Common Core commission: Standards could be simpler

Posted October 21, 2014

A state commission in charge of reworking the Common Core academic standards has begun reviewing them.

Members spent hours on Monday learning what's expected under Common Core in terms of English and language arts. Some of those goals include when students should know how to explain their ideas or comprehend certain texts.

The 11 members were politically appointed to review and possibly make changes to the academic standards after lawmakers heard complaints from parents and teachers that they do not progress in a natural or developmentally appropriate way.

“Our kids are not common,” said Jeannie Metcalf, co-chair of the commission and long-time Forsyth County school board member. “They are different and they may not be able to achieve some of these higher level expectations."

Metcalf and others explained that some of the standards may need to be rearranged without lowering the bar for students.

“I don’t think any of us want to lower the bar,” said Jeffrey Isenhour, a principal from Catawba County. “There needs to be some alignment, things have to make sense in terms of how students learn.”

Other members shared concerns about the readability of the standards, arguing that they were written in a convoluted way.

“I do not see how this material is clear to the average parent. My suspicion is that they need to be simplified somehow,” said John Schieck, a retired professor from Wake County.

North Carolina was one of the first states to sign onto Common Core a few years ago.

The standards were developed by organizations made up of governors and school officials. The two groups insist that the development of the standards was state-led and included insight from educators and experts.

Commission members have until next year to consult experts and other stakeholders before making any final recommendations to the State Board of Education. At next month’s meeting, the group will review the math standards.

Officials say any changes to the standards would not go into effect until 2016, at the earliest.

This report first appeared on WUNC/North Carolina Public Radio as part of their education coverage.

Reema Khrais is the 2014 Fletcher Fellow focused on Education Policy Reporting. The Fletcher Fellowship is a partnership between WUNC
and UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication funded in part by the Fletcher Foundation.


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  • AppStgrad Oct 21, 2014

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    If you don't think teaching is a 'specialized' job you should go spend an hour in a classroom. Your mind would be BLOWN!

  • Bill Mooney Oct 21, 2014
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    I agree. The kids are learning math in a smarter way but it seems foreign to us as parents. It requires that we learn and understand what our children are doing. That's not wrong.

  • Brian Jenkins Oct 21, 2014

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    You do not need a degree in medicine to teach your kid how to read and do math. You are proof of why we need more homeschooling. Its for the BASICS not a specialized job.

  • Doug Pawlak Oct 21, 2014
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  • arfamr1010 Oct 21, 2014

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    Kids need to learn basic addition and subtraction!! Not some 30 step process to find out that 200-73=127

  • bill0 Oct 21, 2014

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    Yeah. And let some "doctor" take care of their medical needs. And some "dentist" take care of their teeth. And some "coach" teach them team sports. And some "musician" teach them to play an instrument.

  • Jack Miller Oct 21, 2014
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    It really does make better sense. Too bad people don't take the time to understand it before just bashing it.

  • Brian Jenkins Oct 21, 2014

    Homeschooling has never looked so good. Ive never understood why people have children to let some stranger "teach" them.

  • oakcity Oct 21, 2014

    Thanks to CC, my 2nd grader has a better comprehension of algebra than I did when I was in high school. When she gets to high school she will fully understand the principals of algebra and geometry and not have the rough road that a lot of us had in advanced math.

  • iopsyc Oct 21, 2014

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    For what it's worth the tests will remain even if you replace the Common Core standards. The tests are required as part of State and Federal laws, grants, and/or waivers from regulations.