State school board tries to stop common core repeal bill

State School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano spoke with reporters following Friday's emergency meeting.

State School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano spoke with reporters following Friday’s emergency meeting.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Board of Education urged the House of Delegates in an emergency meeting Friday not to pass a bill that would repeal the common core teaching standards in West Virginia.

Common Core is a set of academic standards for math and language arts of what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The bill would get rid of the national standards that first started being implemented in the state back in 2010.

Dr. Michael Martirano, state Superintendent of Schools, said the board will deliver a letter, from state School Board President Gayle Manchin, to all members of the legislature to speak out against the measure. Martirano said he wants to do what is best for the students of West Virginia by offering a proposal to those who have problems with the core.

“Let me have the opportunity to work with our board and to review where we are — to take into account what the concerns are and get it right,” said Martirano, “I do not want to do anything that’s going to create concern for our children. That’s who I work for: the children of West Virginia.”

The board said they’re willing to look at the core and refine it, as they have done so over the last several years. The Common Core repeal bill would suspend the use of summative assessments until the 2016-2017 school year, which the board said is not the answer.

“To say we want to throw all this out and affect all 282,000 children at this point in time is crazy. This is not about common core. This is about common sense,” said board member Michael Green.

Martirano said all 55 superintendents in the Mountain State have endorsed the course of which they are on because they are college and career ready standards that will make sure young people are ready for the future.

The bill requires a review of the state standards with legislator participation and town hall meetings to ensure the West Virginia College and Career Ready Standards, but Martirano said there is a difference between “standards” and “curriculum.” He said those standards have been developed through and adapted them as the Next Generation Standards.

The state Board says there’s also the risk of losing millions of dollars in federal funding. Martirano said the board often receives a bad reputation for not spending money wisely, but he said they have done the opposite of that.

“We’ve spent dollars wisely in West Virginia by implementing it over four years in a very judicious manner to get that right and now being expected to not have those extra dollars. It increases the level of federal intrusion,” said Martirano.

The bill was on second reading in the House Friday evening and could pass sometime during the weekend.