State school board OKs new standards for reading, math

Posted June 3, 2010

— The state Board of Education on Thursday unanimously approved new universal standards for reading and math classes in public schools, becoming the fifth state in the nation to do so.

North Carolina is part of a 48-state consortium that is working toward developing and adopting the "Common Core" standards for grades K-12 to help improve analytical thinking.

The nationwide goal is to build a stronger education system, where students, regardless of where they live, receive the same quality of education.

State school board OKs new education standards State school board OKs new education standards

"We can have greater assurance that our students are college- and career-ready and that they are able to compete and collaborate with anyone in the world," state school Superintendent June Atkinson said.

Participating in a discussion with Gov. Bev Perdue in Durham on federal funding to save teaching jobs, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday that school curricula have become watered down, partly because of politics, and have not been fair for children.

The new standards, he said, will focus on critical-thinking skills and not "just filling in the blanks."

"We've been dumbing down standards," he said. "While that works, politically, short-term, it doesn't help children. It doesn't help the economy."

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison said that the state plans to adopt more national standards within the next two years.

Under the changes, which will take effect in 2012, he said parents and students would see more "rigorous" testing standards, as well as an "authentic" way of learning, with a curriculum that deals with real-world problems.

"One of the big changes we hope to see is that youngsters will see a bigger connection between the stuff they are learning in school and the stuff they experience outside," Harrison said.

Educators who have seen the new curriculum standards say they are not too different from the state's current standards.

Kristy Moore, with the Durham chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said the new ones compress state standards to make them more user-friendly and better to work with.

"From the state level of our association, we had voices on the State Board of Education, and from what we have seen, there really are no concerns at this time," Moore said.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, who has long overseen academic performance in the state's public schools, called the new standards "wonderful."

"The national standard is something that just makes nothing but good sense," he said. "The children in California and the children in North Carolina are going to be learning the same thing."


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  • kittiboo Jun 3, 2010

    I don't know what this will do for testing, as I'm sure, for now, states will continue to set their own tests and requirements. But at least they'll all be tested on the same stuff.

    And, I must say, I hope that somewhere in the reading standards they have included GRAMMAR!!!

  • kittiboo Jun 3, 2010

    I'm not sure some of you understand what "standards" are. The standards dictate WHAT is to be taught. Right now, in some states, students may learn about plants, the sun and stars, and the skeletal system in 3rd grade in science (for example). In another state, in the same grade, they may do nutrition, weather and basic chemistry (again, for example). These new standards would dictate that ALL 3rd graders learn the same things. I use science as an example because I am familiar with science curriculum. But the same holds true for reading and math- some states may teach measurement in 1st grade and others in Kindergarten. Some may do poetry in 2nd and others in 4th. Hopefully you can see the value of all students in the country learning the same things at the same time.

  • tiggerjd3 Jun 3, 2010

    Another waste. NC is always jumping to new things, and not thinking about the students. Go back to the CAT test which actually measures unlike the EOG which is pass or fail.

  • celong Jun 3, 2010

    How about flunking them in elementary school when they can't perform instead of passing them on.

  • adrienne09 Jun 3, 2010

    As a teacher I would not mind having a universal curriculum between states as long as it is followed by all. It is very frustrating when you get a student who is very behind from another state and you have to play catch up with that child. Time would be better spent if student were at least close to being on the same levels as other students in the classroom.

    As far as testing is concerned, we put way to much emphasis on EOC's and EOG's. When teachers are expected to teach to the test, instead of teaching so that students can master skills needed to learn, there is a problem.

  • clynns1014 Jun 3, 2010

    I teach and I'm actually okay with this national standard thing. The main reason is that the state does have its own standards but the counties have a lot of flexibility. Each county runs things as they are their own state. Here's where the problem lies with where things are now. Throughout the year many students transfer to my school. often when they come into my school/county they are far behind our students. This is because each county differs so much from their expectations and I happen to teach in a county where the standards are very high. The rate of transfer students who do not pass in my county is ridiculous. With national standards it will be more "across the board" throughout the states but also the counties. This keeps everyone on track and will give more direct guidance as to where students are expected to be. As for testing, there will always be testing and honestly this will probably bring more testing and a lot more stress on teachers. However, that's just how it is.

  • Plenty Coups Jun 3, 2010

    "The problem with current testing is WHEN they test. For Traditional schools, it's about a month before the end of school to do EOG's so the "have time to retest". This way the kids waste a whole month learning nothing."

    How right you are Mako. Its all about getting those scores up. Meanwhile, learning ceases, especially for those kids who passed the test.

  • mscook78 Jun 3, 2010

    this is all a good step forward but what about the students now...the kids that come to high school only reading on a 3rd grade level, cant do basic do we do this when we dont even have enough books for just a single class. how do we get rid of the covers ups, the passing kids along because 'we care' about them syndrome...what about those kids with special needs that are underserved, the kids who have IEP's that are being followed...what about these kids...

  • heelrox Jun 3, 2010

    Will the Governor and the Legislature be required to read and do math also?

  • hollylama Jun 3, 2010

    "One of the big changes we hope to see is that youngsters will see a bigger connection between the stuff they are learning in school and the stuff they experience outside"...the things you learn in school were applicable to the real world until the technology boom. If all students aren't learning using the same advantaged technology then a standardized cirriculum is moot!