SD Panel rejects 2 bills on Common Core standards
By Nora Hertel
PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota's use of Common Core standards will stand after a legislative committee voted down Monday two bills that would have supplanted the standards and kept some of the state's students from taking tests based on those standards.
A third bill that requires public notice of hearings on future standards passed 13-1 in the House Education Committee and will be sent to the full House.
South Dakota adopted the standards, which set benchmarks for K-12 public school students in English and math, in 2010. Across the country, 45 states and the District of Columbia use the standards.
Supporters of the bill to supplant the Common Core standards argued that they were developed outside of the state, with the bill's main sponsor saying that the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers had their own platforms in creating the standards.
"Common Core standards were presented as education reform," said Rep. Elizabeth May, a Republican from Kyle. "What are we reforming?"
But opponents of that bill said the Education Department and teachers can make adjustments to suit South Dakota's students.
"As a former teacher, I've seen nothing wrong with the standards," Democratic Rep. Kathy Tyler of Big Stone City said. "They're implemented. They're there. Let's just get going with this."
The measure was voted down by a narrow margin, 8-7. A similar Senate bill failed in committee earlier this month.
Another bill that failed 8-7 would have let parents exempt their child from taking standardized tests, and committee members considered the extent of parental choice.
"This is a bill promoting more parental involvement," said Rep. Jenna Haggar, R-Sioux Falls.
But legislators who were against the bill said it's important to get test results from all students and that private student data is protected.
"Parental choice, parental decision-making, what are they going to decide next?" said Rep. Timothy Johns, a Republican from Lead.
The measure moving out of committee requires the state Board of Education to publicize hearings in newspapers and on the website of the local school district two weeks ahead.
It would also require 60 days between hearings.
"I think it's a reasonable thing to do," said Rep. Scott Ecklund, R-Brandon.