It seems NC Policy Watch can no longer ignore the Common Core Controversy and have finally written about it. Not a bad stab at it and I was impressed to see the tie in with the financial incentives that went on in the adoption being mentioned, but there are some corrections and deeper explanations to be made. See below.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), developed by a group of consultants with input from governors and superintendents around the country, provide benchmarks for what students should be able to know and do in English Language Arts and mathematics.
The article linked in the above excerpt goes light on the involvement of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). It should be noted that the CCSSO received millions to develop and promote the Core and that NC’s State Superintendent is also now the President Elect of the CCSSO.
It is also important to note that the CCSSO and NGA hold the copyright on the standards of which the agreement upon adoption states NC has to adhere to them 100%. We can’t alter them. That’s a problem and these copyrighted standards are now in our state statues. That’s like putting a name brand like Coke or Pepsi in the statutes as the only drink to be served.
Standards Drive Curriculum and Tests
Since the adoption of the CCSS, educators have worked hard to develop curricula that meet the standards for English language arts and mathematics. Many teachers have found working with the new standards to have a positive impact on their instruction.
In a word, No. There was little to no curriculum when NC rolled it out. Teachers were left to scramble to find supporting items and in many cases in elementary schools, teachers told me they pulled from several grades above their own to make it work. Positive impact is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. While some teachers may like it, the ones who don’t are afraid to speak up. What went on in Missouri’s hearing this week is going on here in NC.
Karyn Dickerson, North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year, explained to lawmakers at that hearing about how the CCSS have made her a better teacher.
Yes, she teaches at the high school level I believe? The bar for Common Core there is set so low a snail could hop over it. Her statement ignores the facts presented by former validation committee members who refused to sign off on the standards. Also, she’s hardly unbiased.
Big Money and Influence vs the Taxpaying Parents
The North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, which represents the voice of the business community, also supports the Common Core.
The NC Chamber’s Vice President for Government Affairs, Gary Salamido, told lawmakers, “businesses are adamant that higher standards are crucial to achieving the most confident, competitive workforce in the region, in the nation and in the world.”
Ah yes, the NC Chamber — who has an initiative called “Hire Standards” and is seeking good worker bees with little regard for the the reality of the flaws in Common Core. The CCSSO is a partner with this initiative, which presents yet another conflict of interest for our state superintendent. To date, no one at “Hire Standards” has answered where their funding is coming from or who is really running it. The Policy Watch article does mention more on this topic further down. Glad to see that; it’s important.
Opposition is not Right or Left
It was nice to see Ravitch being quoted here, because she is spot on:
She also opposes them for this reason:
They [the CCSS] were written in a manner that violates the nationally and international recognized process for writing standards. The process by which they were created was so fundamentally flawed that these “standards” should have no legitimacy.
Setting national academic standards is not something done in stealth by a small group of people, funded by one source, and imposed by the lure of a federal grant in a time of austerity.
The article ends up going back to the Big Bible guy WRAL used as their ‘opposition icon’ and makes little mention of the dozen or so parents who came in with actual examples of what their children are being subjected to.
I see Petrilli of Fordham is mentioned and his use of the Tea Party to try and polarize this. Dr. Atkinson tried that too – so much for civility and not making Common Core a “Political Football” as she complained about at the February Common Core Committee hearing:
— LL1885 – A.P. Dillon (@LadyLiberty1885) February 24, 2014
It’s become abundantly clear this is not a Right or Left issue – it’s parents, teachers, grandparents, brothers, sisters from all walks of life and political affiliation. See how Petrilli’s colleague, Michael Brickman is taken to task in Missouri this week here: MO State Senator Takes Fordham’s Brickman To Task (video)
Brickman testified at the NC General Assembly too. No one was buying what he was selling then either.
One other quick correction, the article mentions mom Jennifer Strand. It’s Jennifer Schrand.