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State Lawmakers Assert Influence Over Standards

Resentful that a massive wave of common-standards adoptions four years ago bypassed their chambers and subjected them to intense political heat, state lawmakers are taking steps to claim some of the authority that state boards of education have traditionally held over academic standards.

In just the past year and a half, 10 states have enacted laws that place new restrictions or specifications on how state boards may adopt academic expectations. Altogether, 50 bills have been introduced in 22 states during that time period that seek to change the procedures by which standards are developed, reviewed, or adopted, according to a special analysis conducted for Education Week by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state legislative activity.

Many such measures died in committee, but others signaled strong political support by advancing through one or both chambers. When bills succeeded in becoming law, they were nearly always in Republican-controlled states.