Governor Corbett Calls on State Board of Education to Conduct a Public Review of Pennsylvania’s Academic Standards
News for Immediate Release
Sept. 8, 2014
Continued review of Pennsylvania’s English language arts and mathematics content
Harrisburg – Gov. Corbett today announced that he has asked for a continued public review of Pennsylvania-specific academic content in English language arts and mathematics standards from Kindergarten through 12th grade. This is the final phase in his nearly three year effort to permanently roll back the national Common Core plan implemented by his predecessor, Gov. Ed Rendell.
“Though Common Core began as a state-led initiative to ensure our public schools met the educational standards needed in the 21st century economy, the process has been overly influenced by the federal government,” Gov. Corbett said. “Common Core has become nothing more than a top-down takeover of the education system. It is nothing more than Obamacare for education.”
Under Corbett’s leadership, the State Board has been working toward the repeal of the national Common Core State Standards that were adopted in July 2010 under Gov. Rendell, and replace them with standards that are specific to Pennsylvania, its students and schools. In addition, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has been actively engaged in working to eliminate Common Core through passage of House Resolution 338 that supported repeal efforts and new legislation that would further that work.
Corbett will be sending Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq to this week’s meeting of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education to request that the board hold immediate statewide hearings to continue to review improvements to Pennsylvania’s academic content in the English language arts and mathematics standards. This will be a straightforward review of what Pennsylvania students should know and perform at each grade level.
As part of this review, Dumaresq will work with top national experts, top tier universities, teachers and parents to ensure the current and future needs of our children are being met in the classroom.
“Pennsylvania has a long tradition of local control of public schools,” Gov. Corbett continued. “Our children deserve every educational advantage, and I want to thank the educators and the State Board for their hard work in getting us to this point. I am now asking the State Board to continue the process we began at the start of my term and to ensure that any final influence of the national Common Core State Standards is eradicated from Pennsylvania.”
Since taking office, Corbett has been working with parents, taxpayers, educators and administrators to ensure that Pennsylvania students receive a high quality education. During his tenure Corbett has increased funding for public education to the highest level in state history, signed into law an educator effectiveness tool to ensure great teachers in every classroom, and put into place the School Performance Profile so that parents and taxpayers can better understand the quality of education in our schools.
As part of these efforts, Pennsylvania also has been working to put into place state-specific standards so that students graduate from high school career or college ready.
In September 2013, the State Board began the formal process of repealing and replacing the national Common Core Standards with the Pennsylvania-specific standards. The Board also eliminated the national common core tests, and Corbett reduced the number of Keystone Exams from 10 tests to three in Algebra, Biology and Literature. These changes went into effect on March 1, 2014.
“We have worked with teams of Pennsylvania educators over the past three years to develop standards that are specific to Pennsylvania students,” Dumaresq said. “This continued public review process not only will give parents and taxpayers a stronger voice in helping to shape our public education system, but also will ensure that they have the opportunity to see what students are expected to learn and be able to do at each grade level and in each subject area.”
It is important to note that Pennsylvania’s standards do not mandate curriculum, teaching methods, materials or instructional strategies to be used in the classroom. These decisions are made by local school officials in consultation with parents and the community.
In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the State Board of Education do not mandate specific textbooks or reading materials. These decisions are made by each school district.
“The State Board’s review will affirm that local control remains intact, and I am committed to ensuring that this continues,” Gov. Corbett said.
As part of this effort, Corbett also is calling on Dumaresq to develop a more informative communication and reporting system to assist parents in better understanding the academic profile of their child as it pertains to their performance on state testing. To ensure that students who are entering college in STEM-related majors are adequately prepared, Corbett is asking Dumaresq to share with school districts information gleaned from higher education institutions about the skills needed to be successful as an incoming freshman.
The schedule of statewide meetings by the State Board will be known following Secretary Dumaresq’s presentation to the board at its Sept. 10-11, 2014, meeting in Harrisburg.
Media contact: Tim Eller, Dept. of Education, 717-783-9802