The push to rid Maine of the controversial Common Core State Standards suffered a setback on Monday, as the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee voted 12-1 against LD 1396, “An Act Regarding Educational Standards for Maine Students”.
LD 1396, if passed, would effectively eliminate the Common Core Standards in Maine, and allow Maine to develop its own education standards and assessments.
The Common Core State Standards have generated a considerable amount of contention in recent months, not only in Maine, but in school systems throughout the country. Opponents of Common Core, including many educators and parents, assert that the standards are too low or confusing, and do little to nothing to improve Maine’s education system.
“The fact is, Common Core standards will not improve our State’s schools, and it’s time to stop wasting our precious time and money,” said Rep. Karen Gerrish (R-Lebanon) the sponsor of LD 1396 and an educator of 25 years.
Heidi Sampson, education advocate and member of the Maine State Board of Education, also told the committee at a public hearing that “there is evidence these standards are not research-based,” and that the standards could be particularly detrimental for younger students.
“Over 500 Early Childhood Health and Education professionals have expressed their strong concern with respect to these standards being developmentally inappropriate in grades K~3,” Sampson said.
But these arguments were not enough to convince members of the committee that Maine should change course and reform its education system.
Seven Democrats, and five Republicans, including Senators Brian Langley (R-Hancock) and Peter Edgecomb (R-Aroostook), and Representatives Joyce Maker (R-Calais), Matthew Pouliot (R-Augusta), and Paul Stearns (R-Guilford) all voted that LD 1396 ought not to pass.
Representative Mike McClellan (R-Raymond) was the lone member of the committee to vote in favor of the bill.
The bill now heads to the full House and Senate to be voted on.