Senate discusses Common Core Standards

On March 26, the Senate Education Committee took a look at two bills that would halt the implementation of Common Core standards in Missouri. The bills, Senate Bill 514, sponsored by Sen. John Lamping (R-St. Louis) and Senate Bill 798, sponsored by Sen. Ed Emery (R-Lamar), would block the implementation of the standards for at least one more year.

The Missouri Chamber is supportive of implementing Common Core Standards in Missouri, and planned to testify in opposition to the bill, but were not allowed to due to time constraints. The bill will have a second hearing the week of March 31-April 4.

Four years ago Missouri’s State Board of Education adopted the national “Common Core” standards, in June 2010. The standards began about eight years ago as a joint promotion by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices, and were launched by many states in 2009.

Sen. Lamping wants lawmakers to stop the implementation of Common Core until the state has had an appropriate amount of  time to understand exactly how Common Core will change the education system.

Lamping and Sen. Ed Emery said adopting the Common Core education standards removed the state’s, and nation’s, long-held belief that schools should have “local control” of their education and curriculum decisions.

However, Michael Brickman, a Missouri native who now is national policy director for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Washington, D.C., testified before the committee that the institute has been studying state standards “for about 15 years” and, in 2010, reviewed the English and math standards of every single state and compared them with the Core.

“The Core standards were good enough to earn an A-minus in math and a B-plus in English.”

According to that study, Brickman said, Missouri’s standards for both English and math only scored a D, “making them among the worst in the nation. In both subjects, while not perfect, Common Core standards are clearly superior to those they replaced.”

He urged the lawmakers to stay the course and continue implementing the Common Core.

According to Brickman, passing either senator’s bill would leave Missouri radically apart from the nation as a whole, and would ensure that Missouri has the single-worst standards in the nation.

Jason Dale, associate director of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, also said his group supports the Common Core.

“All my members’ companies in Kansas City — and companies all around the state — must have a highly skilled, 21st century workforce to be competitive,” he told the committee. “These standards have been internationally bench-marked, so they will make us competitive with areas around the world and not just around the country.”

The Common Core standards “establish consistent learning goals for all students (and) provide a clear road map of academic expectations,” he added. “They’re relevant to the real world.”

For more information about Common Core, please contact Missouri Chamber General Counsel Jay Atkins at or Brian Crouse, vice president of education programs, at or by phone at 573-634-3511.