This is a live blog of the October 20th NC Common Core Commission meeting. This is their second meeting. Updates will be most recent at the top. Timings are approximated; italics represent my commentary.
4:45 pm – Discussion on the new room to meet in. Consensus is it was far better than the first.
Peek – Minutes will be sent out within the week. Questions for “Robin”. (He means DPI’s Robin McCoy. Apparently Peek knows her well enough to call her Robin?)
Meeting adjourned .
4:37 pm – Budgeting and staffing for the commission is now discussed. Commission needs their funding to get moving. Dollars won’t be seen until January most likely according to Peek.
This will impact bringing in experts like Stotsky and Milgram to come talk to the commission, which should be mandatory. There is no excuse for not hearing from them.
Peek mentions they have a website now. He doesn’t have the address on him right now.
4:36 pm – Cobey asks how many people are on the standards review committees, what kind of people are on it etc.
DPI’s McCoy answers. There was cross-talk. I couldn’t hear it all but she mentioned the number being 20ish (per subject?).
4:32 pm – Commission thanks DPI for coming and presenting. McCollum says it was a big amount of information that she would have ‘run away from’ had she been asked to present it. That statement says volumes about how overly complex and thick the amount of materials are.
DPI is asked about Appendix B. Joslin answers, says Appendix B is just suggestions and were chosen by what was already being used in schools and AP courses. These readings have tasks with them sometimes and some of the pieces are just excerpts, not the whole thing. A great example of that is Tom Sawyer, for those wanting to dig into Appendix B. It’s only excerpted. See page 77 and 89 for the task.
4:30 pm – Peek- I’m a big fan of standards overall. We use them in business all the time. Yes, but our kids are not standard or common.
4:25 pm – Metcalf says we should be working to help the child fulfill potential. All kids learn different, all kids will achieve different things. Common Core was the No Child Left Behind escape hatch.
4:23 pm – Covil brings up subjective nature of the reading/writing assignments. Mentions example of Article of The Week assignments where a sample text is sent home and the kid has to annotated and then ‘reflect’ on the text by answering questions given to them by the teacher. Wait, what? That’s giving the kid an opinion that is not their own; that is not reflection.
4:14 pm – Lemons makes the comment that there are WAY too many standards to learn to mastery. That the commission has to keep in mind the layers and numbers of standards and if that’s reasonable or appropriate.
Peek tried to counter saying it might be appropriate in some cases and not to dilute the standards.
Isenhour holds up the unpacking documents (which are a thick tome by the way) as evidence that there is a need for realignment.
DPI tries to download the unpacking document as ‘just a tool’ for teachers unfamiliar with the standards. That begs the question, if all this professional development and training was done as DPI claims, then why do the teachers need this ‘tool’?
Shorter: Teachers need unpacking documents to explain the standards both to themself and to parents. Really?
4:10 pm – DPI says it will take “years to change” the teaching when we drop Common Core. Again, bullcrap. They changed to Common Core in the flash of an eye, they can change back.
Isenhour talks about the misalignment of the standards for K-3; focuses on Kindergarten skills that should be pushed to 2nd grade or elsewhere according to Kindergarten teachers.
4:05 pm – DPI is dodging the question on developmental appropriateness and claimed they never got feedback on that. BULLCRAP! They received the feedback in 2010 as collected by CoreStandards.org that OVERWHELMINGLY stated these standards were age and developmentally inappropriate. See my articles on ‘10,000 comments’.
4:00 pm – Isenhour asks DPI if they ever found any of the standards in ELA to be developmentally inappropriate. DPI’s McCoy says no, we never have. Joslin backs up McCoy and says they don’t see anything age inappropriate.
Peek asks how they arrived at that conclusion that the standards in K-3 were appropriate. Asks if they have any data that supports this is not an issue.
DPI’s Joslin dodges the question on data.
4:00 pm – Dr. Scheik calls the standards ‘labyrinthian’. Doesn’t understand how any regular person or average parent can understand what’s the real objective. BRAVO, Dr. Scheik.
3:56 pm – DPI’s McCoy says there was feedback before roll out and that was taken into consideration. Oh really? 195 people from NC gave feedback and the vast majority of it was negative. (See my articles on 10,000 comments).
3:55 PM – Isenhour thinks if the unpacking documents and a more drawn out process had been done in the beginning, perhaps the standards would be doing better now. This was done by design, Mr. Isenhour.
3:55 pm – Presentation finally ends. Questions are opening up.
First one is on the ‘unpacking the standards’ documents created by DPI. Joslin helped create the unpacking documents.
3:50 pm – And we’re still in the DPI powerpoint. Still mapping. Good grief. A lot of reference to Appendix A, but not much of Appendix B which has been troublesome to the Core standards creators. No where in this presentation was the skill of spelling addressed.
3:45 pm – They are STILL doing standards mapping. Speaking from a parent who had to dig their way through the standards alone, watching DPI try to explain the levels and layers of standards has been painful… and I’m being kind here. Think about the average parent trying to decipher these ‘fewer, clearer’ standards. It’s stomach turning.
3:30 pm – Now they are examining the progression of writing standard 1 from K-6 and the commission is asked to highlight all the differences. YES, another mapping exercise.
3:25 pm – Joslin tells commission to turn to page 23 of Appendix A. They are going to do yet another mapping exercise. Yes, really.
We still have over 25 slides to go….
3:15 pm – Joslin’s presentation uses Grapes of Wrath as an example of Common Core text complexity. That book isn’t in the Core suggested reading list.
Joslin also goes into the info text vs lit ratio and how it is based on the NAEP (Natl Assessment of Educational Programs) framework.
3:00 pm – So far this meeting has been a lot of steering through the ‘fewer and clearer standards’ of this Commission by DPI which has taken almost 2 hours. That’s ‘fewer and clearer’??
2:55 pm – BREAK OVER.
Metcalf brings the DPI surveys and focus groups up again. DPI will let the commission piggy-back questions into their surveys.
How nice. DPI creating, directing and orchestrating these surveys and focus groups is UNACCEPTABLE. Our teachers have told us that DPI has told them to ‘go along to get along’ with Common Core. Anything DPI does like this without oversight is not ok! DPI got us in this mess by not vetting the Common Core in the first place!
DPI spokesperson (I can’t see who it is) says that their focus groups are all educators. No parents.
2:44 pm BREAK TIME
Point of interest, Gates foundation lobbyist Linda Sugg is here.
2:42 pm – Joslin points back to Livebinder for more resources and a ‘progression documents’. Peek asks if public can see these. Joslin says yes, they are on our livebinder and wiki site. Joslin doesn’t give the address for either.
2:40 pm – Metcalf brings up that the ELA standards seem too rigid and will not let teachers reach kids on multiple levels. YEP.
McCollum asks if our kids are being assessed all the time under Common Core; assessments every 10 days, when are teachers teaching?
2:30 pm – Comments from the public bubble up that kids in Kindergarten can’t read. DPI rep pops up and says the kids are being read to when they are asked to ‘retell’ a story. I can tell you first hand that is NOT what is happening. Kids are being given little books to read on their own and then being drilled on what was in it, including naming the author, illustrator and are having to answer open-ended questions.
2:27 pm – Joslin gives the commission a task to highlight passages of k-3 standards and highlight the differences in them. This doc on “looking deeper at vertical alignment” is apparently on the DPI live binder site under ELA resources. This document was not made available to the public in attendance at this meeting today.
2:25 pm Joslin spends last few minutes having commission members translate standard notations like RF1.ccr4.1a for example. I maintain reading these standards is like reading stereo instructions.
Joslin reiterates teachers are left to teach how they want to, that curriculum developers can do what they want. Really? Then why are all of our kids doing it all the same with the same exercises?
2:20 pm Example of 3rd grade strands –Reading strand has 24 standards, writing has 10, speaking/listening 6, writing has 6.
Joslin basically is laying out that CCSS has multiple layers of standards: Anchor, Strand, Cluster. I’d say it’s a cluster alright.
2:15 pm – Joslin outlines the “anchor” standards versus the grade specific standards. The “anchor” standards are to serve as a “blueprint” for the grade-specific standards. All of the slides have Career and College ready written all over them. Joslin calls the “anchor” standards “goal posts”.
“Anchors” and “grade-specific” are in a framework of “strands” and “clusters”, then under the clusters are the standards themselves.
UH, this is supposed to be “clearer” standards?
Oxendine asks if this is the CCSS configuration or NCDPI’s configuration. DPI responds this is CCSS’s set up, but we’ve adopted it.
2:11 pm – Joslin hands out a set of big bound booklets of the Common Core ELA to the commission. This set of docs or links to them better be made available to the public. Transparency!
2:10 pm – Dr. Joslin, NCDPI’s ELA Section chief now speaks. Says she has 32 years of experience in education in NC, including classroom work. Then why did she sign off on Common Core’s age and developmentally inappropriate ELA standards? Info text vs. literature?
Anna Frost introduced as part of Joslin’s team.
Angie Stevenson introduced as part of Joslin’s team.
Christie(?) Day introduced as part of Joslin’s team.
Joslin has a team of five. She brought three of them today. What the Hell? Show of force or what?
2:05 pm – McCoy – Review process — Standard feedback committee, then they do a survey to non-educators for feedback, ASRC will give recommendations, focus groups starting in October and going through February. Then it goes to the SBE for final revision. So I guess we know who is doing the surveys mentioned earlier in the meeting — DPI!! They aren’t supposed to be engaged in this commission like this.
2:00 pm – McCoy Presentation. Lots of “career and college ready” language. McCoy tells us standards are just standards, not assessments or curriculum. Yeah, right.
McCoy says SBE (state board of ed) set the standards and local schools use what they want to fulfill them. Uh, not under Common Core ma’am.
1:50 pm – Apparently teachers are being surveyed right now about the standards? BY WHO? No one states who is conducting these surveys or what they contain.
1:45 pm – Framework discussion. How are we going to use our time as a commission to get the job done. 1. Discovery, 2. Construct foundation that can be tested, 3. Final set of recommendations to take back to the NCGA. (This is a rehash of what they said in the first meeting.)
1:38 pm – Question to put in record – How will recommendations be funded? Discussion about NCGA budget hindering or helping commission recommendations. Metcalf says we need to do what is right (commission) and then it is the responsibility of the legislature to fund it. Amending the guiding principles of the commission to deal with budget later is suggested.
1:12 pm- 1:30pm – (This section is paraphrased)
Co-Chair Metcalf doesn’t like the info texts versus literature and some of the age inappropriateness.
Watt: End product is important. North Carolina priorities are important to me. Our kids need to be “competitive in a global society”.
Clark: Focus on the standards not the curriculum. Expectations for every grade level looked at. Position NC as “globally competitive”.
McCollum: “Wonder emphases in the ELA”. Worries that we may leave some students behind; cites Appendix B. Concerned about teacher training, prep.
Lemons: Make sure we create standards we can be proud of. The emphasis has to be on resources for strong reading foundation. The K-3 needs addressing. The Common Core standards are geared towards “highest level students”; it’s leaving other kids behind.
Cobey: “My bottom line is what is going to work for the children of this state so that they can live in what is an increasingly competitive world.
Isenhour: It is important we suspend our personal opinions. We need to come together to look at the standards for what they are but also take a step back and also see where they align with curriculum and assessment.
Scheik: Concerns about remedial students. The number is to high. Commission needs to make sure we address that. Ask for college professor input for remedial math and english. There is a wide variety of student abilities and students overall; somehow there has to be accommodation for them. Reasonable goals need to be set. The ELA standards are a mess; can’t sort out what was the standard and what wasn’t.
Covil: Talking with teachers, some of the issues brought up were developmental inappropriateness and math at the high school level. Issues with informational texts. Her children and others were frustrated.
Oxendine: The process is reviewing and improving the standards. Much of our work will have to delve into the weeds. In order to make the changes or tweak them, we are going to have to roll up our sleeves and make sure the standards are organized in a way to close gaps. Developmentally appropriate standards need to be an end result; solid standards for math and english. The commission should set the precedent for setting good standards.
Peek: Wants standards we can be proud of. Wants to be the “voice of business” for the commission. Impressed business, government and education came together in NC the way it has. Stresses that “partnership” a few times more. Mentions he is chair of NCBCE; it was his way of giving back. This work is important, we need kids to know there is a “tremendous opportunity” here in NC. We need to sort out how we get this right and continue to lead.
1:10 pm – Minutes presented from first meeting. Motion to accept passes. Commission will go around the table and state their positions and what they hope to accomplish here.
1:09 pm – Commission roll. All present. Dr. Oxendine calling in on the phone.