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Combating Common Core Focus of House Members’ Legislation

HARRISBURG – The authors of legislation designed to prevent the possible implementation of new education standards in Pennsylvania through the Common Core State Standards Initiative formally introduced their bills today at a state Capitol news conference. The package of legislation seeks to prevent Pennsylvania’s schools from being forced to align curricula and assessment to unproven nationally-developed Common Core Standards which were never approved by full vetting and vote of the General Assembly.

“I’ve seen my share of good and bad fruit as a resident of Adams County, and this is one apple that is rotten to the core,” said state Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams/York), sponsor of House Bills 1551 and 1555. “In all seriousness, Common Core, in addition to removing local control from the education equation, stifles creativity and flexibility in both the teaching and learning processes, neither of which is an exact science.”

In May, Gov. Tom Corbett decided to postpone seeking final legislative and regulatory approval for new education standards. This does not rule out the possibility of implementation in time for the 2013-14 school year.

“This issue is about educational freedom for the people of Pennsylvania,” stated Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Cumberland/Franklin), sponsor of House Bill 1553. “It is critical that we strive to meet the unique needs of Pennsylvania’s students in all aspects of education. This package of legislation aims to place the educational success of Pennsylvania’s young people ahead of the whims of the federal government.”

Under Pennsylvania law, the board of education adopts standards which are reviewed by the governor’s budget and policy offices for fiscal impact. The standards are then sent to the House and Senate Education committees and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, which has 30 days to post the standards for public review.

The legislative committees have 20 days to review them. The standards are deemed approved under state law if the legislative committees do not act.

Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester), author of House Bill 1554, said the federal government has no business collecting information on our children to build large databases with.
“My legislation prohibits the state from transferring individual and personal student data to the federal government,” Lawrence said. “There is no reason for Uncle Sam to keep records on little Jimmy's second grade math score, or anything else for that matter.”

Rep. Stephen Bloom, (R-Cumberland), author of House Bill 1552, said the “top-down” approach the federal government is pushing on Pennsylvania’s children and their teachers is contrary to our Constitutional freedoms.

“One of my deepest concerns about the imposition of Common Core is that private, religious and homeschool educators might be forced into adopting government-dictated curricula and assessments that violate their academic freedom and rights of conscience,” Bloom said. “While state officials have promised that Common Core won’t apply to these alternative educational settings, my bill is designed to back up that promise with enforceable statutory language.”

The individual bills, which are in the process of accumulating co-sponsors, are as follows:

  • House Bill 1551 prevents further implementation of Common Core in Pennsylvania 60 days after being signed into law. 
  • House Bill 1552 exempts private, religious and home schools from Common Core standards.
  • House Bill 1553 prohibits the Pennsylvania Department of Education from imposing a national standardized assessment on any student in the Commonwealth.
  • House Bill 1554 prohibits transfer of individual student data to the federal government.
  • House Bill 1555 creates an advisory committee to conduct a study of Common Core standards prior to any implementation.

Questions about this or any other legislative issue may be directed to the members’ district offices as follows:

Rep. Stephen Bloom: (717) 249-1990

Rep. Rob Kauffman: (717) 264-3943 or (717) 532-1707

Rep. John Lawrence: 610-869-1602

Rep. Will Tallman: (717) 259-7805 or 1-877-480-9525

Representative Stephen Bloom
199th District
Representative Rob Kauffman
89th District
Representative John Lawrence
13th District
Representative Will Tallman
193rd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little, 717.260.6137
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