Local Districts Could Lose Federal Dollars Over Common Core Standards Debate

Oct 3, 2013

Michigan education officials say the state risks losing more than a billion dollars of federal school funding as the state Senate debates a set of nationwide school standards.

The state budget that took effect this week bars the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) from spending any money to implement the Common Core standards.

MDE officials say the federal dollars are only awarded to states that have adopted acceptable standards. Michigan chose to implement Common Core three years ago, with relatively little fanfare.

MDE Deputy Superintendent for Education Services Vanessa Keesler says it would take another three or four years to start over with another set of standards.

"So we've been on a path toward implementation that's been halted when we're mid-stream, and that is what is challenging," Keelser said after testifying at a joint Senate committee hearing on the issue Wednesday.

"The longer-term impact is that, if we can't stay compliant with federal law, it's roughly a billion dollars that starts to come into question if we can't show that we're implementing standards - state adopted standards," said Keesler. "In the long run, it's a sizeable chunk of Michigan's education budget and it would impact the lowest-income districts the most."

Common Core opponents say it strips local control and has not been proven to boost student performance.

The state House passed a resolution last week in favor of reinstating funding for the standards.

State Sen. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City), who chairs the Senate Appropriations K-12, School Aid and Education Subcommittee, says he's not sure if or when the Senate might act on the issue.