Repercussions of a Common Core Repeal

With the race to the White House heating up there has been a lot of talk about education policy including repealing Common Core. Many state and local legislators have been suggesting states repeal Common Core since it was first instated. We wondered, if politicians prevail and Common Core is repealed, what would be the repercussions?

Schools could lose funding

This may be one of the most substantial repercussions of repealing Common Core. Many states initially adopted the standards so that they would be eligible for additional federal funding and if states repeal Common Core but do not find what the federal government calls a “suitable replacement” they can expect to lose control over millions of dollars of federal funds. This is what Oklahoma faced when they repealed the standards in June 2014. To give you some background, federal funding that initially enticed states to adopt the standards has two parts:

Part 1: Schools wanted a waiver for some of the strictest No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements. Although adopting the standards was not a requirement for receiving this waiver, a majority of the states that have adopted the standards received one. Why do states want a waiver? With it states receive significant flexibility spending the Title 1 funds and without the waiver states could only use Title 1 funding for public school choice and after school tutoring.

Part 2: Schools wanted Race To The Top (RTTT) grants. To be eligible for RTTT funding, states had to vow to completely adopt college and career ready standards (similar to, if not, the Common Core standards). Not surprisingly, the easiest way for states to receive RTTT grants was to adopt Common Core standards.

When Oklahoma repealed the standards in June 2014, they did not have an alternative program prepared. Thus, they lost their No Child Left Behind waiver the next year because the federal government did not believe they had a suitable replacement.

Curriculum wouldn’t change…much

Indiana was the first state to repeal Common Core in April 2014. They were able to avoid losing their No Child Left Behind Waiver by making small changes to the curriculum. Instead of using Common Core curriculum they began to use College and Career Ready Standards which are strikingly similar to Common Core Standards. Because states have such little wiggle room when it comes to what the federal government considers a suitable replacement to Common Core, teachers often find themselves turning to Common Core material. Even Texas, a state that never adopted Common Core, uses Common Core aligned materials in classrooms.

Aside from the financial aspect, the second reason many states won’t see drastic curriculum changes is because the Common Core standards are just that, they are standards. They outline what a concepts a student should master, grade by grade. Across the country 3rd graders should have a strong understanding of multiplication. How it is taught may vary, but the fact that all 3rd graders are learning it at the same time won’t waver.

Having said this, don’t expect to throw out your Common Core textbooks anytime soon. Repealing Common Core standards is a slow, state by state process which ultimately results in a rebranding of standards. Your best bet is to relax, embrace Common Core, and participate in Professional Development to improve teaching the standards.