DENVER (AP) — State legislators and parents were among those debating a proposal for Colorado to retreat from the Common Core educational standards, one of a slew of school-reform bills being considered Thursday.

Senator Vicki Marble, a Republican from northern Colorado, hosted a news conference with parents who support her Common Core proposal before heading into the Education Committee meeting where it was the focus of public comment. Marble told The Associated Press that she had tried to delay Common Core with legislation that was defeated last year.

“What we want to do this year is just repeal it,” she said.

The roll-out this year in Colorado and other states of tests linked to the Common Core standards has been met with accusations it will lead to a loss of local control, and such concerns were raised passionately before the committee on Thursday. The federally backed initiative originated with the states and is aimed at ensuring high school graduates are ready for careers and college.

Others argued that backing away from Common Core would mean throwing away years of work to reform education. Chuck Ward of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce spoke on behalf of its members and other business leaders against Marble’s proposal.

“We believe it undermines the incredible progress we’ve made on teacher accountability and standards for our kids,” Ward said. Strong assessments enable parents to track their children’s progress and address any problems before they have to pay for catch-up classes when they enroll in college, he said. More than a third of 2012 high school graduates had to take such classes in at least one subject, according to the latest report from Colorado’s Department of Higher Education.

Other bills before the Education Committee on Thursday address calls for reducing state-mandated testing. Parents, educators and lawmakers say that while assessments are necessary to track the progress of students, teachers, schools and districts, they now take away too much teaching time.

By Donna Bryson, AP Writer

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