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South Carolina Anti-Common-Standards Measure Stalls

A bill designed to unravel South Carolina's adoption of the Common Core State Standards is dead in the water, at least for now.

That's what the measure's sponsor, Sen. Mike Fair, told me in a phone call today.

I called the Republican senator to find out what happened with his bill, S. 604, in a hearing last week. You might recall that this legislation caused a national kerfuffle when a Senate subcommittee moved it on to the full education committee (albeit with an unfavorable report) for consideration.

That move prompted U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to issue a statement scolding South Carolina for its low academic expectations. That, in turn, sparked an outpouring from the conservative blogosphere, which saw the move as confirmation that federal officials had overstepped their authority in pressing states to toe the line on the common core.

The education committee considered the bill in late February, but decided to hold another hearing for more input. That was the hearing I called Sen. Fair to check on.

It turns out that committee members decided to "carry over" the bill when they saw no prospect of building sufficient support for it, Fair told me. He explained that "carrying it over" has the same effect as tabling the measure.

"There was no way we could have passed that bill [in the full Senate], even if the [education] committee voted in favor," he said. "So rather than voting at all, we just carried it over."

Fair, who sits on the Senate's finance and education committees, said that he hopes to attack the issue another way. Before the state legislature adjourns in June, he wants to insert a proviso into that chamber's version of the budget that would forbid the state from implementing the standards.

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