Hundreds Protest Common Core Repeal At Capitol

Monday, March 17th 2014, 7:58 pm
By: News 9

Supporters of repealing the Common Core curriculum in Oklahoma schools made their voices heard loud and clear at the State Capitol Monday afternoon.

Hundreds gathered to protest the teaching standards just after a bill to repeal Common Core recently passed in the house.

With bright green shirts that read 'Common Core is not OK,' a swarm of protesters, like a small green army, invaded the Oklahoma Senate.

From door to door, the sea of Green T-shirts shipped out and sounded off at their Senators to stop Common Core.

"It's indoctrination, not education," grandmother Celia Lanham said.

"I think it's appropriate that we do this on St. Patrick's Day, because St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, and we're trying to drive the federal snakes out of education in Oklahoma," Rose State College math tutor Don Cathey said.

"Think it's best that each state control their own education, and the states that aren't doing well can copy the states that are, instead of one size fits all," Cathey added.

At stake is House Bill 3399 that passed unanimously in the House. It would repeal Common Core and allow Oklahomans to decide school curriculum, not the government.

Lawmakers are on both sides of the argument.

"I believe that we need to take a step back from Common Core," said Senator David Holt. "I think that there's values in high standards, and I support that, but I also believe that we need to go our own way in Oklahoma. We need to return to the idea that education is something governed by local control."

"I oppose Common Core, and just because you don't think that Common Core is the way to get there, doesn't mean you're not for high standards, which I am," Senator Holt added.

3/13/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma House Approves Common Core Repeal

Senate Education Committee Chairman John Ford strongly supports Common Core.

"We've always had standards," said Senator Ford. "This is the next generation of standards. I believe they're good; I believe they are appropriate. I believe in most cases, the Common Core is educationally appropriate."

"Local districts can certainly have higher standards if they want," added Senator Ford. "Nothing stops them from doing that or having local control on textbooks and lesson plans."

Many parents said Common Core isn't working.

"My child is worn out by the time she comes home," said Nikki Fate, a mother of two young girls. "She doesn't have time to go outside and play; she always has homework, and I'm just tired of it. It's just too stressful on my kids."

"I'm concerned for their future," added Fate. "I mean, they're just burned out, so hopefully we'll get it repealed, get it thrown out. We need something else, and I also work at the school, so I see stressed out kids a lot. They're getting stuff shoved down their throats and don't need that."

This vast group of supporters is hoping their impact will help affect the decision for House Bill 3399.

"This is the education of our children, and Common Core is the fundamental transformation of education," said Ronda Vuillemont-Smith of the Tulsa 912 Project. "Our lawmakers need to stand with us, and we'll stand with them."

Oklahoma adopted the Common Core curriculum four years ago to help strengthen and standardize K-12 education nationwide.

The House did pass the repeal Monday evening, so the bill now heads to the Senate.