CCSSO President Elect Atkinson Tips Her Common Core Hand?

NC State Superintendent and CCSSO President Elect, June Atkinson, went on local politicalAtkinsonPresElect show NC SPIN to talk about “the move away” from Common Core. In the interview, the same talking points are recycled yet again. It was far easier to do with a host practically feeding her lines — It was almost embarrassing to watch.

Narratives of the interview:

  • Disruption and constant change
  • Money we’ve already spent/cost (see my note below the full video clip)

Hey, haven’t we heard these same narratives recently? Yep.

Discussion About the Replacement Commission

The host also asks about the replacement commission, but does so in a manner that slights the idea using the phrasing “do you have any confidence” while asking his question. (4:17 mark)

Atkinson’s response is that she “has faith in the State Board of Education”. Great. The State Board of Education is headed up by Bill Cobey, who does and says  whatever Atkinson says on Common Core.  The alarming bit comes when Atkinson makes the following statement:

“In keeping with our NC Constitution, The State Board of Education will have the ultimate decision as to whether the standards are changed.” – Dr. June Atkinson On NCSPIN 8/19/14

I smell a set-up and I think Atkinson just tipped her hand here.  The legislation makes no mention of what happens in the event that the State Board of Ed rejects the findings of the Commission. Going by the implications in Atkinson’s  statement, what’s to stop the NC Board of Education from overriding the will of the people to keep Common Core and just rename it? Nothing.

Here’s the full video:

At the 3:38 mark Atkinson starts listing the money spent on professional development.

“$44 million by local school districts from federal funds… $22 million from state Race to the Top.. and so our teachers have just become comfortable with using these standards…”

NC adopted Common Core in 2010. If we take Atkinson’s $66 million spent on professional development as true, then we have a serious waste of funds if it took FOUR YEARS, two of which NC was using the standards, for teachers to get “comfortable”.

Reminder about that $66 million:

“Also, Atkinson slid in a change to her testimony from the first hearing with regard to Professional development spending. In the first LRC meeting, she claimed $58 million was spent on Professional development. In the second meeting, she now claims $66 million. So which is it?”


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Powerschool Update Causing Chaos – Again.

An administrator contacted me this morning frustrated with the latest Powerschool update:

“There was a PowerSchool update right before we sent out schedules last week. After the update…
- some families in our district were dropped and redistricted for the middle school on the other side of the county.  And vice versa.
- the only way for us to know how many families this has effected is for folks to speak up or to wait until the bus picks the kid up on the first day of school.

It’s like the system was compelled to draw new district lines within our county.”

Another teacher, allegedly out of the Charlotte-Meck area, reported a similar issue with entire grades being missing:

“We had a Powerschool update and after it our entire 4th and 5th grade student rosters were missing. Poof. Gone. This thing is a mess.”

I’ve asked NC Department of Public Instruction for comment on these issues.  I will update this article when and if I receive a reply.
I’ll also have more on the history of Pearson Powerschool complaints this week. Stay tuned.


UPDATE: Response from DPI

I checked on this with Rosalyn Galloway, implementation manager for PowerSchool. 
There is not a wide scale problem with PowerSchool. I understand that there was an issue in Johnston County last week, if I recall correctly, and data were restored on the same day. 
Please let me know if you have information on particular school districts so that I can follow up. 
I am not hearing of issues. On a very local example, we picked up my 10th grader’s schedule last Thursday and there did not seem to be any concerns. 
Vanessa W. Jeter, Director
Communication and Information Services
NC Department of Public Instruction
6306 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6306
Posted in Education, LadyLiberty1885, Random Musings | Tagged | Leave a comment

NC Public Schools Forum Continues To Carry Water For Common Core

Over at WSOCTV, there is an article titled “Parent’s, Teachers, frustrated by Common Core Stoppage”. Funny title, since no teacher is quoted in the article and the parent interviewed seems indifferent. But the parent, Elyse Dashew, isn’t your ordinary parent but an education activist who has run for school board before. It appears that the only people interviewed are those who have invested their time promoting the Common Core.  If you want to see real parents thoughts, look through the comments on the article.

The article comes with a video which states ‘millions have been spent on Common Core’. Those millions? Race To The Top grant money. We can’t even be sure how much of it was spent on Common Core either, as State Superintendent Atkinson keeps changing her figures.

The  WSOCTV article focuses on Keith Poston of NC Public Schools Forum, who dutifully continues to carry water for Common Core despite the repeal and sizable growing drop in support for the standards.  NC Public Schools Forum is pretty much a who’s who of the Chamber of Commerce and mirrors many of the members of the Chamber’s pro-Core special project “Hire Standards“.  NC Public Schools Forum is all in on Common Core.

NC Public Schools Forum is a Pro-Common Core group.
Quick reminder of the $5,483,812 and $59,018 they received from the Bill Gates Foundation to promote  “college ready” related initiatives.

One NC Public Schools Forum  board and forum member is Gene Arnold.
You remember Mr. Arnold, right?
He’s the NCGene Arnold Common Core NCSPIN Quote Public Schools Forum member who went on NC Spin and announced the Chamber was going to blackmail legislators who tried to pass a Common Core repeal.  By the way CCSSO President-Elect, Dr. Atkinson, is also on the forum list of members along with the NCAE, SAS and every major Core supporter in the state.


More pro-Core empty talking points
All they have left are talking points, which we’ll get to in a moment. Support for the Core is deteriorating at a rapid rate both among parents and now among teachers and the public is pushing back.


Poston delivered a string of pro-Core talking points in the interview with WSOCTV, which I’ve snagged and posted below:

“The first concern was just the disruption and constant change,” said Keith Poston, president and executive director of Public School Forum.

“If the state moves forward with a completely new set of standards, those costs are going to be ours,” Poston said.

I think there’s just a little bit of frustration they’re like, here we go again,” Poston said.


Let’s break these talking points down.

1. Disruption and constant change?
Gee, the powers that be weren’t worried about disruption a bit when they adopted Common Core and then shoved it into our schools with little to no training, support materials or even a curriculum behind it. The powers that be weren’t worried about constant change either since our standards in North Carolina are reviewed every 5 years and our most recent review had been in process when Common Core came along.  Don’t take my word for it, listen to the teachers who had to deal with it.

2. New set of standards being our cost?
Newsflash, Mr. Poston — they’ve would have been “our” cost regardless. Common Core’s Race To The Top grant has been exhausted; there is no more federal sugar left. The costs of Common Core are estimated to be in upwards of  $15.8 billion nationally, and $641.9 million for North Carolina. Put that in perspective with the Race To The Top grant of almost $400 million, of which only a portion was spent on Common Core.

3. Here we go again?
What in the world is Poston talking about? Oh that’s right, we snuck Common Core into NC without any teacher input, training or support. It’s turned out to be a fundamentally flawed experiment turned train wreck, but let’s keep going?

The article also mentions CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison — another of the Common Core faithful. Morrison is a member of the Large District Superintendent’s power block, which tried to ram a 7 year use of Common Core through. Read about that here: New NC Superintendent “Consortium” Recommends 7 Year Common Core Lock In Related:  

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McCrory Temporary Chief Justice Appointment – Justice Martin

In case you’ve missed it, a new NC Supreme Court Justice will be elected this Fall. The candidates are Justice Mark Martin and Judge Ola Lewis.  Martin already serves on the NC Supreme Court and is considered the natural choice to succeed Chief Justice Parker, who by law, has to step down at the end this month as she has reached her 72nd birthday. Between now and the November election, the NC Supreme Court needs a temporary Chief Justice. Today, Governor Pat McCrory appointed Martin to serve as that temporary Chief.

ABC 11:

“Justice Martin has served as the Senior Associate Justice since 2006, and our Court is better for it,” McCrory continued. “The humility and integrity of his character has benefited our state, and his knowledge and depth of experience is inimitable. I look forward to his work as Chief Justice as he draws upon his more than 20 years of judicial experience.”

Martin, a Republican, will take the oath of office on September 1 for an appointive term that runs through December 31. He will continue his campaign for chief justice and hopes to be elected in November to an eight-year term.

All five living former Chief Justices of the NC Supreme Court, three Democrats and two Republicans, have endorsed Martin for the position of chief justice.

McCrory cited tradition in the appointment of the most Senior Justice to the role. Judge Lewis didn’t see the appointment as being tradition, but instead more of what Lewis alleges is “unjust behavior”.


Martin’s opponent this fall is Brunswick County Resident Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis. Despite also being a Republican, Lewis believes the party is targeting her for choosing to run against Martin by publicly endorsing him and supporting new regulations that would change the way ballots are ordered to list Martin first.

“There are many good things about being a member of the GOP,” Lewis told WWAY. “My favorite is the willingness of those of us on the outside looking in to vote against the establishment. We shall proceed accordingly this fall. Their unjust behavior in this race will not determine my beliefs. This is the people’s seat, and the people shall decide the outcome of this election. Not party bosses.”

McCrory’s office says the governor is continuing tradition by appointing the Senior Associate Justice to the Chief Justice vacancy.

I’ve already written about the claims made by Judge Lewis over the ballot order changes — which apply to all candidates in all races and were actually first put into play for primaries during the Democrats majority at the NC General Assembly. Put simply, the ballot ordering is not singling anyone out. It also bears mentioning that Judge Lewis appears first in the voter guides, yet no one is crying foul over that.

The strategy of her own party being against her might be somewhat of her own making. Remember, Judge Lewis made it clear that she intended to run for a different Judgeship, where she would have been a favorite.  Lewis then jumped into the Chief Justice race, where the incumbent’s experience and endorsements speak for themselves.  One has to wonder who is “against” who here.

UPDATE: WECT also reported on this appointment, including a comment from Judge Lewis that should be addressed.

“Our current Supreme Court, with Martin second in command, is ranked one of the lowest in the nation by way of performance, according to a Duke (University) Law Study. The appointment was done without regard for what is best for our state judiciary. I am going to stay the course and look forward to serving this great state as the new Chief Justice of the NC Supreme court,” she said.

The Duke Study is from 2009.
Back in April, I asked Judge Lewis where this claim of performance ranking came from and the sources she provided were:

Business as usual at the Supreme Court – NC Policy Watch, June 2013

Discretion at the Supreme Court – NC Policy Watch, September 2013

What Exactly Is a “Substantial Constitutional  Question” for Purposes of Appeal to the North Carolina Supreme Court?  – Justice Orr, Law Review, March 2011 

The first Policy Watch ‘Business as Usual‘ article appears to  get the number of opinions wrong by claiming Justice Edmunds had the most. Justice Martin confirmed to me he had eight as well which makes it a tie.  The Policy Watch article amazingly compares  NC’s court  to the U.S. Supreme Court to prove the NC court is ‘slow’.

The second Policy Watch article repeats the same claim of a low productivity court in comparison to other courts, but links back to it’s first article as proof.

Note: For those who aren’t aware – Policy Watch is a very left leaning outfit and arm of NC Justice Center, which hatched BlueprintNC and their now infamous “attack” memo.

Catch up on the Supreme Court Justice Races:



Posted in Elections, LadyLiberty1885, Legal Related, The Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Kay Hagan Has A Middle Class Problem

The Hagan Dodge

noun informal
Shameless audacity; impudence.
See also: Kay Hagan

Hagan’s tweet timeline is littered with people calling out Hagan. The above is just one example. How about those 500,000 North Carolinians who lost their health insurance under Hagan? Was that fighting for the middle class? No. That was fighting for Obaam’s agenda.

Let’s expand on her “middle class” statement with some facts about what Democrats have done for the middle class,  courtesy of the NRSC:

In a blistering editorial today in the Wall Street Journal, Phil Gramm and Michael Solon explain that Democratic Senators elected in 2008 made Obama’s agenda possible, and its results have harmed most Americans,” most notably the struggling middle class.

A statistical analysis by the duo is quite damning. Since the Senate Democratic Class of 2008 (including Mark Begich, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark & Tom Udall, Mark Warner, Kay Hagan, and Jeff Merkley) have been in the Senate Democratic Majority:

  • The average real income of the poorest one-fifth of American families has declined every year, falling to $15,534 in 2012 from $16,962 in 2008 (the 2013 data will be released Sept. 16).
  • The average real income of the lowest quintile of Americans is now below the level it was in 1968, the year when the War on Poverty began its spending surge.
  • The average income of these Americans (often referred to as the working class) has fallen 6.5% and is now $1,182 lower than it was when President Reagan left office.
  • America’s middle class—has seen its average income decline to $62,464 from $65,672. More than half of this decline has occurred since the recovery officially began in the second quarter of 2009.
  • In Alaska, household income in 2012 was 7.2% lower than it was at the end of 2008, falling back to its 1988 level. In Arkansas, household income has dropped 8.2%. Colorado households have 13.5% less income than they did before the Democratic Congress and President Obama transformed America. The same is true in Louisiana, where household income has fallen 7.9%. And in North Carolina, household income has declined 10.2%—falling to the lowest level in the 28 years the Census Bureau has provided state-by-state income data.
  • Married women, unmarried women and women living alone all saw their incomes fall. Under the Obama administration, the median income of women has fallen more during the recovery than it did during the recession, an unprecedented economic failure in postwar America.
  • The real median income of African-American households has fallen by 9.5%, more than any other major census classification.
  • Hispanic income has fallen, especially for middle-income Hispanic families, whose income has declined every year since 2008. According to the latest census data, the income of middle-class Hispanics is lower than when Jimmy Carter was president.

In March, an article in Mother Jones (!) pointed out that, “Democrats have done virtually nothing for the middle class in 30 years.” Democrats like Kay Hagan have a lot of explaining to do. 

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