- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A Republican proposal to repeal Common Core learning standards in Ohio easily cleared a House committee Wednesday, despite doubts over whether the bill has enough support to survive a full floor vote.

Rules and Reference Chairman Matt Huffman said he timed the vote for as soon as possible after Tuesday’s election to allow maximum time to educate fellow House Republicans about concerns over the standards before the session ends in December.

“Minds change,” he said.

Nearly every state has adopted the standards, which emphasize critical thinking and spell out what reading and math skills students should grasp at each grade level, while leaving how those skills are mastered up to districts and states.

Huffman, a Republican from Lima, said that too little was done to research Common Core and its potential negative impact before Ohio adopted it in 2013. He and co-sponsoring state Rep. Andy Thompson, of Marietta, have the backing of House Speaker William Batchelder in their repeal effort.

Wednesday’s 7-2 vote along party lines came as school districts across Ohio are working to implement the standards, which are supported by a diverse coalition including teachers’ unions and a host of influential community and business groups.

The Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and Ohio Association of School Business Officials issued a joint statement expressing disappointment with the committee’s approval of the repeal.

“Districts have spent countless hours and precious resources preparing for their implementation,” said Barbara Shaner, associate executive director of the business officials group. “To repeal them now would cause confusion and frustration for students, parents and teachers, in addition to setting back Ohio’s progress toward higher student achievement levels.”

A lobbyist for the school administrators’ group noted that school leaders from across the state testified in favoring of “staying the course” on the standards.

“While more rigorous and challenging than the old standards, educators from Ohio’s public schools have sent a clear message that these new standards are good for students,” said Tom Ash.

Ohioans Against Common Core disagreed, mounting a “Press 5 Now” campaign last week that they say flooded the office of Gov. John Kasich with requests to repeal and replace the standards.

Glenn Karhoff, a parent from the village of Glandorf in Putnam County, said when asked what he didn’t like about the standards: “Just about everything.” He said they take away parental control, set the bar for students too low and overemphasize testing, among other things.

Huffman said the standards effectively lay dormant between Ohio’s adoption of them last year, which he and some other current opponents favored at the time, and the start of the latest round of hearings this summer.

During that time, Huffman said that “lack of public communication and lack of media investigation into this issue going to the source of where the money was coming from, who’s benefiting, who’s not benefiting” allowed a lot of misinformation about the standards to circulate.

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