I lifted this from an email I received from Kris / SC District 5 Patriots


I received a reply from State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais and have forwarded it below. While he agrees that the adoption of Common Core Standards will be detrimental to the education of South Carolina’s children, his response is quite troubling.

BOTTOM LINE: Neither he, nor our state legislature, can do anything to stop it because the power over academic policies in the state of South Carolina rests solely with two agencies whose members are unelected and have no accountability to the people: The SC Board of Education and the Education Oversight Committee. According to Rep. Ralph Norman, the SC Legislature gave the SC Board of Education total authority over public education in our state in 1998 because “…the thinking at the time … is that this board had the expertise and knowledge to make this type of decision.”

So how is that working out for us??? NAEP ranks us dead last in the nation! Other states are making legislative changes to prohibit Common Core in their states. Our SC legislature, on the other hand, can’t do anything about it, nor, can our State Superintendent of Education, because the authority to educate our kids has been given to an unelected, unaccountable entity.

My thought is this: If the SC Legislature can give the power to the State Board of Education, it can take it away! How do we do this??? Where do we start?

Here are some facts and links to what other states are doing:

Alabama announced that they are withdrawing from PARCC (Common Core) to pursue testing elsewhere. This leaves PARCC with 22 states using their materials. Utah had previously announced they were withdrawing from Smarter Balance (Common Core) leaving SB with only 24 states. So the numbers are dwindling with more and more states finding out what the impact of these standards will be.

Georgia: http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2013-02-20/legislator-wants-state-back-out-common-core-curriculum
Utah: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/utah-withdraws-from-smart_n_1752261.html
Indiana: http://stateimpact.npr.org/indiana/tag/common-core-state-standards/
Vote allows Common Core to continue for K-2 temporarily
Alabama: http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/02/13/alabama-exits-national-common-core-tests
Kansas: http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/measures/hb2289/

Former TX Supt of Ed on Common Core: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/02/13/former-education-commissioner-blasts-common-core-process/


From: Ed, SCSupt

Subject: RE: Common Core Standards in SC
To: SCD5 Patriots

Dear Kris:

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the Common Core State Standards.

I did not support the adoption of the Common Core State Standards as a candidate for State Superintendent of Education because they would limit the State’s ability to determine academic standards in English-language arts and mathematics. Rather than personalizing and customizing education as I have championed, the Common Core is a one-size-fits-all solution that does not recognize the different aspirations and interests of students.

Academic standards are adopted by two entities: the State Board of Education and the Education Oversight Committee. The State Superintendent of Education does not have a vote on either board and does not appoint any members to them. In 2010, prior to my election, both bodies adopted the Common Core State Standards. Again, I did not support the adoption of these standards.

However, I have repeatedly said I will fulfill my oath of office to faithfully implement and administer statewide academic standards, established by the State Board of Education and the Education Oversight Committee, though I may disagree with them. To reverse the adoption of the Common Core would require both bodies to adopt new standards, and those of us who did not support the Common Core are not in the majority on either board.

I worked with the South Carolina General Assembly to prohibit the iteration of the Common Core State Standards: science. Two budget provisos specifically prohibit the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards for the next fiscal year. Budget provisos are one-year laws though, so they must be renewed in the next budget to maintain the ban against these Common Core-like academic standards. South Carolina’s current science standards were rated as an “A-minus” by the Fordham Institute, an education research organization. South Carolina was one of only six states to receive a rating of “A” or “A-minus” for their science standards.

The Common Core State Standards issue shows how unelected bodies like the State Board of Education and the Education Oversight Committee make far-reaching policy decisions.

Thank you again for your correspondence regarding this important issue.


Mick Zais, Ph.D.
State Superintendent of Education