Pat McCrory Shifting On Common Core?

Governors in states surrounding North Carolina and across the country have all realized what a mess Common Core is.

Governor Pence dumped it.
Governor Haley got rid of it.
Governor Fallin got rid of it.
Governor Nixon has just to sign to be rid of it.
Governor Jindal is making moves to drop it.
Governor Haslam made the first move to stop it by dropping the PARCC tests.
Governor Cuomo has a full on insurrection of moms in NY; in time, likely they will  dump it.

Also worth noting:
The Republican National Committee has a resolution opposing it.
The U.S. Congress has a resolution opposing it.

Our state of NC has a conference committee hammering out the details between SB 812 and HB 1061. The end result will be a commission to replace Common Core and create higher standards for North Carolina, the removal of a copyrighted brand name from our statutes, the restoration of educational sovereignty to our state and the return of a true education to our students. Having said that, the question remains:

Is North Carolina’s Governor McCrory coming around finally?

The answer? Maybe so.
North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory has, in the past, issued statements supporting Common Core.  Likely the Governor was listening to his Democrat-in-hiding Common Core Aide, Eric Guckian. Guckian himself seems to be pretty vocal about  Common Core. Given Guckian’s deep ties to those promoting it, that’s not surprising. It looks like maybe the Governor is starting to see the way the wind is blowing and that parents and voters are a big part of that wind.

Gov. Pat McCrory told reporters yesterday that he favors high academic standards, but doesn’t care about the Common Core brand.

“What we’ve got to talk about is high standards, especially in math and reading,” said McCrory following an event that awarded federal bonus dollars to teachers who develop new classroom materials for a statewide database.”If you ask most North Carolinians if they want high math and reading standards, they’re gonna be for it. I don’t care what you call it…I could care less about the brand name.” – Policy Watch 7/2/14

So are we to believe the Governor is seeing the light or is he just in favor of a re-brand? I think he should expand on this comment and clarify.

McCrory also said this:

“I hope that we’re going to come to some common ground on the Common Core,” said McCrory yesterday. “I think that the brand of Common Core has been damaged by anything that goes wrong with education.”  – Policy Watch 7/2/14

While I am sure some folks have blamed Common Core for everything they see, the reasons Common Core is disaster are indeed long, valid and many, Sir.  As a parents with many reasons I oppose these standards, I can tell you that I am not worried about a ‘brand’. I am worried about schools being more concerned with turning out prescribed workers than giving children a real, true education.  Related: An Open Letter To Governor McCrory

Money, Money, Money

Quick note about Wagner’s the section on ‘cost”:

The Common Core “brand,” as McCrory calls it, was adopted by North Carolina in 2010. Approximately 45 states and the District of Columbia have also adopted the academic standards, which are billed as a set of guidelines for what students should be able to know and do in math and English language arts. The state has spent upwards of $100 million of both federal and state dollars as well as countless teacher training hours on the implementation of the Common Core.  – Policy Watch 7/2/14

The linked text in the above excerpt cites $72 million of the almost $400 million on transitioning to the Core; addtional $68 million on technology. The above source also mentions schools have spent their own dollars. It does not mention school districts received their own portions of the Race To The Top funds though.

Let’s be clear here: To date, no one has supplied the total cost of implementation. No one has given a line item or breakout accounting of what funds (state or RTTT) were used and by which school districts.
AtkinsonPresElectState Superintendent and CCSSO President-elect Dr. Atkinson dodged it at the Common Core Legislative Research Committee (LRC) meetings. At one LRC meeting, she quoted $58 million on professional development training, at another she changed it to $66 million.  Dr. Atkinson never did provide details on what training consisted of or what teachers received it, even after asked to do so by the legislature. All of this despite DPI having a ‘monitoring plan‘ that includes monthly required reports from each district.

To be honest, maybe an audit of the spending of the Race To The Top Money and the spending for Common Core specifically needs to happen state-wide to get the real answer.  Not even the RTTT budget document has a useful breakout, however it does show how much the controversial Teach For America is getting out of this – over $7.3 million over 4 years. Quick reminder, Teach for America is a paid cheerleader for Common Core to the tune of over $8.1 million dollars in Gates Foundation grants. Governor McCrory’s education advisers –  are all Teach For America Alums.

Most of the Race  To The Top money went to other projects and not specifically Common Core.  From DPI’s own press release, here is a laundry list of example:

North Carolina created state essential standards for subjects that are not covered by Common Core curriculum reform; launched a professional development initiative, which included a series of regional trainings on the Common Core and North Carolina Essential Standards; and began building a foundation for statewide technology through the NC K-12 Education Cloud. The state also accelerated efforts to expand its pool of qualified teachers and principals through partnerships with TEACH Charlotte and the New Teacher Project, launched three Regional Leadership Academies to provide alternative certification for principals, and established innovative anchor and affinity schools that will serve as models of good practice, professional development centers, and test beds for new practices.

One last reminder: Dr. Atkinson put Common Core as a brand name into our Race To The Top application well before the standards were actually released. How do you commit an entire state to a set of standards yet to be released? That alone should raise eyebrows and questions.

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About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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