10-20-14 NC Common Core Commission Meeting

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. Schiek calls the standards ‘labyrinthian’. Doesn’t understand how any regular person or average parent can understand what’s the real objective. BRAVO, Dr. Schiek.
UPDATE – FULL QUOTE: ““I do not see how this material is clear to the average parent. My suspicion is that they need to be simplified somehow,” said John Schieck, a retired professor from Wake County.” (WUNC)

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.
Schiek: 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.


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: APDillon@Protonmail.com
This entry was posted in Academic Standards Review Commission, Common Core and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to 10-20-14 NC Common Core Commission Meeting

  1. Pingback: NC Common Core Commission Should Bring In Stotsky, Milgram | Lady Liberty 1885

  2. Paul says:

    I am sorry that you do not feel kids can think abstractly, luckily you are wrong. Seeing patterns and making predictions are the basis for algebraic thinking and abstract thinking. Kids are doing that everyday, even before they come to Kindergarten.
    How do you respond to the fact that you say that the state has dictated what teachers teach, when, and how? You went as far as saying that all teachers in NC give the same homework. I know this is true in Wake County, but in no other district do they do this. How do you respond? CCSS are standards, but not curriculum. Each district can choose any textbook or method of teaching (curriculum) they feel is best. Call every district in the state and ask what math curriculum they use, very few will be the same.


    • “I am sorry that you do not feel kids can think abstractly, luckily you are wrong. Seeing patterns and making predictions are the basis for algebraic thinking and abstract thinking. Kids are doing that everyday, even before they come to Kindergarten.”

      No, I’m not. If you think a 5 year old can make predictions based on anything beyond the here and now they are experiencing, then you don’t understand early childhood cognitive development very well.

      “How do you respond to the fact that you say that the state has dictated what teachers teach, when, and how?”

      That’s not what I said.

      “You went as far as saying that all teachers in NC give the same homework. I know this is true in Wake County, but in no other district do they do this. How do you respond?”

      I’ve seen the same assignments given out in multiple counties. Your assertions are your opinion. I respond that the standards drive materials, texts, tests and curriculum overall. That, is fact.

      “CCSS are standards, but not curriculum. Each district can choose any textbook or method of teaching (curriculum) they feel is best. Call every district in the state and ask what math curriculum they use, very few will be the same.”

      So you say, yet moms across the state have shown me nearly identical worksheets, assignments and resources being used.


  3. Paul says:

    I also like that you moderate your posts, way to be fair and balanced.


  4. Paul says:

    Lady Liberty, just because you have a few kids does not make you an expert. The 2pm comment proved this the most. You disagreeing that the standards do not dictate curriculum or assessments for LEAs. If that wasn’t true, why do LEAs choose different math books, ELA books, why do they create their own assessments. The CCSS are just standards, but teachers and LEAs can choose how best to help their students meet these standards. Everything that was said in the meeting is 100% true. I am in LEAs all over the state and they are all choosing different curriculums. You are so far off, it is laughable. If you would like to join me as I go to different LEAs, please stop complaining and get out and learn about what you claim to be an expert.


    • I’ve been dug into this fight for over two years. I’ve read and written more on Common Core than I care to think about. I’ve been in the classroom.
      Just having kids does not make one an expert, but given my previous statements I’d say I know more than the average bear. I am not “far off” nor “laughable”. You doth protest too much.

      “The CCSS are just standards, but teachers and LEAs can choose how best to help their students meet these standards.”

      Then why are all the homework and in class assignments looking pretty much identical? Because the Standards dictate testing, materials and curriculum. That’s fact.


      • Paul says:

        Within a school or a district, the homework or assessment may look the same because that is the way that district or school decided to proceed. Wake County does script out the first number of weeks for all of their teachers. Teachers are required to follow the curriculum map. That is not even close to being true for other districts. Very few districts even communicate with each other, especially about such things as homework. Each district in this state is able to adapt their curriculum as they see fit. DPI does not endorse any one textbook. I have never been told by my district or the state what to assign for homework, what to teach, or how to formatively assess. Their is nothing near that level of micro-management at the state level. Stop thinking about the word common in common core. The way I learned math, sitting in rows and memorizing facts and algorithms made us common. Learning to think and conceptualize is helping our kids learn and grow in a global community.
        Just because you write on a topic, does not make you an expert. Your facts are just simply wrong. I am in classrooms all over the state. How many times have you been out of Wake County watching what teachers do.


      • Chastizing me with your own opinion really makes your case.

        “The way I learned math, sitting in rows and memorizing facts and algorithms made us common. Learning to think and conceptualize is helping our kids learn and grow in a global community.”

        I’m glad you don’t teach my child.

        The math in K-3 expects them to be abstract thinkers, which they are not at those ages.


  5. Amanda says:

    “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.”

    Well, you say that one of the main problems with the CCSS is that they were not field tested. Surely, you’d want to make sure they take the time to do it right this time?


    • Well of course dear, girl. That’s why we have this commission, Amanda.
      If we did shift back to standards we already had, which were fine by the way, it wouldn’t be a dramatic experience as DPI would like us to believe.


    • Jennifer Schrand says:

      There are plenty of tried and true, excellent standards out there that we could switch to very quickly. Also, if new standards are written correctly there will be citations citing the research that they are based upon. Common Core has no such citations which is why it is terrible. Common Core was not based on extensive educational and developmental research.


  6. mooregrits says:

    Thirty four tabs to choose from, so you’d better know just where to look or you’ll be lost.


  7. mooregrits says:

    Sounds like so much time will be spent looking at CCSS examples, there’ll be no time to investigate other ELA models that are far superior to CCSS. Talk about a stacked deck.


  8. mooregrits says:

    Clusters, stacking, chunking..all US Dept of Ed/US Dept of Labor buzzwords for more Workforce/College, Career Readiness.


  9. mooregrits says:

    Julie Joslin, ELA Section Chief
    Lisa Llewellyn McIntosh, K-5 ELA Consultant
    Kristi Day, K-5 ELA Consultant
    Anna Frost, Grades 6-8 ELA Consultant
    Angie Stephenson, Grades 9-12 ELA Consultant


  10. mooregrits says:

    Joslin team all on the ELA team per the DPI’s website. Only team meber missing according to what I found is Lisa L. McIntosh. According to this Joslin is one of the five. So in reality, 4 of the 5 showed up.


  11. Lynne says:

    That’s not how standards set for NC according the the recent Workforce/CCSS meeting I attended. Businesses get first shot according to those authorities at the meeting.


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