Kasich’s Common Core Opportunity

Ohio is seeing a statewide revolt against the Common Core and standardized testing this year.  Parents are risking penalties to remove their children from PARCC testing after seeing the reactions of Ohio schoolchildren, like this one:

The mass opt-out has become so popular that the State Department of Education has agreed not to penalize school districts for walkouts, and now, the legislature has decided to join the movement: A bill that would protect students from penalties for opting out of the nationalized tests has just passed the Ohio House by a unanimous vote.  From The Heartland Institute:

If the bill becomes law, it would protect Ohio students from penalties for opting out of high-stakes testing. HB 7 states the results of the testing, or the fact students are opting out, cannot alter their ability to proceed to the next grade or obtain course credit. This applies to any testing aligned with Common Core standards.

The bill also states districts cannot release student data to an outside source or third party without permission from a parent or guardian.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (public domain image)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (public domain image)

The one person who might not be board, sadly, is Ohio Governor, and presumptive presidential candidate, John Kasich. Governors Kasich and Jeb Bush are the only two Republicans left in the field who support Common Core, and both have doubled down on their support for the standards, casting doubts on their ability to win the nomination next year. This bill, however, provides Kasich with a fresh opportunity to display his conservative credentials on the role of government in education.

By signing HB 7, Kasich could realign himself with parent concerns about student privacy and recast himself to an electorate that has so far dismissed him (Kasich is dead last in the Real Clear Politics average of polls). The unanimous passage of this bill in the Ohio House suggests HB 7 will become law even if Kasich vetoes it. So, really, wouldn’t it be best for him to take the lead in loosening the federal government’s grip on Ohio, and possibly revitalize his presidential prospect along the way?

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.