The Buzz

S.C. education committee OK’s standards to replace Common Core

The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee on Monday OK’d new education standards for math and English to replace Common Core, drawing closer to an end an effort to ensure South Carolinians are deciding what S.C. students learn in the classroom.

By a 11-1 vote, the Oversight Committee approved the new standards, outlining what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.

The state Board of Education is expected to give the standards their final approval Wednesday, approving them for use starting next fall.

With the state board’s approval, the new standards, written by S.C. educators, will replace Common Core’s education standards, adopted by the state in 2010.

A leading critic of the fact that Common Core was not being written by South Carolinians, state Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, voted to adopt the homegrown standards Monday.

“We eventually have to trust somebody,” said Fair, saying the new standards are better than Common Core, a claim disputed by Common Core foes.

Under mounting political pressure to get rid of Common Core last year, S.C. lawmakers ordered a rewrite and replacement of the standards. But critics who drove a grassroots effort to throw out Common Core are not satisfied with the revised standards.

“We were tasked with writing our own (English language arts) and math standards that are not Common Core,” said Deb Marks of S.C. Parents Involved in Education, the group that pushed to get rid of Common Core. “We have failed.”

Marks and other critics opposed Common Core, saying its standards were adopted hastily and pushed on states by the federal government as a way to qualify for grants.

Marks said the new standards are Common Core “warmed over,” adding she is concerned some are too challenging for the grade levels they target. “The controversy is not going away.”

An Oversight Committee study found the state’s revised standards are more challenging than Common Core because they ask students to do more. Of those standards, 15 percent in math and 18 percent in English demand more of students than similar standards in Common Core, according to that study.