Columbia, SC – We are having déjà vu in South Carolina.  It looks like the pro-Common Core Education Oversight Committee is rushing the rewrite claiming they don’t have enough time to do a total rewrite.

From The Post & Courier:

Changes to South Carolina’s education standards will be ready by the time the General Assembly returns in January, an education official said Monday.

Melanie Barton, executive director of the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, told committee members that changes to the state’s standards are on the fast track to receive the necessary modifications.

The Senate in May unanimously approved a bill to replace Common Core education standards with those homegrown in South Carolina by the 2015-16 school year. But Barton stressed the changes made to the state’s standards will be just that – changes.

“I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a total rewrite,” Barton said. “We don’t have time to do that.”

She said the committee will review the standards for specific changes and modify them as needed, such as adding cursive writing and the memorization of multiplication tables. The committee will be receiving feedback from teachers on changes as well.

Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said he’s looking forward to the changes. Zais has been against the adoption of Common Core since its introduction.

Here’s the thing.  They don’t need to rush the process.  They do have time.  An activist in South Carolina told me that it seems like they are trying to speed up the process before the new Superintendent is elected.  Superintendent of Education Mike Zais chose not to run for re-election.

The Post and Courier reports that Zais plans to advocate for modification of South Carolina’s current standards, not a rewrite.

When asked what he would say to those who believe South Carolina will keep the Common Core standards, but under a different name, Zais reiterated the state should just start from South Carolina standards that were developed in state.

Ok, if he’s talking about the South Carolina Standards from 2008 before the Common Core was adopted fine, but if he’s talking the current standards.  Well this school year was the bridge year for the Common Core and the standards are being used for instructional purposes.  Full implementation is to take place next school year.  So their current Math and ELA standards have already been aligned with the Common Core.

Is he saying that they are not aligned?

Regardless this process does not need to happen so quickly.  The review isn’t even mandated until January 1, 2015.  The law states:

(A)    The State Board of Education, in consultation with the Education Oversight Committee, shall provide for a cyclical review by academic area of the state standards and assessments to ensure that the standards and assessments are maintaining high expectations for learning and teaching. At a minimum, each academic area should be reviewed and updated every seven years. After each academic area is reviewed, a report on the recommended revisions must be presented to the Education Oversight Committee and the State Board of Education for consideration. The previous content standards shall remain in effect until the recommended revisions are adopted pursuant to Section 59-18-355. As a part of the review, a task force of parents, business and industry persons, community leaders, and educators, to include special education teachers, shall examine the standards and assessment system to determine rigor and relevancy.

(B)    For the purpose of developing new college and career readiness English/language arts and mathematics state content standards, a cyclical review must be performed pursuant to subsection (A) for English/language arts and mathematics state content standards not developed by the South Carolina Department of Education. The review must begin on or before January 1, 2015, and the new college and career readiness state content standards must be implemented for the 2015-2016 school year.

They have time.  Approval from the General Assembly is not needed, according to the new law, if the standards are totally developed in-house.  It sounds to me that they plan to still use parts of the Common Core or else there would not be a rush to have this done before the General Assembly reconvenes.  If that is the case the South Carolina Legislature should reject them.

Authored by Shane Vander Hart