Kasich willing to look at Common Core changes

By MARC KOVAC @ohiocapitalblog C-N Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- Gov. John Kasich said Thursday he's willing to look at any law changes Republican lawmakers propose concerning Common Core standards in place at Ohio schools.

But he stopped short of offering an opinion on whether he would sign the Common Core repeal bill being considered in an Ohio House committee, should it reach his desk.

"I hope they turn over some good information," the governor told reporters during a stop in suburban Columbus. "If there's more to do, we'll take a really good look at it."

Kasich made the comments in response to questions following three days of hearings in the House's Rules and Reference Committee, where Republican Reps. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) have proposed repealing Common Core standards in math and language arts, replacing them with what they say will be more rigorous standards to be developed over the next couple of years.

Critics say the standards represent an overreach of the federal government and corporate interests into local classrooms, with resulting textbook lessons so convoluted or awkwardly phrased that students and their parents don't understand them.

But backers see Common Core as an effort to ensure every high school graduate has the foundational knowledge needed for college, technical schools or other career paths. They also say local school boards retain control over curriculum, and districts have invested heavily in recent years training teachers and preparing lessons and assessments to meet the new standards.

Groups that support the repeal effort offered comments during three days of testimony earlier this week. Another three hearings are planned over the next two weeks to give opponents of the repeal and interested parties a chance to offer additional comments

The House Rules and Reference Committee could sign off on the legislation early next month, setting up a potential floor vote in the House after lawmakers return in November.

The bill would still have to pass the Ohio Senate. The Republican head of that chamber said he has not yet decided a course of action on the legislation.

"We're going to wait and see what the House does," Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) said Thursday. He added, "We started evaluating the academic standards a while ago. The Senate worked real hard to instill some checks and balances ... I think it's important that we have local control over education in Ohio, but the most important thing for me is that we have increased academic achievement in Ohio. That's what we're going to keep focusing on."

Kasich offered comparable comments.

"I just want to have high standards, and I want to make sure we maintain local control so local school boards and local parents are the ones that design the curriculum to meet the standards," he said. "We need high standards. We don't need interference from Columbus or Washington to get this done. It should be done locally."

He added, "If there's an erosion of local control, then we're just going to be in a position that we're going to change things. We don't want to erode local control in any way."

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