NC Superintendent Holding Her Own Common Core Commission

Common Core replacement commission members have been named by the House and Senate. The Governor still hasn’t announced his selection, neither has the State Board of Education. No worries, CCSSO President Elect and NC State Superintendent, June Atkinson, is apparently holding her own little Common Core Commission.

“So parallel to the work of this commission, we will be looking at the standards by inviting teachers who have used the standards for at least two to three years to give us input,” she said.
- Citizen Times

Oh really?  Look out, we’ve got a “bearing false witness” alert here.CC June False Witness

Atkinson can’t be on the commission, so she will make sure Common Core gets a seen as superior with her hand-picked “parallel” group.

4 years after adoption and 2 years after implementation, now she decides to turn to teachers to look at the standards? Dr. Atkinson is not satisfied with letting the commission do it’s job – actually they’re doing the job she didn’t do in 2010.

It would be two years of use; Common Core went into action in the 2012-2013 school year. If someone has been using it in North Carolina for three years, that would be an  interesting development. It begs the question, is Atkinson implying she’s not talking about input from North Carolina teachers?

Shouldn’t teachers already have been giving input on the standards before adoption and certainly before implementation?  Certainly DPI has been collecting input during implementation, right?


 

Input, Input Everywhere But Not A Comment To Read
By the way, all of this “input” is reminding me about the feedback I’ve already asked for.
Where are those ‘10,000 comments‘ that Dr. Atkinson mentioned during the Legislative Research Committee hearing that were collected as ‘feedback’ during North Carolina’s adoption of Common Core? What about those “60,000 teachers” involved in the revision of the standard course of study?

If you watched the hearing clip, stop me if this sounds familiar:

Forty-six states brought together experts, teachers and researchers to write the Common Core State Standards, along with almost 10,000 comments and suggestions, including many from Oregon teachers and parents. Oregon adopted them in 2010. The standards are well-matched for our classrooms and will help our students learn more. Please visit http://corestandards.org/the-standards to read the full set of standards.

Those ‘10,000 comments’? I requested them from DPI over  a month ago, but it seems there is trouble tracking down the person who worked on those comments:

Vanessa Jeter <vanessa.jeter@dpi.nc.gov>
Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 5:30 PM

I am working on this request. The individual who spearheaded the Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort which started in 2008 and resulted in the 2010 adoption of the current Standard Course of Study is no longer with NCDPI and now works at New Schools, so I am having to go back into archival information. But your request is on my list and will be fulfilled.

Sincerely,
Vanessa W. Jeter, Director
Communication and Information Services
NC Department of Public Instruction
6306 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6306

New Schools? As in the North Carolina New Schools Project, Inc.?  The same one DPI’s Rebecca Garland sits on the board of?  Would that employee possibly be Angela Hinson Quick? Part of the bio of Sr. Vice President Quick reads:

From 2008 to 2013, she served as deputy chief academic officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. In that position, she was responsible for the standards, assessments and accountability metrics for North Carolina’s K-12 academic programs, oversaw the design and development of the Instructional Improvement System (IIS), and worked with North Carolina’s successful Race to the Top (RttT) Grant program.

My question is why would such important data not be at one’s fingertips and be archived, especially when Common Core has been under fire for two years?

Posted in Common Core, Education, June Atkinson, NC DPI, NC State Standards | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Common Core Replacement Commission Named

The NC House and Senate have named their appointees to the Academic Standards Review Commission, a.k.a Common Core Replacement Commission (see below).

HOUSE (Tillis Appointments)

  • Mrs. Sara “Katie” Lemons of Stokes County – English Teacher
  • Dr. Jeffrey  A. Isenhour of Catawba County -Middle School Principal
  • Ms. Tammy J. Covil of New Hanover County — New Hanover County Board of Education
  • Mrs. Sharmel “Denise” Watts of Mecklenburg County  — Project Lift in Charlotte

SENATE (Berger Appointments)

  • Dr. John. T. Scheick  of Wake County  – Retired Professor
  • Laurie McCollum  of Rockingham County – Assistant Principal
  • Ann B. Clark  of Iredell County – Deputy Superintendent of Schools, CMS
  • Jeannie Metcalf  of Forsyth County – Winston Salem, Forsyth County Board of Education

Over the coming week, profiles of each of the members will be posted here at LadyLiberty1885. Anyone wishing to contribute to said profiles can do so by emailing me at TheLL1885@gmail.com. The same applies for corrections, deletions or updates once the profiles are posted.

Many will find these profiles useful, since Policy Watch’s Education writer is already politicizing:

 




Watchdogging The Commission
I call on citizens across North Carolina to watch this commission and make sure they are adhering to open meeting laws, are being transparent about the process and following their mandates as listed in SB 812:

SECTION 2.(c)  The Commission shall:

(1)        Conduct a comprehensive review of all English Language Arts and Mathematics standards that were adopted by the State Board of Education under G.S. 115C‑12(9c) and propose modifications to ensure that those standards meet all of the following criteria:

a.         Increase students’ level of academic achievement.

b.         Meet and reflect North Carolina’s priorities.

c.         Are age‑level and developmentally appropriate.

d.         Are understandable to parents and teachers.

e.         Are among the highest standards in the nation.

(2)        As soon as practicable upon convening, and at any time prior to termination, recommend changes and modifications to these academic standards to the State Board of Education.

(3)        Recommend to the State Board of Education assessments aligned to proposed changes and modifications that would also reduce the number of high‑stakes assessments administered to public schools.

(4)        Consider the impact on educators, including the need for professional development, when making any of the recommendations required in this section.

The Commission shall assemble content experts to assist it in evaluating the rigor of academic standards. The Commission shall also involve interested stakeholders in this process and otherwise ensure that the process is transparent.

 

Posted in Academic Standards Review Commission, Common Core, LadyLiberty1885, NC Board Of Education, NC State Standards, The Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Stop Me If This Voucher Statement Sounds Familiar….

Does this statement sound familiar?

‘The voucher tax credit is bad public policy for public education and our taxpayers, diverting millions of dollars in taxpayer money with no accountability or oversight to religious and private schools.’

Sounds like the same thing Lefty talking heads out of NC Justice Center/Policy Watch have been saying lately? Sound like Something the State Superintendent has said – minus the ‘schools of terror‘ bit? Similar to the language used by those who brought the lawsuit against the Opportunity Scholarships?

Well it’s a quote from New Hampshire Governor, Maggie Hassan. I dropped part of the quote that came via an article at the Daily Caller. Here’s the full quote:

“The voucher tax credit is bad public policy for public education in New Hampshire and our taxpayers, diverting millions of dollars in taxpayer money with no accountability or oversight to religious and private schools,” Hassan said.

Hassan’s mad that she was unable to stop low-income parents from receiving tax credits in her state which will allow them to send their child to the school of their choice.

The New Hampshire Union Leader slammed New Hampshire Democrats for attempting to block the tax credits. I am sure reading this will give the editorial staff at the News and Observer hives. It’s short, so I’ve included all of the text below. Change a few words and this could be North Carolina, not New Hampshire:

Giving lower-income families the ability to send their children to better schools ought to be universally applauded policy.

Instead, it is being attacked.

In June, legislators passed a law that allows businesses to get state tax credits for a portion of their donations to educational scholarship funds.

The scholarships, which must average $2,500, would help families who are unsatisfied with their local public school pay the cost of tuition at a non-public school.

New Hampshire Democrats are attacking this achievement by saying that Republicans this year took money from public schools to give to private schools. That is terribly misleading, to put it charitably.

The average scholarship cost is, by law, less than what the state pays in per-pupil education aid. And the tax credit covers most, not all, of a company’s donation to the scholarship funds. So the state actually pays a lot less for each scholarship student than it does for each public school student.

The difference remains in the state’s coffers.

The law also caps the amount of money a local school district can lose from fleeing students at 1/4 of 1 percent of its budget, and it caps scholarship eligibility at 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

Clearly, the scholarships do not defund public schools.

They allow lower-income parents to use a portion of their allotted per-pupil education aid at a different school if the one to which their child is assigned is a bad fit. That is not anti-school or anti-education.

It is pro-child.

-New Hampshire Union Leader

 

 

Posted in Education, LadyLiberty1885, Random Musings | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

About that North Carolina Teacher…

Policy Watch’s Rob Schofield has an article up titled A North Carolina teacher weighs in on the reality of Common Core repeal.  The article is really by Rod Powell, a Common Core true believer affiliated with the Center for Teaching Quality and who has engaged me on Twitter defending the standards and on this blog.  He also testified at the open comments portion of the NC General Assembly LRC. Powell should update his piece — The Commission members from the House and Senate have been named.

I am certain Mr. Powell is an excellent teacher. He was one before Common Core and he will be one after it is gone. Having said that, this turn of phrase is used by many Common Core true believers and it should bother everyone.

“The Common Core provided consistency and a curricular anchor for new teachers like my new colleague—as well as teaching veterans like me . The standards helped us push our students further and shape them into global citizens for the 21st century.”

This is the ‘Common Core made me a better teacher’ line.

“Consistency”? You had standards before.
“Curricular anchor”? Admitting that the endgame of a national curriculum is the point here? Thanks.

No set of standards makes one a better teacher. Standards are content-free line items. Either you were a good teacher before or you weren’t. What pushed your students was your teaching, not a set of standards dictated to states by two D.C. trade groups who are unaccountable to voters.

Powell also penned this article trying to reach parents. It included the line, “Those lacking a ground-level view of the classroom seem to be the ones leveling complaints.” So we have to be teachers to “get it”? Please. Given the turn of events with the Dept. of Education’s thuggery in Oklahoma, that the standards were adopted by stealth and that support is collapsing as people find out more about the Core, his past article seems a bit of a bad joke.

Reminder, The Center for Teaching Quality is a Gates grant recipient:

GRANTEE YEAR  ISSUE PROGRAM AMOUNT
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $17,240
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2013 College-Ready US Program $249,471
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2012 College-Ready US Program $3,062,093
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2010 College-Ready US Program $395,836
Center for Teaching Quality, Inc. 2010 College-Ready US Program $2,577,857
Total $6,302,497
Posted in Common Core, LadyLiberty1885, Random Musings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Required Reading For The NC Common Core Replacement Commission

Dont mend it end itOver at the Pioneer Institute, Jim Stergios has a must read for the Common Core replacement commission. In fact, this is a must read for the legislators at the North Carolina General Assembly, who will be hearing from parents if the Commission is used for ‘show’ by those attempting to force a rebrand scenario.

The article addresses the false hand-wringing we saw over Race To The Top money, the unfunded mandate Common Core places onto the states and the unpredictability of future costs.

Some other main points the article draws, but pointing to Ohio and how they appear to be getting repeal done ‘right':

First, two years is ample time to engage local communities and constituencies in the kind of public process that upholds the public trust and also can gain the level of teacher buy-in that will help make new standards effective guidance.  No such buy-in is possible with Common Core because of its lack of a public process.

Second, the interim adoption of the Massachusetts standards is a cost-effective exit strategy for Ohio and other states.  The fact is that Common Core requires lots of professional development, because there are pedagogical strategies embedded in the Core standards.  A couple of examples will suffice: Some of the early grad math requires multiple approaches rather than standard algorithms.  The high school geometry standards insist on the use of an experimental method that has not been used successfully in Western high schools.  Early grade ELA includes more non-fiction than teachers have used in the past; across the board, there are non-fiction offerings that fall outside the traditional teacher preparation and likely background of English teachers.

On the other hand, Massachusetts standards will require minimal professional development.  None at the high school level because the standards reflect the disciplinary background of teachers in English, mathematics, science, and history/U.S. Government.  Continuing PD will be needed in reading in K-6 because of the inadequacy of reading methods courses in many schools of education and in some professional development.  As Stotsky noted years ago, the Massachusetts standards were developed with teachers’ backgrounds in mind.  There is not the insistence on new methods and fads.  English teachers, most of whom came out of English lit majors are likely to be pretty comfortable teaching a greater amount of literature rather than jamming in lots of non-fiction extracts.  As a result, costs for professional development will be much, much lower.

Third, the organization and clarity of the Massachusetts standards not only can be implemented as interim standards very easily and without lots of professional development, but they also lend themselves to greater ease of understanding to teachers and district officials.  In short, they will serve more effectively as a framework for Ohio’s development of new, higher-quality standards.

Read the whole article, because it also addresses the testing consortiums like PARCC and SBAC. Here’s the link: We Now Have a Smart Exit Strategy from Common Core

 

Posted in Common Core, Education, LadyLiberty1885, NC State Standards, Testing, The Articles | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments