State senator Jerry Tillman, the majority whip and NCGA Republicans’ leading voice on education issues, says he is confident the House and Senate will have their differences ironed out within days. Tillman sponsored — and ushered through his chamber — a bill he says repeals Common Core and puts decision-making on public school curriculum in the hands of North Carolinians.
Tillman’s bill puts decision making on the curriculum in the hands of an independent commission and the state board of education. The decisions made by those two bodies will then have to be blessed by the general assembly. The senator said that (1) recent appointments to the state board of education, and (2) the checks and balances in place make him feel good about a sensible, state-based outcome.
A conference committee should be organized either today or tomorrow to get to work on hammering together a final version on the Common Core legislation. Tillman said there is really only ONE sticking point that separates the House and Senate:
“They’ve inserted a provision that makes it illegal to consider or adopt ANYTHING even remotely similar to what is currently part of Common Core. Don’t get me wrong — just about everything in Common Core is bad stuff. There are one or two things or so there that I might be able to live with. But, under the House bill, if the commission or the board wants to consider any of those few good points, or something somewhat similar to what is currently in Common Core, they would be violating the law. I don’t want to tie their hands like that. Both sides clearly want to repeal Common Core, as it stands. If we could pull out that one restriction — I think we would have a bill that we would all be happy about sending to the governor.”
Tillman also wanted to clarify some comments he made in a recent committee meeting that were captured on video and went viral across social media. In that speech, Tillman appears to suggest that Gov. Pat McCrory and The Chamber of Commerce were against Common Core:
“I heard from a few folks about that. I went back and watched the video, and I didn’t come off at all like I wanted to. Governor McCrory and The Chamber are not fans of making changes to Common Core. I, on the other hand, am all for repealing Common Core.”