NC panel starts revision of Common Core standards

Posted September 22, 2014

— As part of legislation repealing the controversial Common Core academic standards in North Carolina public schools, a new state commission began the process Monday of reviewing math and English language targets for students to devise a new system of standards.

The Academic Standards Review Commission has a year to come up with standards to recommend to the State Board of Education. The Common Core standards started to show up in classrooms two years ago and will stay in place until any changes are finalized.

A national organization of state school officers and the National Governors Association developed the Common Core standards, which the federal government encouraged states to accept with potential grant money as an incentive. Forty-four states and Washington, D.C., adopted them, with North Carolina one of the earliest to sign on. Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Missouri have since decided to rewrite the Common Core standards.

North Carolina has spent more than $66 million to train teachers on the standards, which are supposed to focus on key concepts and help students understand how to apply them in real-life situations, State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson said.

But Common Core became a target for conservatives, who called it a federal takeover of local education. It also angered some parents, who said the standards were inappropriate in several areas.

"I'm hopeful that the standards will remain strong and any issues with age-appropriateness standards, that those would be the ones that would be addressed," said Phil Kirk, a Republican business leader who headed the state school board for six years under former Democratic Govs. Jim Hunt and Mike Easley. "We've spent tens of millions of dollars developing the standards and training teachers and it will be frustrating if we have to start all over on that."

House members wanted to prohibit the commission from even considering any element of Common Core as the new standards are drawn up, but they eventually agreed with the Senate version of the legislation that could allow the panel to include some Common Core standards in the rewrite.

Still, Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, warned the 11 commissioners on Monday that lawmakers don't want "just a rehash" of Common Core.

"If we didn't want something different, we wouldn't need you all in this room today," said Tillman, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. "I want North Carolina to own its standards. I want North Carolina to own its curriculum. I want North Carolina to own its assessments."

Bill Cobey, chairman of the State Board of Education and a member of the commission, said standards don't dictate curriculum, and he asked that recommendations be based on data, not the emotional debates that led to the repeal legislation.

"My hope is that we will objectively evaluate these standards and make modifications where needed, but do it on the basis of facts and research, not emotions," Cobey said. "I believe we should insist, as best we are able, that those who testify before this commission be required to back up their testimony with solid evidence."

Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, told commissioners that they need to raise the bar for North Carolina students but cautioned against "policy whiplash."

"We've got to make sure a North Carolina high school diploma means something in the world," Horn said. "Our kids are depending on you."

IBM executive Andre Peek of Wake County and longtime Forsyth County school board member Jeannie Metcalf were named co-chairmen of the commission.

The law directs the commission to survey parents, teachers and others on new standards, which need to be submitted to the state education board by the end of 2015. The commission also could hold town hall meetings.


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  • miseem Sep 23, 2014

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    That may be due to the teacher, not the curriculum. I've seen my grandkids docked a grade or two for similar teacher excuses well before CC came around.

  • housemanagercary Sep 23, 2014

    The problem with CC is not how fast the information is presented, its how they want cross-over in courses. Doing Art and Technology projects for every single subject and having only History and Politics topics covered in Literature is just too much. My daughter just got a D on a History project because it wasn't "creative and colorful" enough although all content was accurate and relevent. She's not an artsy student but she's graded on these things in History, Math, and Spanish!

  • iopsyc Sep 23, 2014

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    You also need to look at the standards. They are not lesser than the previous set of standards, they are much better.

    The conservative Fordham Institute reviewed the old standards in each state and the (at the time) new Common Core standards. They gave the pre-existing NC standards in English and Mathematics a "D", while at the same time rating the Common Core standards as "B+" and "A-", respectively.

  • tracmister Sep 23, 2014

    Jerry Tillman is the wrong man involved with anything to do with education. If some people are out in left field, he is lost in the parking lot.

  • SaveEnergyMan Sep 23, 2014

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    You need to go back to school. They are not federal standard and weren't created by the feds (http://www.corestandards.org). There is federal money available if states use them, and that is a sort of bribery with our own tax money.

    Since test scores went way down with the CC standards (half of 7th graders FAILED the math test), I think they are HARDER than our previous standards, rather than easier. Of course, if at first you don't succeed - lower your standards.

  • Danny22 Sep 23, 2014

    Common core is an attempt to give federal control over schools. We have always had educational standards at state and local levels. The difference is that Common Core is "FEDERAL." Common Core dumbs down our standards, but then maybe that is why the feds want to do this. We should not be tied to mediocre standards.

  • iopsyc Sep 23, 2014

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    If he wants to reduce the amount of tests a 3rd grader takes, he can start by asking the GA to repeal their Read to Achieve law.

  • short Sep 23, 2014

    Dear committee , please remember that as you revise the 'common joke core' system - that 2 + 2 = 4................there is no other answer........ not even one that 'feels' good.

  • jnc67 Sep 23, 2014

    If you want good standards you need to ask professional educators to write them.

    I am a teacher. We have great standards. They are called Common Core.

  • Dat MoFo Sep 22, 2014

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    How could your son have gone through k-3 under CC then went through 4th and 5th grade in Texas when the CC standards were not used in North Carolina until two years ago?