Education

North Carolina Committee Stuns State, Fails To Suggest Common Core Replacement

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Blake Neff Reporter

A North Carolina commission created to replace Common Core recently stunned lawmakers by recommending the standards stick around.

The Academic Standards Review Commission was created last year, after state lawmakers passed a bill creating a review process for Common Core. The general intent of the 11-member commission was to assess the Common Core standards for math and English, and then propose changes for the state board of education to consider adopting. After working for over a year, the commission is supposed to present their findings and recommendations to the state legislature by the end of December.

Going into Friday, it looked like the commission was about to do that. A draft proposal released Thursday included numerous criticisms of Common Core and suggested a major overhaul of math standards. The proposal would have suggested copying Minnesota’s (non-Common Core) math standards for grades K-8 and returning to the state’s pre-Common Core approach for high school math. Combined, these suggestions would have almost completely dumped Common Core math from the state’s schools.

But at a final meeting, the commission unexpectedly failed to approve these changes, leaving them without any concrete proposals for how to alter Common Core. Instead, all that remains are some criticisms of Common Core and general suggestions, such as improving clarity and giving teachers more resources.

The abrupt failure means the commission’s final report will have far less teeth, and instead the state board of education will have tremendous leeway in considering how, and whether, to reshape standards.

Common Core foes were greatly disappointed, to say the least.

“I was hoping that we’d come up with specific recommendations but it became very clear as we continued through this process that we didn’t have the time we needed to do that,” commission co-chair Tammy Covil told local news station WTVD. Covil, who wants Common Core repealed, also complained to the Associated Press that the final recommendations amounted to little more than a face-lift for Common Core.

“It means taking Common Core and calling it something different, that’s what I think ultimately these recommendations will accomplish,” she said.

The disappointment felt by North Carolina Common Core critics is hardly unique. In several other states that have repealed Common Core, including Indiana and South Carolina, activists have complained that the “replacement” standards are nearly the same thing. (RELATED: Common Core Is Dead In South Carolina. Or Is It?)

If that happens here, Common Core foes in North Carolina could be sent back to the drawing board. Jerry Tillman, a North Carolina legislator who addressed the commission at its Friday meeting, said if the state school board doesn’t make sufficient changes, the legislature “may decide we want to start all over.” But after two additional years during which the standards will have become further entrenched, it could be difficult to amass the political will to revisit the issue.

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