Last month, Oklahoma came one step closer to repealing Common Core, with the state legislature voting in overwhelming fashion to support legislation that would repeal the math and reading standards. The House voted 71-18 to reject the Common Core standards. The Senate then passed the bill 31-10 and sent it to Gov. Mary Fallin (R). Two weeks later, the bill still sits on Fallin’s desk. It should be noted Fallin currently serves as chair of the National Governors Association.
Throughout this fight to repeal Common Core, state and local politicians have joined with concerned parents, teachers, and students to raise awareness about the problems with the standards. Oklahoma State Senator Josh Brecheen received attention after he passionately debated Common Core on the floor of the legislature.
After explaining that Common Core is nothing more than a “grand experiment,” Brecheen read an excerpt from Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye, which contains graphic sexual content. Brecheen was gaveled to silence as he read from the novel, at which point he questioned why this book could be read in Oklahoma schools but on the floor of the legislature.
You can watch Brecheen’s remarks below:
On radio this morning, Brecheen joined Glenn to discuss what comes next in Oklahoma as the people wait to learn the decision of Gov. Fallin.
Brecheen explained he struggled with whether or not he should read the graphic excerpt from the book that deals with the rape of teenage girl. While he didn’t want the reading to distract from his larger point about “the federal overreach that… is behind Common Core,” he ultimately decided it was necessary to share what was being taught in Oklahoma classrooms.
“I thought long and hard about doing that. I asked some people that… I'm in government with to pray with me about whether or not I should do that. I just felt led to do it,” Brecheen said. “I spent a good portion of my debate talking about the issue of federal overreach and the developing inappropriate standards and the chaos in New York, and I went through a plethora of other issues of Common Core. But I think ending on that was trying to say, if there's smoke, there's fire. Don't think that there's not a liberal agenda behind this when this is recommended in the classroom as one of the text exemplars of Common Core.”
Not only did the bill to repeal Common Core pass the House and Senate convincingly, polling shows the people of Oklahoma are also largely in favor of abolishing the standards. As Brecheen explained, however, the media in the state is advocating for Common Core and reporting false information about what will happen if the standards are repealed.
“The two largest newspapers are writing it from the posture of pandering fear of the sky's going to fall if [Fallin] signs this bill into law… We don't lose federal funding,” Brecheen explained. “What they're talking about is, if we lose the waiver, we would lose flexibility – not dollars – flexibility over how we spend $27 million, which, by the way… is less than 1% of our total expenditure on common education in the state… The waiver is about control. And I think Oklahoma, if we will free ourselves from this fear, I think it will encourage and embolden other states to follow suit.”
If you are interested in learning more about Oklahoma’s fight, Brecheen encouraged listeners to visit RightlyConcerned.org and send a note to Gov. Fallin explaining why you are opposed to Common Core. On the site, you can also access the contact information for Fallin’s office.
“Josh, thank you very much,” Glenn concluded. “I appreciate standing up and everybody that is standing up in Oklahoma. You're not alone.”