Common Core opponents make ballot campaign official

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Written by Matt Murphy

The decision by state education officials in 2010 to adopt the national Common Core standards for teaching subjects such as English and math would be rescinded under a ballot question proposed on Tuesday by opponents of the new national curriculum.

A group called End Common Core MA submitted its initiative petition to Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday that would revert the curriculum in Massachusetts public schools to the frameworks in place before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted Common Core as part of its strategy to strengthen the state’s standing in President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top grant competition.

The petition would also establish committees made up of public school teachers and academics from private and public universities to review the state’s curriculum frameworks.

The effort to end Massachusetts’ participation in Common Core is being led by ballot committee chair Donna Colorio, who served on Gov. Charlie Baker’s education transition committee team. Sen. Ryan Fattman, of Sutton, Rep. Kevin Kuros, of Uxbridge, and Rep. Donald Bertiaume, of Spencer – all Republicans – were among the 16 people to sign the initial petition to start the process of putting the question on the 2016 ballot.

State education officials are currently weighing whether to scrap the MCAS standardized test, which is a requirement for high school graduation, in favor of a new PARCC test that aligns with the Common Core curriculum standards. Baker and Education Secretary Jim Peyser have said they expect to make a decision on the PARCC exam by November, and Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester is a supporter of Common Core.

Organizers outlined the ballot question on Tuesday afternoon at an event in Sutton attended by Fattman and Rep. Joseph McKenna, a Sutton Republican.

Colorio said the decision to adopt Common Core “lowered the education standards for Massachusetts.”

Baker has not signaled which way he might be leaning, but did testify in front of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2010 before he was governor against the adoption of Common Core. A number of other states have recently abandoned Common Core and the PARCC exam over concerns about the strength of the curriculum.

Copyright State House News Service