Just before the Fourth of July holiday, North Carolina’s House and Senate appear to have reached a deal that could bring an end to Common Core in the state.
Both houses had passed bills in June that would appoint a new committee to create new educational standards that were exclusive to North Carolina. They were split, however, on whether the committee would be allowed to consider keeping some components of Common Core, or whether the controversial multi-state standards would be explicitly barred from consideration.
The House sought to ban it entirely, while the Senate was open to pieces being retained.
After several weeks of negotiations, by Thursday the Senate’s view appears to have won out, and a compromise position will allow a new state board to retain pieces of Common Core it thinks are unobjectionable.
Sen. Pat Tillman, who sponsored the Senate bill, said that the compromise will allow the state to choose the best standards without having its hands tied.
“The standards commission can consider anything rigorous and North Carolina-owned – anything,” Tillman told the Raleigh New and Observer.
Nevertheless, while pieces of the old order might remain, Tillman emphasized that the compromise “repeals and replaces the Common Core.”
If passed, the state will be the fourth to withdraw from Common Core this year, following Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina. The result may be less than activists hoped for, however. Hardcore Common Core foes have criticized Indiana for abandoning the standards and then adopting new ones they say strongly resemble them. North Carolina’s deal would leave the door open for a similar outcome.
As long as the new compromise doesn’t break down, a bill could be passed as soon as the middle of next week, once legislators return from the Fourth of July holiday. Even then, the bill would have to clear one final hurdle: Governor and Common Core backer Pat McCrory.
McCrory has long defended Common Core from criticism, saying that while implementation has occasionally been troubled the core principles are sound. Just last month, McCrory appeared ready to fight to defend the standards, condemning the legislature’s bills as “not a smart move.”
This past Tuesday, however, McCrory signaled that he could be preparing to give in to the burgeoning conservative revolt against the standards. While speaking to reporters, he pivoted away from defending Common Core and said his only concern was maintaining high standards.
“If you ask most North Carolinians if they want high math and reading standards, they’re gonna be for it. I don’t care what you call it…I could care less about the brand name,” McCrory said.
Supporters of Common Core indicated that while they did not want the state to pull out, as long as North Carolina remained focused on genuinely high standards the damage in their eyes would be minimal.
“If somebody wants to go more rigorous than Common Core, I say ‘more power to ya,’” Cheryl Oldham told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Oldham is the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and the Workforce, a pro-business nonprofit that has backed Common Core.
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