Jim Kasper: North Dakota Must Withdraw From Common Core And Smarter Balanced Consortium

Those parents and citizens who supported the efforts lead by  myself and a small number of Legislators, during  the 2015 Legislative Session to extract North Dakota from  the  Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, (SBAC) and Common Core, are thankful that the powers that be here in North Dakotas have “seen the light” and now are fully supporting getting  North Dakota out of SBAC and Common Core. It is a 180 degree turn from where  the educational establishment, including Superintendent Baesler were during the 2015 session.

Leading up to the 2015 session, there was a strong effort  to discredit those of us who supported withdrawal from SBAC. The North Dakota Chamber president, Andy Peterson, wrote a letter to the editor viciously criticizing myself and my Legislative colleagues who supported withdrawal. Unfortunately, he failed to do the research he should have to learn the truth about Common Core and the harmful ramifications it has to our North Dakota kids.

Just a handful of Legislators, such as Rep. Ben Koppelman, Rep. Karen Rohr, Rep. Chris Olson and Rep. Mike Schatz worked  hard with me to tell the truth about the harmful impacts  SBAC and Common Core will have to our education system in North Dakota.  I was the prime sponsor of HB 1461, that would have totally withdrawn North Dakota from SBAC and Common Core. These legislative colleagues stood tall during the debate on the floor of the North Dakota House, asking our fellow Legislators to pass the amended version of HB 1461 that would have pulled North Dakota out of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and brought control of our education system back to North Dakota.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]I applaud Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, the Republican endorsed candidate for Governor, and his running mate, Senator Nicole Poolman, for publicly stating this week that their goal and commitment is to extract North Dakota from SBAC and Common Core.[/mks_pullquote]

On the crucial vote on the amendment to HB 1461, we lost by a vote of 43-48.  Had the amendment to HB 1461 passed, we would have been on our way to withdraw from SBAC and regain control of our education decisions here in North Dakota. The bill would have been sent to the Senate for its deliberation, but they never had the opportunity because the House killed the bill. 

Sadly, today we still have little to no local control over our education system because we remain  a member of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. SBAC continues to control the critical education decisions in North Dakota. So, outside sources from the University of California and others still dictate what our North Dakota kids are taught, by controlling the curriculum, the standards and the assessments. 

I applaud Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, the Republican endorsed candidate for Governor, and his running mate, Senator Nicole Poolman, for publicly stating this week that their goal and commitment is to extract North Dakota from SBAC and Common Core. It was especially rewarding to see Sen. Poolman, a teacher, state strongly during her interview with Chris Berg this week on his television program, that although she originally supported Common Core, she now recognizes it’s problems and wants North Dakota out of SBAC and Common Core.

The question  now is what should North Dakota do. The answer is quite simple. North Dakota can withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium by simply having  Superintendent Baesler write a letter to SBAC notifying them that North Dakota is withdrawing.  It is really that simple. There will then be a process that we must go through to withdraw, but until this letter is written by Superintendent Baesler, North Dakota will remain under the control of SBAC and out of state influences.

We are having a meeting on Monday, April 11th of the Assessment Task Force that Supt. Baesler formed last year, to continue to discuss where North Dakota’s education system should go and who will control our education decisions. The meeting will be in the Brynhild Haugland room in the capital and begins at 10:00 am. I am a member of that task force and I intend to bring up thesematters during the meeting. It is open to the public and I encourage all North Dakota concerned citizens to attend to show your support for withdrawing North Dakota immediately from SBAC.

For the good of our kids, our teachers, administrators and parents, it is time for North Dakota to take back local control of our education system and decisions by withdrawing now from SBAC. I hope to see you Monday at the capital in Bismarck.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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