to design a new set of academic standards for Oklahoma schools.

Board members will have until August 2016 to develop these "new, more rigorous standards," Fallin said in a release Thursday. 

HB 3399 71-18 in the House and 31-10 in the Senate.

“We cannot ignore the widespread concern of citizens, parents, educators and legislators who have expressed fear that adopting Common Core gives up local control of Oklahoma’s public schools," said Fallin.

"The words ‘Common Core’ in Oklahoma are now so divisive that they have become a distraction that interferes with our mission of providing the best education possible for our children. If we are going to improve our standards in the classroom, now is the time to get to work.

More on Common Core State Standards

In response to the bill, Tulsa Public Schools superintendent Keith Ballard release this statement Thursday:

“Whether or not to move forward with Common Core has been a very difficult issue for our state. People have had very strong public feelings on it, and that has to be taken into consideration.

"It has been a very polarizing topic and there have been strong sentiments on both sides of the issue. I would encourage the governor and the secretary of education to start working on new state standards. We know our state needs higher educational standards.”  

Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, superintendent of Broken Arrow Public Schools, says he is disappointed by the governor's decision. He told 2NEWS three years of hard work are now gone.

"We are disappointed in the governor’s decision to sign HB 3399 into law. The very legislature that passed HB 3399 passed Common Core standards three years ago. Since then, we have spent countless hours and dollars preparing for Common Core. And, yet again, the rules are changing just as the game is about to begin. This puts our students and teacher in a very difficult position.

"We understand the Common Core standards have become a divisive topic in our state but the bottom line is we need standards in place because that is what is best for our kids. We hope the state department of education and the governor’s office will embrace the education community to help craft new standards as quickly as possible. Our kids deserve no less.

"Regardless of the standards handed down by our state government, Broken Arrow Public Schools will continue to focus on college and career readiness for our students. Their continued success after graduation is our primary academic objective and should be the focus of the conversation moving forward."

State Superintendent Janet Barresi also commented on House Bill 3399 stating:

"The signing of House Bill 3399 marks an opportunity to move forward and work to ensure that Oklahoma has the strongest academic standards possible — standards that reflect Oklahoma values and excellence. We must improve academic rigor. At one time, as it was emerging from Republican and conservative ideas from individual states, I did support Common Core. As it has become entangled with federal government, however, Common Core has become too difficult and inflexible.

“The Oklahoma State Department of Education is ready to hit the ground running on creating new and better standards for math and language arts. The process will be inclusive and thorough, and the result will be the best possible academic standards by 2016. It will be a fully transparent and highly collaborative process, one that encompasses Oklahoma parents and communities as well as Oklahomans from a spectrum of fields and representing a wide range of expertise. Our young people deserve nothing short of the very best standards.”

In the meantime, state standards for English and math will revert to the Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills standards used from 2003 to 2010, according the governor's office.

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