Panel says Common Core needs major revisions for NC schools

Posted August 17, 2015 6:28 p.m. EDT

— A state panel charged with revamping academic standards for North Carolina schools said Monday that, while it's too early to say whether the Common Core standards will be scrapped, keeping the national system will require a major overhaul.

The Academic Standards Review Commission is expected to make a recommendation to state lawmakers by December, but the co-chairs said the reading, writing and math standards need to be changed to work.

"There will be changes. There’s no debate about the need for change," commission Co-Chairman Andre Peek said.

"This is something that should have been done prior to the adoption of Common Core," Co-Chairwoman Tammy Covil said.

The standards were adopted by the state several years ago, but their implementation in the 2012-13 school year angered some parents, who said they were inappropriate in several areas. Critics pressed lawmakers to repeal the standards, but they last year created the review commission to find the most appropriate academic standards for North Carolina students.

Common Core backers say the rigorous standards improve education and make North Carolina competitive by producing a workforce that can solve problems. But commission members agree with opponents that the standards are unclear, repetitive and developmentally inappropriate.

Academic therapist Carole Ardizzone, who was invited to speak to the commission as an expert, said Common Core sets students up for failure.

"The standards are totally off base," said Ardizzone, co-founder of Brookstone Schools, a Christian school in Charlotte. "They’re not rigorous; they’re outrageous."

She cited a first-grade standard that asks 6-year-olds to "write an opinion piece and supply a reason for that opinion."

Ardizzone advocates "neurological-based learning," which she said is rooted in beginning with the basics and taking baby steps to build a foundation slowly and solidly.

"If we want children who are good at science math and linguistics by high school, you’re not going to get it by taking high school standards and breaking it down and feeding it to a kindergartner," she said. "You have to start with what a kindergartner can learn."