Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is standing behind Common Core school standards despite attempts by members of his own party to block implementation of the national education initiative.
“I think the Common Core is a really important opportunity, and I think it’s a good thing,” Snyder said Monday in Detroit, where he was joined by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Unfortunately, it’s been too much about politics. Too many people in our country … are looking to fight someone for the sake of fighting.”
The Michigan Department of Education adopted the Common Core standards in 2010 and is set to begin implementing the initiative next year, but the Republican-led state legislature is pushing back against those plans.
A House budget bill approved last month would prohibit the MDE from using general funds to implement the standards, and a separate Senate budget would prohibit the use of funds for “development” of Common Core.
While 45 states have voluntarily adopted the English and math standards, designed to foster career- and college-readiness, the Republican National Committee last month passed a resolutioncondemning Common Core as “an inappropriate overreach to standardize control and education of our children.”
Snyder on Monday suggested that some of the opposition is driven by individuals wary of federal mandates, but he pointed out that the standards were developed by the National Governor’s Association “to say we want to partner at the national level and all levels to say let’s raise the bar.”
State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills — who sponsored the House budget amendment to defund implementation — also has introduced standalone legislation that would prohibit the Michigan Board of Education, state officials and agencies from participating in the Common Core State Standards initiative.
“The Department of Education is trying to put Michigan schools in Common Core without legislative approval,” McMillin said after the budget vote. “Giving our authority to control what is taught in our schools to any national entity is wrong. I am glad the House is taking up the debate of whether this is appropriate.”
Lawmakers will continue to finalize budgets as they look to send a final version to Snyder by early June.
While he backed Common Core, Snyder said he would like to work with State Superintendent Mike Flanagan to revisit some curriculum requirements. “I think there are some good opportunities there, but we shouldn’t be walking away from standards.”
Watch the governors comments in the embedded player below.
Note: This post was updated to clarify that the Senate budget bill for the Department of Education also includes language seeking to block state funds for Common Core.