Gov. Fallin must decide this week to sign or veto legislation repealing Common Core
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Published: 02-Jun-2014

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Mary Fallin faces a deadline of June 7 to decide whether to sign or veto bills passed in the closing days of the 2014 legislative session. The most weighty matter still on her desk is the fate of the Common Core standards.

Activists for both sides of the Common Core debate have flooded Fallin's office with phones calls, emails, letters and petitions since the Legislature adjourned on May 23.

Previously a supporter of Common Core, Fallin has joined critics in many particulars over the past year, going so far as to issue an executive order last fall stressing the state would not use federal mandates in state curriculum design.

Fallin has declined to say if she will sign House Bill 3399. Indeed, she invited the input offered in recent days from across the political spectrum.

Friday, Fallin met quietly with three conservatives who played leading roles in the broad coalition that has opposed Common Core with mounting intensity over the past three years. Complicating the situation for Fallin is the fact that her opponent in the November election, state Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, has opposed the Common Core from the start and is allied with conservatives in this matter.

Monday, a leading national analyst from Fordham University and Fallin's former Cabinet Secretary of Education, Phyllis Hudecki, will hold a briefing for reporters at the state Capitol, at which they will restate their case in favor of the standards, asserting that repeal could cost Oklahoma federal education dollars. 

One of the most contentious education policy issues of recent decades in the Sooner State, Common Core would be repealed if H.B. 3399 is enacted into law. The measure sailed through both chambers of the Legislature on the last day of session.

Passions against the national curriculum, which passed in Oklahoma in 2010, are so intense that many legislators say they want to return in special session to override the governor if she chooses to veto the legislation. 

The trio of Common Core critics who met with Fallin on Friday would not give details of their session with Fallin, other than to confirm they submitted a petition against the standards signed by  thousands of people.

In the meeting with the governor were Bunny Chambers, past president of Oklahoma Eagle Forum and a former Republican National committee woman, Carolyn McLarty, current RNC member, and Holly Gerard, vice chairman of Bryan County Republicans. 

In a statement, Chambers said, ““We need to get our public schools out of the grip of the federal government and back to local control. Parents, teachers, citizens and business leaders from across Oklahoma support academic excellence and want standards that reflect the values and goals of Oklahomans, not a nationalized standard that eliminates local control of our schools.”

A veto would assure continuing conflict over the development of education policy standards in the state. State Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, customarily a Fallin ally, worked with Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, to design the new legislation.

The measure would establish a two-year cycle for design and to start implementation of Oklahoma-based standards.

You may contact Pat at pmcguigan@watchdog.org

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