On October 12, 2010, Kansas agreed to take on the Common Core standards, planning full implementation by the 2013-14 school year. Even so, Kansas has proven to be a rollercoaster in terms of support versus hatred. Every single year since 2013 the state has had to fight to keep the Core’s standards in place.
Like most states, there was little dissention until 2013 when the standards officially rolled out in schools across the nation, and Kansas was no different. Suddenly, there were voices crying out against them, calling for a repeal. Come 2013, defunding legislation managed to pass the State Senate but utterly failed in the State House.
Following this, 2014 brought in more vitriol. Another bill, Bill 2621, came into existence that, adopted, would void the adopted standards. While many hopes lied on this bill to be a death sentence to the Core, it never came to pass. Come 2015, the standards remained a firm part of the Kansas educational program.
This most current year, 2016, resulted in yet another proposal that would outright ban the Core altogether. Failing rather dramatically after a three hour debate, it was clear that those in power remain supportive of the Core. Citing as it providing education uniformity for military families that move often, it is seen as a positive change, whereas the bill would have given educational power to the lawmakers, stripping it from the actual educators of the state. In the end, the only support the bill received was support from those that felt the Core remains too strongly tied to the federal government.
One area that did change was in regards to the standardized test. Originally a member of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the group of states focused on creating a standardized test for the Core, Kansas dropped out in 2013 with the full intention of creating their own test. This was a popular decision as the Smarter Balanced exam was going to be far more expensive than the state exam developed for them at Kansas University.
While this did mean delaying a Core assessment by one year, price remained a very strong factor. Costing $1 million more per year, it was hardly surprising that the state changed where their test would come from. This decision also helped assuage a good chunk of the naysayers as, in their minds, the move proved to be a distancing from the control of the federal government.
Moving forward, Kansas is doing its best to keep its students at the forefront of education without wasting what precious few resources they have. Currently, it seems that the Core is proving to be a benefit though testing results won’t be available until after this spring when students face their first Core-based assessment. For good or for bad, though, the Core will remain.