Raleigh, N.C. — The Senate voted 33-12 Thursday to replace the controversial Common Core standards for K-12 education in North Carolina, backing a measure that stops short of an outright ban on the national standards.
"It will put these standards in North Carolina's hands," Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, told his colleagues.
Separate versions of the bill had already passed the House and Senate. The House version would have banned any use of Common Core, while the Senate bill would have allowed a new standards commission to pluck pieces of Common Core to use in a new set of state standards.
That ability to use pieces of Common Core remained in the House-Senate compromise bill the Senate adopted Thursday. The House is expected to adopt the measure sometime next week, which would send it to Gov. Pat McCrory.
"They (the Common Core standards) have got some good and rigorous standards, and I'm sure we probably will adopt some," Tillman said when asked by a colleague if the measure would mark a complete repeal.
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 say the common set of standards will help prepare students for work life. They got little attention until President Barack Obama's Education Department embraced them as an example of what states need to do in order to win grant funding.
Since then, a coalition of political conservatives and parents who say the standards require students to tackle inappropriate topics have urged states to replace Common Core. That pressure came to fruition this year with several states, including North Carolina, considering repeal measures.
McCrory had been critical of the repeal effort, but he said Wednesday he had not seen the compromise version of the Common Core repeal bill and would not comment on it.
Most Senate Democrats sided against repeal.
"It introduces instability to our educators at precisely the wrong time," Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, said.
Stein has argued that, after a year or two of adjusting to the new standards, school systems, children and parents are beginning to adapt to the new standards. But Tillman insisted that the Common Core standards demanded too little of high school students and too much of those in elementary grades.
"I believe we're moving in a better direction for North Carolina," Tillman said.