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Attempt to repeal Common Core a step backward for Ohio and its children

Chambers testify today against HB 597, Common Core repeal bill

COLUMBUS – Repealing Common Core is a misguided effort that would damage educational efforts to prepare our children for a highly complex, ultra-competitive future, according to business leaders from across the state.

Joe Roman, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) – the largest chamber of commerce in Ohio and one of the largest in the nation – today testified against House Bill 597 – which would eliminate the learning standards.

Roman testified before the Ohio House Rules and Reference Committee on behalf of the GCP and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

“On behalf of the five chambers, we firmly believe that Ohio would be moving backwards by rejecting the New Learning Standards,” Roman said. “These higher, more rigorous standards are a significant improvement over the previous standards.”

“And because they place greater emphasis on reading and writing, as well as critical thinking and depth of knowledge in contrast to memorization, the new standards will drive improvements to the quality of education that Ohio’s children – and our future employees – need and deserve,” he added.

The new standards were adopted by Ohio’s State Board of Education in 2010. Repealing those standards now would be extremely disruptive to Ohio’s school districts, which have invested considerable time and money on the implementation of the standards.

Common Core was developed collaboratively by state education leaders, governors, teachers and education experts from 45 states. The standards were not developed at the direction of the federal government.

These new standards replaced previous learning standards in Ohio that did not align with the demands of college and the workplace. The outcome was low academic expectations that resulted in too many students not being college-ready. These sobering statistics underscore the inadequacy of those previous standards:

• Just 27% of Ohio’s fourth graders passed the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading exam in 2011, compared to 83% who passed Ohio’s reading exam.

• Nearly a third of Ohio’s high school graduates – 31% -- who took the ACT exam met none of the college-ready benchmarks.

• Of Ohio’s public high school students entering college, 41% must take at least one remedial course in English or Math.

“As business organizations, we know that a critical concern for employers is to have a strong pipeline of qualified, competent and highly-skilled employees,” Roman said. “While we acknowledge there are many other steps to that goal, we believe Ohio’s new learning standards, which include common core, are the foundation for student success, providing the academic baseline to succeed in college, career and life. We urge you to join us in opposing HB 597.”

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About the Greater Cleveland Partnership
The Greater Cleveland Partnership mobilizes private-sector leadership, expertise and resources to create attractive business conditions that create jobs, grow investment and improve the economic prosperity of the region. www.gcpartnership.com .