Raleigh, N.C. — House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on a bill that they say will repeal North Carolina's use of Common Core standards for K-12 education.
Although a formal conference report, which would be the final compromise version of Senate Bill 812, has not yet been filed, negotiators from both chambers said Wednesday that they have reached a deal and described the legislation in the same way.
"It repeals and replaces the Common Core," Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, said, adding that the measure would allow state education officials to pull pieces of the Common Core standards into the new state regime.
Common Core is not a curriculum. Rather, it is a set of guidelines for what students need to know. The state Board of Education and local school systems craft the curriculum needed to teach students to meet those standards.
Developed by a national groups of education officials and the National Governor's Association, Common Core is also backed by business and military leaders, who said the common set of standards will help prepare students for work life. They are also aimed at helping students who move between school systems because the requirements in their old classrooms will be roughly the same as what they will be expected to know in their new classes.
The standards got little attention until President Barack Obama's Education Department embraced them as an exemplar of what states needed to do in order to win grant funding. In the intervening years, a coalition of political conservatives and parents who say they require students to tackle inappropriate topics have urged states to replace Common Core. That pressure came to fruition this year.
The House and Senate both drafted repeal bills in recent weeks. Both bills would have created an Academic Standards Review Commission to review the benchmarks that students in K-12 must meet in order to progress though the public school system and eventually graduate. The recommendations from that commission would then be sent to the State Board of Education for adoption.
The House version of that bill would have prohibited the new commission from using anything having to do with Common Core in the new standards. The Senate version allowed the commission to use pieces of the Common Core, something that made critics of the repeal effort in the business community happier.
Both Tillman and Rep. Bryan Holloway, R-Stokes, say the new commission may uses pieces of Common Core in setting new standards for the state.
"They can take parts of it, but they cannot take it in its entirety," Holloway said.
Tillman said the commission was free to look at whatever "they deem as rigorous and appropriate" for the state.
"They might take a standard or two or whatever from the Common Core, but they're not bound to do that," Tillman said.
Once the conference committee report is formally turned into the House and Senate, both chambers must vote to approve it. It would then go to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature or veto. He has expressed skepticism about the efforts to repeal Common Core.