- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers:

The Journal Record, July 14, 2014

D.C.-hating Legislature acts like feds

On Tuesday, Fellers Snider attorney Robert McCampbell will argue that the Oklahoma Legislature overreached its authority when it passed House Bill 3399.

That law repealed the state Board of Education’s decision to adopt the Common Core academic standards. Those standards were developed by a group of education experts, including the College Board, ACT Inc., state education department officials, college professors and teachers in response to demand from the National Association of Governors, state school superintendents and others to raise academic expectations for K-12 education. The work was paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is not a curriculum, which is up to each state, and it’s not a federal program.

When the recommended standards were published in 2010, 46 states adopted them. In Oklahoma, the standards were adopted by the state Board of Education at the behest of the Legislature under 2010’s SB 2033.

The named plaintiffs in McCampbell’s case are parents and teachers, but their position is supported by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and other business advocates opposed to HB 3399. The plaintiffs will argue that the Oklahoma Constitution gives responsibility for education standards to the state Board of Education, which is part of the executive branch and therefore off-limits to legislative handiwork. The defense will be that the Legislature has the authority to tweak any state law, including those tied to education.

The Legislature balked at the Common Core standards because it perceived them to be an instance of the federal government telling the states what to do. “Federal overreach” is the term most often applied.

But this is another case of the raven chiding blackness. Early in this year’s session the Legislature tried to exert authority over the judicial branch with bills that would have changed the process of the Judicial Nominating Commission, another that called for partisan election of judges, and one that would have created a judicial oversight committee controlled by legislators. Fortunately, none of those ill-conceived schemes made it to the governor’s desk.

Two others did: one that prohibits municipalities from choosing their own methods of controlling blighted, abandoned property, and one that prohibits cities from establishing their own minimum wage. Those two follow last year’s law that prohibits cities from enacting their own smoking regulations.

A group that has so vociferously condemned Washington’s alleged power grab would do well to reflect on whether it has become the pot.

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Tulsa World, July 14

Common Core repeal means higher costs, more federal scrutiny

As predicted, Oklahoma’s decision to repeal Common Core education standards will cost the state money, leave teachers without clear guidance while the issue is argued in court and provoke more vigorous federal meddling with the public school system.

Story Continues →