Common Core education standards for students in North Carolina’s public schools, in its current form, is in all likelihood history, under a bill recently signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory.
While Senate Bill 812 doesn’t specifically call for the complete dissembling and replacement of Common Core, it calls for the creation of a state commission to review and recommend any changes deemed necessary to the Common Core education standards, which were first implemented in 2012-13.
“It (the bill) does not change any of North Carolina’s education standards,” McCrory stated in a press release prior to signing the bill into law. “It does initiate a much-needed, comprehensive and thorough review of standards. No standards will change without the approval of the State Board of Education. I especially look forward to the recommendations that will address testing issues so we can measure what matters most for our teachers, parents and students.”
Under the terms of the legislation, an 11-member standards advisory commission will be charged with making curriculum recommendations to the N.C. State Board of Education. Elements of Common Core may or may not remain in place.
State Sen. Dan Soucek was a primary sponsor of the legislation.
Ashe County Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Holden signalled agreement with the legislation, which was signed into law by McCrory on July 22.
“I support the governor’s plan and support what he’s trying to accomplish,” Holden said. “We won’t have Common Core, but we’ll still have rigorous standards.”
While Holden has in the past voiced his support for much of Common Core, he believes the testing aspect is in need of a remedy.
“The testing piece is the thing we need to focus on changing,” Holden said. “Smarter Balanced is not a smarter balance for our kids.”
The Smarter Balanced assessments are tests aligned to the Common Core standards in English language arts and mathematics for students in grades 3-8 and 11.
“We (ACS) don’t have the technology,” Holden said. “You can’t have third graders sitting in front of a computer for three hours.”
“We have to ask, ‘Is the test effectively aligned to the standards?’,” Holden asked rhetorically. “Are we teaching what we’re testing?”
Common Core was adopted by the State Board of Education in June 2010, passed both houses of the General Assembly in 2011 and was implemented in all state public schools at the start of the 2012-13 academic year. It provides a single set of clear standards for learning expectations in English language Arts and Mathematics for students in grades K-12.
Many conservatives across the state and country believe Common Core gives the federal government too much authority over state education.
While President Barack Obama and the U.S. Department of Education have voiced their support for Common Core, it’s the creation of a joint effort by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, not the federal government.
North Carolina is now one of five states that have either made changes to or completely removed Common Core standards from public schools. Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Missouri and now North Carolina, have all jumped off the Common Core bandwagon.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.