Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Senate delegation, Carroll commissioners discuss statewide bills

Changing or completely stopping the implementation of the Common Core education standards has become a priority for many legislators in the Maryland General Assembly this year, according to Carroll County Sen. Joseph Getty.

Getty, R-District 5, met with the Carroll County Board of Commissioners on Thursday to discuss local and statewide bills that have been requested by county officials and organizations to be introduced during this year's 90-day legislative session. The bills cover a wide variety of topics, including casino night fundraisers, sheriffs' and judges' salary increases, education reform and environmental regulations.

Getty told the board that education reform is the hot topic among legislators in Annapolis.

"Everyone wants a bill on Common Core," Getty said.

The three-member, all-Republican delegation is scheduled to vote on which bills it will introduce to the legislature at 10 a.m. Saturday. The delegation will meet in the Ronald Reagan Meeting Room in the Carroll County Office Building, located at 225 North Center St. in Westminster.

The commissioners asked their delegations to introduce several statewide bills they developed relating to the implementation of Common Core, which is a federal initiative adopted by the state that establishes a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics. A number of standards have already been implemented in Carroll County Public Schools.

The standards are part of the Race to the Top federal initiative, which asks states to advance reforms by adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy; builds data systems that measure student growth and success, and informs teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction; recruits, develops, rewards and retains effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and turns around our lowest-achieving schools, according to the Maryland State Department of Education website.

The commissioners want statewide legislation that would withdraw all schools systems in Maryland from Common Core and Race to the Top and authorize return of all federal funds received from the Race to the Top grant.

The commissioners also want statewide legislation that would eliminate requirements for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessments, longitudinal database and teacher assessments and to withdraw Maryland as a test state for the Next Generation Science Standards, a new set of internationally benchmarked K-12 standards.

A number of legislators, including Sen. Edward Reilly, R-District 33, and Del. Michael Smigiel, R-District 36, have already introduced bills that aim to slow down or completely stop the implementation of Common Core, Getty said. The majority of the other Common Core-related bills developed by the board have also been covered by other bills introduced by other delegates and senators, he said.

If the bills go before the legislators, Getty said they will pass. But if committee heads get their hands on them, the bills will die before they ever get to the floor for a vote, Getty said.

"What's the probability of success for any of those bills?" asked Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4.

Getty said that has "yet to be determined."