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State lawmakers begin hearings on Common Core, anger and frustration ensues

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan

Debate is underway in Lansing about whether to implement a set of state school standards.

A state House panel held its first meeting on Common Core State Standards Tuesday.

Republican Representative Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) grilled state Department of Education officials about Common Core. He says the standards take away local control and were developed and adopted without public input.

Meanwhile, state Superintendent State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is urging lawmakers to go forward with a set of nationwide school standards. Flanagan argues that districts would have final say over standards and curriculum.

“Technically, [districts] don’t even have to follow the Common Core,” Flanagan said. “Now, I think they will. It’s a smart...well thought out set of standards.”

Gov. Rick Snyder also supports adopting the Common Core standards.

"I think the Common Core is a really important opportunity, and I think it's a good thing," Snyder said at a town-hall meeting in May with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. But the governor argued that “politics” is getting in the way of implementation.

Whatever the outcome may be, Flanagan is urging lawmakers to make a decision on Common Core – and fast.

“This has been going on for three years,” Flanagan told the panel. “And it’s very frustrating for teachers out there right now to not know, ‘What am I aligning my lesson plans for, September 3?,’ and they may not even be voting on this until September 30.”

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