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Don't Mess With Texas' Sovereignty Over Standards and Tests

Sure, we've heard truckloads of skepticism about the common standards in some places as an intrusion into local education decisions. But how many states actually draft legislation to forbid state or local boards from adopting them? Texas, whose state song boasts of being an "emblem of freedom," did just that.

House Bill 2923, which is making its way through the state legislature there, would amend the state education code to bar the state board of education or local district boards from adopting "national curriculum standards." In case that reference wasn't clear enough, the bill goes on to say that such standards "include any curriculum standards endorsed, approved, sanctioned or promoted by the United States Department of Education, the National Governors Association, or the Council of Chief State School Officers."

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And just to cover any uncovered bases: "No school district or open-enrollment charter school may be required to offer any aspect of a national curriculum." The state board can't adopt any criterion-referenced tests based on national curriculum standards either, the bill says.

Texas, you might recall, was one of two states that didn't join the Common Core State Standards Initiative at its inception, and continues to boycott the movement. It's one of six states that hasn't adopted the final standards, and one of five that haven't joined either of the two big consortia of states designing assessments for the standards. The proposed legislation, it seems, would make darn sure that this remains the case.

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