The issue of Common Core returns to the Senate as the Education Committee passes a House bill Thursday to repeal the contentious standards. Representative Mark Finchem’s bill, H-B 2190, establishes a steering committee to help develop new standards with public input and a system of continual review.

Finchem, an Oro Valley Republican tells the committee his opposition to Common Core is not a sign he’s against rigorous standards for students. He says parents and teachers are getting shoved out of the process, even to the point of a monitor coming to classrooms and telling teachers they’re not doing their job right. Finchem says, a more insidious aspect to Common Core is the “data mining” of student information for, he fears, nefarious purposes by the Federal government.

But pro-common core advocates opposing the bill say Common Core helps develop a child’s critical thinking and establishes a much needed uniform educational standard for the country. Ex State Schools Superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan, testifying against the bill, says she’s not one for blindly jumping on any kind of bandwagon. But she adds, “these are high quality standards. They’re helping us get better.”  Some teachers supporting the system say there’s a new vibrancy in their classrooms as students begin grasping the rationale of what they learn.

The effort to repeal Common Core appeared to be doomed as the Senate snuffed out such a bill in February.  The legislation heads next to the Senate Rules Committee.

–Barbara Villa