Common Core Decision Has Minor Delay, Lt. Governor Prefers Testing Settled First

Jun 30, 2015

Lt. Governor Tim Griffin (R) speaking in the rotunda of the Arkansas Capitol in the spring of 2015.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin said the Council on Common Core Review will not issue recommendations as early as he had hoped but a report will still be compiled “well in advance” of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s early fall deadline.

In a June 8 joint meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees Griffin told lawmakers he wanted to have a report from the council completed by the end of June.

The Republican lieutenant governor told KUAR on Tuesday that he personally hopes to have the issue of finding a year-end assessment, to replace PARCC, resolved before the recommendation process is concluded.

“I would like to see the testing issue settled before we engaged in another debate. But that’s just my personal preference that is not related to the, as far as I know, council members’ desire,” said Griffin.

Griffin, who chairs the governor’s review of Common Core, said the sole reason for the delay amounts to mundane scheduling issues within the 16 member council comprised of educators, parents, and businessman.

“There were several council members who suggested, just suggested, that we physically get in a room as opposed to being on a telephone. I have tried to accommodate every request. Nobody objected to that, I thought it was eminently reasonable, and I pointed out that it would delay us a little bit because we’d have to schedule it,” said Griffin.

The state Board of Education, which holds authority for approving year-end tests, meets July 9. It previously rejected the Common Core council’s first recommendation, backed by the governor, to switch from PARCC to ACT Aspire in a 7-1 vote.

The terms of three state board members have since expired and Governor Hutchinson has promised new appointments by the July meeting. The Republican governor has also recently called for opening up bidding, or a request for proposal, for test providers to replace PARCC.

The annual test is intended to be a means of comparing students across the state and country and is oriented to a common set of education standards known as Common Core. The governor recently cited a memorandum of understanding signed by his predecessor, Democrat Mike Beebe, as a means to use executive authority to opt out of PARCC despite objections in the state Board of Education.