Education

Common Core curriculum begins third year in NC schools

Posted August 20, 2014 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated August 20, 2014 6:42 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina public school students are back to school and using the Common Core curriculum for the third year.

Lawmakers discussed scrapping it during this legislative session, causing confusion about whether it was still in place, but Common Core is sticking around, at least for now.

Common Core is the current standard course of study for math and English and is designed to force students to think differently.

Tim Gibson, principal of Easley Year-Round Magnet Elementary School in Durham, says the curriculum has caused students to do more thought-provoking, purposeful work. He says students now learn critical thinking and problem solving at a younger age.

“Truly, mastery is not just doing it within the context of the class or the subject matter, but that they’re able to transfer that to something else that’s relevant in their life as well,” he said.

Common Core is a set of nationwide standards that provides plenty of local flexibility.

“It just defines the what that is supposed to be taught, but the how is really designed and developed by the school district and our classroom teachers,” said Stacey Wilson-Norman, Durham Public Schools’ deputy superintendent of academics.

North Carolina lawmakers recently created a commission to review the Common Core curriculum and make recommendations to make it better. Gibson says he believes there is room for improvement.

“There’s certain skills that are maybe not addressed explicitly in the curriculum that need to be examined and filled in,” he said.