1-16-15 NC Common Core Commission Meeting

Yesterday, the NC Common Core Commission, known as the Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC), met.   The meeting location was changed. The meeting was held in the State Board of Education board room at the Department of Public Instruction so the meeting could finally be live streamed. Apparently, the Department of Administration was unable to live stream.

I was at the meeting and tweeted throughout the meeting. You can see my tweet timeline in the Storify article, NC Common Core #ASRC Meeting – 1/16/15.

Meeting Highlights

The agenda was rearranged, so these highlights will not be in the same order as the posted agenda.  Some materials were not included on the ASRC website. A promise was made to add them.

Funding: The ASRC has been promised by the legislature that their funding will be cleared next month. They are not able to get their expenses to date reimbursed.  Senator Tillman was mentioned by name in this conversation, however funding for the ASRC is the responsibility of the Dept. of Administration under Governor McCrory.

Staffing: With funding allegedly coming through, getting some support staff in place was the next topic.  Co-chair Peek offered three position ideas; executive assistant, editorial assistant and policy analyst. Debate ensued over the policy analyst position, with many opposed to the cost and the potential bias of such a position. Ultimately, the commission voted to only seek the executive assistant and editorial positions. The policy analyst spot was tabled for the time being.


Presentation 1: Oxendine and Isenhour have been working together on the Developmental Appropriateness issue. The presentation materials were not available prior to the meeting.  A recommendation that K-3 ELA should perhaps return to its original sequencing.  Oxendine seemed to be recommending a narrowing of pedagogy with increased teacher discretion.

References were made to Piaget and to DAP theory. There was a comment at one point the work Oxendine and Isenhour were doing should incorporate the DPI survey data. It was noted the DPI survey was non-scientific and not representative of the 95,000 teachers in North Carolina.

The most incredible thing that happened during this first presentation was that member Ann Clark, who was at the meeting via teleconference, declared she was at a ‘national common core convening‘:

One can argue attending this ‘convening’ is inappropriate given her position on the ASRC. Clark offered NO details about said meeting, where it was, who was hosting it or why she was there in the first place. This event is relevant to the ASRC and the full details of her trip need to be made available to the public.


Presentation 2: The Common Core Copyright.  The State Board of Education’s attorney, Ms. Katie Cornetto, was brought in to talk about the copyright.  Cornetto stated she had given the ASRC a written synopsis. This was not on the ASRC site. Cornetto said that the Core has a public license that allows anyone to use it in part or in whole so long as attribution is made.

Debate ensued over the actual wording in the license, which asserts this use is only agreeable if one is “supporting the Common Core States Standards Initiative”, which North Carolina is not doing anymore.  Cornetto, at one point, was forced by Dr. Scheik to say that North Carolina would not be violating copyright if we just changed the name.
Relevant text from the Public License:

“The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) hereby grant a limited, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to copy, publish, distribute, and display the Common Core State Standards for purposes that support the Common Core State Standards Initiative. These uses may involve the Common Core State Standards as a whole or selected excerpts or portions.”

There were serious concerns by some of the member that the state could be sued if this wasn’t addressed properly.  Ms. Cornetto said she had a statement on about the copyright and it had her signature on it. This document should be added to the ASRC website.

The conversation about being sued had State Board of Education Chairman, Bill Cobey, making claims that he did not believe we would be sued. Later on in the meeting it was noted Cobey’s word alone would not hold up in a court of law.  Cobey then seemed to shrug it off and just said, ‘let them sue us’.

Tammy Covil read a section of the public license for Common Core that mentions obtaining a waiver. Text:

No term or provision of this License shall be deemed waived and no breach consented to unless such waiver or consent shall be in writing and signed by authorized representatives of NGA Center and CCSSO.

There was also mentioned that a request for one has been made by the ASRC to the CCSSO/NGA and they have received no reply. It was also noted that Dr. Atkinson is now president of the CCSSO and the questioned asked again: Where is our waiver?

Co-chair Peek found it troubling that we had asked for a waiver and had not received one. Bill Cobey then said he would ask Ms. Cornetto to see if she could obtain the waiver.

Tammy Covil also noted that when she had asked for the contractual documents for North Carolina using Common Core, she was just given a copy of the Public License.

Rep. Speciale was recognized by the commission on the issue of the copyright. Rep. Speciale stated this was investigated by the General Assembly’s Common Core LRC and they were told by Dr. Atkinson that changes could not be made to the Common Core.

Co-Chair Peek attempted to redirect Rep. Speciale’s comments by saying we should be able to take chunks of the Core if we want. Rep. Speciale came back and stated (paraphrased), ‘we don’t want a rebrand or take chunks. We want something that is uniquely North Carolina’s.’

Rep. Pittman was also in attendance and followed up Rep. Speciale’s comments. Pittman expanded on the addition of materials and went on to say that Atkinson had told the legislature that only 15% in additional new content could be added and that 15% of new content was time limited and that period had expired.  Rep. Pittman was clear and closed his comments strong on the intent of SB 812 (paraphrased): ‘There will be further legislation if commission is unable to fulfill the intent of the bill.’

Some detailed and important reading on the Common Core Copyright:


3rd Presentation: Tammy Covil and Dr. Scheik presented an updated timeline for implementation of goals.

ASRC Standards Revision Recommendations (pdf)

Their presentation centered around three pieces which are standards simplification, age/developmental appropriateness and teacher flexibility.
Once again, Dr. Scheik did not disappoint with his ability to make direct comments on the standards.

Covil also reviewed the task of the commission, which is to review the current standards and make recommendations to change and replace them. Covil notes that review is really of the Common Core standards, because that is what we have and DPI basically just changed the moniker. The main recommendation from Covil and Scheik was a new set of standards for k-12:

There was then discussion about ‘upheaval‘ if we switch to different standards. Jeffrey Isenhour was driving this narrative. The point was made that NC jumped into Common Core with no warning to teachers, no materials and no training. It was also noted that revisions and  changes to standards in North Carolina happen every five years. The unspoken message that this ‘upheaval’ argument is largely invalid was clearly made.

Co-Chair Peek seemed to really want to put forth a recommendation post-haste to remove Common Core’s integrated math and go back to the traditional course.

There was more discussion on just messing with the Common Core instead of fulfilling the charge in SB 812.


4th Presentation:  DPI and their Online Surveys.

ELA Standards Educator Survey Feedback (pdf)
Math Standards Educator Survey Feedback (pdf)

There was some confusion with the material presented.  Dr. McCoy of DPI said that 8,703 people responded, yet the slides showed varying numbers responding to any given question along with the number who did not respond. These numbers didn’t seem to jive with the 8,703 number of respondents.

An attendee noted to me that the standards quoted in the survey didn’t match the actual description of the actual standard’s text.

Dr. McCoy stated several times that there was no indentifying information about the respondents captured:

As I had previously written, the link to these surveys was posted on the DPI website. Anyone from anywhere could have done this survey. It is unclear if the survey could be taken multiple times by one person.

The ASRC should request the raw data from this survey. Survey Monkey was used to do this survey. Having used Survey Monkey before myself, I know IP addresses can be and usually are captured. This data should be included.

Dr. McCoy also stated the completion of these surveys coincided with “8 focus groups” on Common Core held by DPI across the state. She did not elaborate but it begs the question, did these focus groups participate in the survey at or following the event?  Also, who were those who participated in these focus groups? What materials were presented? Were opposing views provided? None of these questions were asked or answered. The ASRC should ask for details on these focus groups and post the information to their site.

5th Presentation: Katie Lemons spoke on the issue of teacher flexibility.
Main points made were that rigid standards mean rigid instruction, different levels of learning require differentiation in teaching and assessments tied to standards lead to less flexibility for the teacher.

Lemons outlined four major problems with the standards; clarity, quantity/depth of content, developmental appropriateness and assessments.

Identifying key flexibility issues and learning is important to moving forward.



The question of when outside speakers could be brought in was raised. It was stated that Covil had several experts lined up but funding was holding up locking them in.  The idea of bringing some of them in by conference call was mentioned. If this happens, the call needs to be accessible by the public via a dial in number. See the presentation from Covil and Scheik for a list of who they wish to bring in.

There was also brief discussion on making the ASRC site more visible by having a front page link to it on the DPI website. Personally, I think the State Board of Education site needs to have it posted prominently as well.

Co-Chair Metcalf commented to Co-Chair Peek that the two of them needed to speak to Dr. Atkinson directly about getting that copyright waiver.


Meeting Materials
Several materials presented by the ASRC member are not included below. It was promised that for next meetings, such materials would be made available to the public prior to the meeting. Check the ASRC Site for updates.

Prior Meetings:

Related Reading:

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 A.P. Dillon (LL1885), Academic Standards Review Commission, Common Core and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 1-16-15 NC Common Core Commission Meeting

  1. georgezeller says:

    I would be more worried that Jeanie Metcalf is a member than Ann Clark being at a Common Core National meeting!


    • Explain your comment, Mr. Zeller.

      Explain how being at a ‘national convening on common core’ is not a conflict of interest of the meeting she was SUPPOSED to be at?

      Ann Clark is now superintendent in the interim of the largest district in the state. That takes a lot of work and she still has ties to various “non-profits” in the state who are still actively pushing common core. I think she ought to step down.


  2. Pingback: The Common Core Weekend Reads – 1-18-15 | Lady Liberty 1885

  3. Pingback: CCSSO Pres. Atkinson Calls Standards Copyright Questions “Preposterous” | Lady Liberty 1885

  4. Pingback: More questions on the copyright - Stop Common Core NCStop Common Core NC

  5. Thank you for all of your great work.


  6. Pingback: 1-16-15 NC Common Core Commission Meeting - Stop Common Core NCStop Common Core NC

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