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HB 1075 Subjects Multi-State School Standards to More Delay

Rep. Jim Bolin (R-16/Canton) is playing catch-up with Senator Ernie Otten (R-6/Tea) in fighting the Common Core school standards. Rep. Bolin vowed to lead the fight against Common Core this year, but Senator Otten launched three bills on the topic into the Legislative hopper before Rep. Bolin could file one.

But here it is, Bolin's House Bill 1075, which revises an existing statute on Common Core. In a sly bit of sweeping evidence under the rug, HB 1075 first deletes a phrase in SDCL 13-3-89 that states that Common Core is "a state-led effort launched by state leaders through their membership in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers." That statement runs counter to the misconception popular amongst the anti-Common Core political footballers, that they are fighting some evil federal government program. Removing that clause from statute removes an embarrassing reminder of the misleading rhetoric coming from the loudest Common Core opponents.

The substance of HB 1075 expands statute to subject any binding multi-state educational standards to at least four public hearings, in Aberdeen, Pierre, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls. HB 1075 makes government move even more slowly, requiring that each hearing be at least sixty days apart. (On that time frame, we might as well require Department of Education Officials to walk from hearing to hearing.)

Interestingly, HB 1075 does not speak subject unique standards created wholly within South Dakota to such scrutinizing delay. If a new set of curriculum standards were to spring forth fully formed from Education Secretary Melody Schopp's fervent imagination, HB 1075 would not require any hearings. I find that omission interesting: South Dakota bureaucrats are just as capable of creating bad school policy on their own as they are in collusion with out-of-staters, but Bolin and the anti-Common Core crowd apparently see no threat in our homegrown errors.

There's nothing wrong with public oversight of the Department of Education. But House Bill 1075 represents just one more distraction from making practical improvements to our education system.