Common Core rollback heads to governor

Posted July 16, 2014

Classroom generic

— North Carolina lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to move toward throwing out the national education standards known as Common Core.

Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement minutes after the vote, saying he'll sign it. 

The standards were adopted by the state several years ago. But their implementation in the 2012-13 school year angered some parents, who said they were inappropriate in several areas. For the past year, those critics have been pushing lawmakers to repeal the standards.  

House lawmakers voted 71-34 to approve a bill that creates a new state commission to review the state's educational standards and recommend the replacement of any inappropriate or faulty Common Core standards with new ones.

An earlier House version of the proposal would have banned the commission from keeping any Common Core standards.

The compromise version more closely follows the Senate version, which allows the commission to choose the best standard in any given area, whether it's from Common Core or another system. The Common Core standards will remain in place for the next school year while the review is underway.

The commission will be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders.

Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, said it is the state's "right and obligation" to set its own educational standards, rather than adhering to a national system.

“We’re not taking anything off the table to access the best ideas in the country to ensure we have the best academic standards,” Horn told his fellow state lawmakers. 

Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, herself an educator, spoke against the bill.

"We’ve invested a lot of time, we’ve invested a lot of money" in the transition to Common Core, she said. "I think this sends a bad message to teachers, to parents, to students about what happens next." 

She noted that many pushing for the repeal blamed President Barack Obama for Common Core, even though the effort was actually marshaled by the nation's governors under the leadership of Florida Republican Jeb Bush.

"Sadly, this issue was made extremely political in the last few years," Cotham said. "Why are we really doing this? Is it really to better education, or is it more political in nature?"

Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Carteret, countered that the repeal "is not a partisan issue."

"Even the Democrats' children are coming home with Common Core homework,"  Speciale said, adding that throwing out Common Core was essential to maintain the state's "sovereignty." 

"The entire Common Core program needs to be replaced," he said. "The bottom line is, it’s a terrible system."

Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, called the measure “a victory for the people of North Carolina,” noting that the push to throw out the standards “came from the parents.”

"What we have done is respond to the concerns of the parents of this state who want the best for their children," Starnes said.  

Repeal, replace, or review? 

The next stop for the proposal, titled "Replace Common Core standards," is the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory, who has already said he'll sign it.

McCrory has supported Common Core in the past. Just last month, he said the push to repeal the standards "is not a smart move," but he acknowledged that some may need to be reviewed and corrected.  

He also expressed concern that the changes could lower the state's standards – the same argument made by the North Carolina Chamber, which opposed the initial legislation.

However, McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis was quick to point out Wednesday that the final version of the bill doesn't actually repeal any standards. Instead, the commission would recommend changing some standards, and the State Board of Education would have to vote to enact the recommendations. 

A statement from the governor's office shortly after the vote echoes that sentiment, calling it the "Common Core review bill." 

"I will sign this bill because it does not change any of North Carolina’s education standards. It does initiate a much-needed, comprehensive and thorough review of standards," the statement quotes McCrory as saying.

"No standards will change without the approval of the State Board of Education. I especially look forward to the recommendations that will address testing issues so we can measure what matters most for our teachers, parents and students," the governor added.

The Chamber also issued a statement praising the final version of the bill.

"This is a significant step toward a reasonable approach to make standards higher," Chief Executive Lew Ebert said in a statement, "and our top priority is pushing for the absolute best academic standards for the state."

However, advocates of a repeal of Common Core were equally quick to claim victory. 

Senate bill sponsor Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, tweeted after the vote, "Senate Bill 812 heads to the Governor. Repeals #CommonCore and puts NC in charge of our own standards."

Conservative blogger A.P. Dillon tweeted, "NCGA passes Common Core repeal bill, heads to Governor."  


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  • George Costanza Jul 23, 2014
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    I am one teacher who is and was against Common Core. By the way, their is no "teachers union". We have no collective bargaining abilities sheesh, know the difference between a union and an organization.

  • Terry Watts Jul 17, 2014
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    Failure in schools indeed. Look up "cronyism". Now explain to us how its possible for a person that gets elected to a public office through a general election is an political appointee...

    You're a "puppet", so ready up to point the finger at the Left that you would willingly ignore the gross violations of our Republic by your own Party...

  • icdmbpppl Jul 17, 2014

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    Where were your comments against cronyism when the democrats controlled everything? Double standard?

  • stymieindurham Jul 17, 2014

    It has gotten to the point that I am suspicious of ANYTHING the teachers and their union push.

  • Jenn Scott Jul 17, 2014
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    The funny thing is, what most people complain about is testing. Testing is going to stay here whether we use CCSS or some other standards. NC standards were so bad before that 8th graders were being held to standards that now 2nd graders are held to in some subjects! Most people had an issue with math, not the literacy or college and career readiness standards. I'm thinking we'll see changes in math and that most other standards will stay the same for ELA. I've worked extensively with the ELA standards and they are good, solid standards. It's the implementation that's an issue with some teachers who refuse to change their way of teaching, that clearly isn't working.

  • Charlie Watkins Jul 17, 2014
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    How does this affect the teachers getting a raise?

    Isn't that what public education is all about?

  • Dee Sides Jul 16, 2014
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    Schools have always followed state mandated standards. The common core standards were written in long, drawn out terms many of which were redundant. Going back to straight forward, concisely written standards will be useful. Now state testing...that is another whole ball of wax. Hopefully, NC will steer away from the Pearson monopoly and test with a normed exam which is truly written on the students' levels rather than 2 levels above the grade being tested. Can't wait to see the results from the new tests from 2014.

  • nbw68 Jul 16, 2014

    I am glad it's going in the trash where it belongs. Thanks to Common Core and the shape our schools are in my daughter now hates school. She did not ask for severe vision problems and learning disabilities and this program allowed her to be left behind
    Even more so this year. The school system and program failed my child this year. No more, enrolling her in Home school.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 16, 2014

    After going and reading the foundation of Common Core, I'd say it's not a problem within them but is a problem of how they were applied within NC, something I would have no trouble believing at all, cause when it comes to NC, especially education in NC, every "authority" has to have their finger in it, even if what their stirring in is muddying the pot.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 16, 2014

    If repealed, then what standards will be followed in NC classrooms?
    Since teaching cursive handwriting was left up to teachers to decide to do or not, leaving scores (probably thousands) of students graduating from our high schools printing, I'm just wondering.