Home > 2015 SD Legislative Session > The battle against Common Core in South Dakota regains life with #StandWithDan

The battle against Common Core in South Dakota regains life with #StandWithDan

February 21, 2015

Just a couple of days ago it looked as if the battle against Common Core had been lost in the 2015 SD legislative session. Thanks to a current #StandWithDan movement new life is being gained in the battle against Common Core. I will speak more about #StandWithDan at the end of this post.

Common Core is an issue I have been following for a couple of years now. It is an issue that has really snuck up on a lot of parents around the country. The battle against Common Core has also brought together a diverse section of the population that are hard to classify as one identifiable group. There are traditional conservative groups opposed to Common Core due to overreach by the federal government. There are more liberal-oriented groups opposed to Common Core because it takes power away from teachers. There are parents opposed to Common Core because the new curriculum and teaching methods being implemented alongside Common Core are wreaking havoc on their children’s education. There are also groups opposed to Common Core because it is the ultimate implementation of Outcome Based Education (I fall into this group). Finally there are many opponents to common core I’ve met that don’t even fit into any of the categories of people mentioned above.

Battling Common Core in South Dakota has been quite difficult. The establishment politicians in Pierre have signed onto Common Core. I understand why some of them believe Common Core is good. They believe standards such as Common Core are necessary for a quality public education. I would disagree. Actually, I believe Common Core removes diversity from public education and holds back our children from reaching their full potential. This is the debate that needs to happen by the South Dakota legislature. This is also the debate that is not happening.

To be fair there has been a legislator in Pierre, Rep Jim Bolin (R, Dist 16), that has been leading the battle against Common Core before anyone even heard of it. Luckily he is still on the floor continuing the battle.

Throughout this session the House Education committee and Senate Education committee had multiple hearings where the Department of Education blue badges have bombarded the committees with single-sided presentations and testimony promoting Common Core (blue badges are employees or hired lobbyist that work for a State agency, they get paid to lobby against constituents quite often). Attempts to get alternative viewpoints heard have been squelched by these committees. These committees are not allowing any bills to come to the floor that would allow a true debate to happen between legislators about Common Core.

This legislative session there was in fact one bill that I believe was created as a means to force that debate upon the House floor. HB 1223 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was the only bill on the agenda for Weds, Feb 18, House Education committee meeting. This bill would end SD involvement in Common Core. The meeting lasted around two hours and included testimony from both sides of the issue. Both sides had good and bad points. There was discussion among the committee members. The process was working. Then the discussion was stopped by a motion to table the bill. Tabling a bill in situations like this is done purely to stop the discussion. Once a motion to table the bill is moved, no more debate on the bill is allowed. The tabling motion passed 8-7. The tabling of this bill ended the debate in House Education, and prevented the House floor from having to debate a hot political topic.

Rep Kaiser speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 01/24/15.

Rep Kaiser speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 01/24/15.

At that point it appeared the battle against Common Core for the 2015 SD legislative session had ended. Fortunately appearances are not always the same as reality. On Thursday, Feb 19, Rep Dan Kaiser stood in the House floor during session and moved Joint Rule 7-7 for HB 1223. Joint Rule 7-7 is more commonly called a smokeout. It is a tool that any legislator can utilize to force a bill out of a committee. In this case Rep Kaiser was asking the House floor to support him in forcing the House Education committee to send HB 1223 out to the House floor.

To watch the video of the actual smokeout click on this Post by Daniel Kaiser for District 3 House.

To be successful, at least one-third of the House body had to stand with Dan Kaiser. There were enough legislators standing for there to be a successful smoke-out. That means the SD House floor still has a possibility to debate about Common Core before the public; and without Department of Education blue badges lobbying against the bill as they do in committee meetings. This will provide constituents information as to where their legislators stand on this issue. I would think all constituents that care about Common Core would want to know how their legislator falls on the issue and why. That opportunity may now happen.

It should be noted that the House Ed committee had to have a quick impromptu meeting directly after session when the smoke-out occurred. The committee passed the bill onto the floor with a Do Not Pass recommendation by a vote of 9-6.

The next step will happen on Tuesday. The floor will have to vote by a simple majority (36 votes) on whether to bring the bill to the floor calendar for a debate. This is the vote I will be watching. Obviously legislators that are pushing to end Common Core will vote to debate the bill on the floor. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the House votes. There are some that will vote no to the motion because they don’t believe in smokeouts. Plus some will vote against the motion because they do not want Common Core discussed on the House floor; that is the group of legislators I have little respect for, they will vote against debating the bill to keep from having to debate a politically hot topic in public. The most important group of legislators to watch during this vote will be the ones that are on the fence and wish to hear the debate or the legislators that support Common Core and feel it is important for their constituents to see the issue debated in public. If enough of the last mentioned group of legislators exist it is possible for this motion to succeed on Tuesday.

If the motion does succeed I would expect the debate to take a lot of floor time. That is good. Not all bills should move through the House floor quickly. Since all House bills have to be voted on before the Wednesday session ends I almost expect some legislators to vote against allowing the debate on Common Core simply because they do not wish to spend so much time on the House floor. I think those legislators need to be reminded why they are in Pierre. They are not in Pierre so they can attend the special interest events hosted in Pierre each evening. Legislators are sent to Pierre to act on behalf of South Dakota citizens. Sometimes that involves long debates on politically hot topics. And yes, sometimes that means working late hours and missing the events hosted by special interest groups.

At this time I believe every SD citizen should contact their legislator and let them know a SD House public debate about Common Core is necessary. It doesn’t matter what side of the Common Core debate any particular person falls in. Everyone should want and request a public debate about Common Core and its role in South Dakota public education. To deny this public debate would also deny the public the opportunity to understand what their legislators feel the best direction for public education in South Dakota should be.

Another way to bring attention to this upcoming vote is to view and spread the #StandWithDan video Post by Daniel Kaiser for District 3 House. This video has gone viral on Facebook. As I write this post the #StandWithDan video has been on Facebook almost 16 hours. In that time the video has had 3,314 views and 144 shares. That is purely amazing that so many people have seen this video in just under half a day! I would urge people to keep spreading the video and getting people to contact their legislators. It is time to allow this debate to happen in public so all legislators can show where they believe the future of public education in South Dakota should go.

  1. Drew Dennert
    February 22, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Great work Dan, awesome post Ken!

  2. Anonymous
    February 24, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Common core is designed to teach kids the How and Why of what they are learning rather than being told this is it and don’t question!. It is a set guidelines to help each state in developing classroom curriculum. It does not tell teachers what to teach. Maybe all you politicians need to actually READ what common core is!

    • Anonymous
      February 26, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      I have seen first hand what common core dose. It is not impressive !! The children are held back! It took my child half a year to catch up to others in the new school ( not a common core school.) Just to make my self clear the child left that school at 2nd grade, it could have much worse if the child would have been in common core longer,

      • Anonymous
        February 26, 2015 at 11:28 pm

        I find it amusing that you complain about standards vs. curriculum (which you clearly are not able to differentiate), and are not able to spell the word does correctly or use punctuation properly. You clearly need a dose of education. I am happy you are not in a position of power, or children would be in serious jeopardy.

  1. February 21, 2015 at 5:48 pm
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