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House Committee Begins Hearings On Common Core Repeal Bill
Hearings are scheduled to begin today on a controversial second attempt to repeal the Common Core public education standards in Ohio.
This bill is before the Rules Committee, not the Education Committee, where Republican chair Gerald Stebelton of Lancaster halted a similar measure last fall.
“I think obviously there’s a lot of opinions on this issue. And we’re going to give everyone who has one who’s a citizen of the state of Ohio – and some people who are not – an opportunity to come in and talk about this,” says Matt Huffman, a Republican from Lima who co-sponsored the repeal bill.
Huffman also chairs the House Rules Committee.
Debate about the Common Core has mostly been among Republicans – Democrats have been largely supportive overall. But the issue got new life after concern about the Common Core came up during the primaries in May. Huffman says the determination to bring the bill to his committee, instead of going back to the Education Committee, was about giving it a fresh start.
“It was essentially to start clean with a new discussion, and without some of the same contest that’s happened over the last year and a half.”
Testimony this week is scheduled to feature only the bill’s supporters. But the measure’s opponents will be watching, including Melissa Cropper, the head of the state’s largest teachers’ union, the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
“If the bill goes forward and we completely repeal Common Core, that means that all our districts that have already invested a lot of time and resources into implementing Common Core will have to start all over again, possibly in the middle of the year,” Cropper says.
Another person who will be observing with interest is Senate Education Committee chair Peggy Lehner of Kettering, who says she’s on record as being a strong support of the Common Core standards.
“Hopefully the House is going to recognize that high standards that have a certain amount of commonality across the country are important,” Lehner says.
But Gov. John Kasich has said he shares some of his fellow Republicans’ concerns about the Common Core standards, and says “maybe the hearings can reveal something on all sides and bring greater clarity.”
There are three hearings scheduled for this week, and Huffman has said he would prefer fewer but longer hearings, and that he hopes the bill will be voted out of committee later this month.
Huffman expects a vote by the full House the Tuesday after the November election.