“Obviously, you have bought into the misinformation campaign being waged by opponents of the Common Core,” Ohio Rep. Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster) sneered in a letter to Washington County GOP Chair Leslie Haas.
“I urge you to do more than just scratch the surface of the misinformation being spread by Glen [sic] Beck and other naysayers to what I believe to be the most significant improvement in education standards in the history of the State of Ohio,” continued Stebelton, the chairman of the Ohio House Education Committee.
Rep. Stebelton wrote Haas in reply to her recent letter informing him that the Washington County Republican Party Executive Committee had adopted the April 2013 Republican National Committee (RNC) resolution against the Common Core State Standards.
Stebelton’s letter to Haas, a copy of which was provided to Media Trackers, suggested that the top-ranking education official in the Ohio House was unfamiliar with the language approved by the RNC more than a year ago.
“Despite what your resolution states, there is nothing in the Common Core Standard which places a ‘nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement,'” Stebelton wrote, quoting from both the Washington County GOP and RNC resolutions opposing Common Core.
“As a first step toward further informing yourself I would encourage you to go to The Common Core Standards website and actually read what The Common Core State Standards really are,” Rep. Stebelton’s letter concluded.
“I have both read many articles, critiques, and testimonies on the Common Core issue, and I have attended house hearings, public forums, and other discussions on such, including one hearing that Rep. Stebelton reluctantly held on Rep. Andy Thompson’s bill before the Ohio House Education Committee,” Haas told Media Trackers.
The Washington County GOP chairwoman added, “Stebelton’s implication that I am taking my marching orders from Glenn Beck couldn’t be more wrong!”
Washington County is at least the sixth Ohio county where local Republican leaders have formally passed RNC’s anti-Common Core resolution, following Hamilton County, Clermont County, Warren County, Greene County, and Guernsey County.
As the chair of the House Education Committee, Stebelton has prevented Common Core repeal legislation House Bill 237 (HB 237) from receiving a vote and advancing to the floor of the Ohio House.
House Assistant Majority Floor Leader John Adams (R-Sidney) is currently circulating a discharge petition for HB 237, which will force a floor vote if Adams and HB 237 sponsor Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) can gather 50 representatives’ signatures.
Ohio signed on to Common Core under Democrat Governor Ted Strickland in order to receive additional federal funding, but Stebelton’s support for Common Core is backed by Republican Governor John Kasich.
Rep. Stebelton, Gov. Kasich, and other Ohio Republican Party leaders in Columbus have remained supportive of Common Core even as opposition has mounted among parents, teachers, and taxpayers throughout the state.
Waving off this disconnect in a May radio interview, Kasich falsely asserted that the national Common Core State Standards are “written by local school districts.”
The complete text of Stebelton’s letter to Haas follows.
Dear Ms. Haas:
I wish to thank you for your recent letter and resolution concerning The Common Core Education Standards. Obviously, you have bought into the misniformation campaign being waged by opponents of the Common Core.
I urge you to do more than just scratch the surface of the misinformation being spread by Glen [sic] Beck and other naysayers to what I believe to be the most significant improvement in education standards in the history of the State of Ohio.
Despite what your resolution states, there is nothing in the Common Core Standard which places a “nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement.” To the contrary, the standards merely set forth what every child should know at the end of each grade level of their education in math and reading. How that is achieved through curriculum and teaching methods is left entirely up to the local school district and individual teachers within each district.
As we continue to confront the dilemma of Ohio’s failed education system which currently ill prepares our students for college (40% reach college requiring remediation in math and English), the Common Core sets higher standards and challenges our children to do better than what our educational system has demanded of them in the past.
As a first step toward further informing yourself I would encourage you to go to The Common Core Standards website and actually read what The Common Core State Standards really are.
Very truly yours,
Gerald L. Stebelton