Chapel Hill EWA Seminar Topic: Common Core

North Carolina’s newest ‘Education Non-Profit‘ provided some video of the recent EWA Seminar held in Chapel Hill on January 12th.  EWA stands for Education Writers Association.

EWA has received multiple Gates Foundation grants. The most recent is for over $1.4 million and is centered on ‘communications’.

EWA has an article on their site with the ‘top tweets’ from the Chapel Hill seminar.  One notable tweet has Former NC Governor Perdue remarking that Common Core will be part of the 2016 Presidential debate:

This Tweet gave me pause, since my own child is now in second grade and I have to reprogram him daily in basic addition/subtraction because the Common Core way has him so confused.
Links to the Videos:

  • Taking Political Stock of the Common Core
    Description: “Education Writers Association conference panel on political controversy surrounding Common Core. Includes panelists Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, former Governor Beverly Perdue and Florida State Senator John Legg.”
  • The Southern Context of Common Core
    Description: “Education Writers Association conference panel on the Southern context of Common Core. News & Observer Education Reporter Jane Stancill interviews Ferrel Guillory, member EducationNC Board of Directors and professor of the practice at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.”

I’ve finally gotten around to looking at them and have some notes on them. Today, I’ll look at the first video “Taking Political Stock of the Common Core” (56 minutes, 17 seconds long).

Participants: Former Governor Perdue, Lt. Governor Dan Forest, Florida State Senator John Legg.
Reminder: Former NC Governor Perdue’s DigiLearn Propped Up By Gates Grant and Governor Perdue and June Atkinson put Common Core as a brand name in NC’s Race To The Top Grant application almost 6 months before the standards were released.

6:20: Moderator asks Perdue why NC adopted Common Core and what she makes of the backlash.  Her response is a stream of Common Core talking points – ‘internationally benchmarked’, ‘high standards’, etc.  Perdue around the 9 minute mark then says “political rhetoric” around the Common Core is “a shame”.  She then goes on to say every state should “do what they want” whether is be Common Core or not; let the citizens stand up and decide. The irony in those statements is clearly lost on her.

10:48: Lt. Governor Forest is asked a follow-up question and if this is “political rhetoric”.  The Lt. Governor comments the reason we’re even having this conversation is lack of transparency in the original adoption process.  The Lt. Governor says Common Core opposition/debate is not partisan; parent concerns are not ‘political rhetoric’, you can’t just dismiss parent questions. Mentions the questions his office asked of the Department of Public Instruction and the lack of answers they provided.  His main thrust was the lack of transparency and answers on Common Core from those who created it and are supporting it.

16:26: Moderator asks Florida Legislator Legg about where Common Core is in his state and political tests it has faced.  Legg launches into a rendition of what the definition of “is” is. By going down the path of different meanings of Common Core, Legg inadvertently calls attention to the massive list of its flaws.

22:40: Moderator mentions one panelist was missing – Michael McShane of American Enterprise Institute. Arguably, McShane is a supporter.

23:00: Moderator mentions the math problem that went viral and originated in North Carolina. Moderator credits that video with the build-up of political tension over the issue. The question then turns to pedagogy. Lt. Governor Forest comments that the standards are not “just standards”; they inform tests, materials and more. The Lt. Governor laid out the age/developmentally inappropriateness in the K-5 and the math being a mess in the later grades.

25:56: Moderator to Lt. Governor Forest: Do we need tinkering around the edges or a whole-sale new set of standards?  Lt. Governor Forest mentions the Academic Standards Review Commission, raises questions of mass roll-out all at one time in North Carolina.

25:58: Moderator to Perdue: Do you think mistakes were made in your state with the roll-out? Implementation didn’t go right?  Perdue says the key issue was that the whole roll-out was ill-conceived; very little work with the American press corps about it. Perdue (paraphrased), ‘We were supportive of the concept, but can’t look back and think there was anything wrong with the roll-out in NC’.  Perdue admitted she has a daughter in Raleigh who “hates Common Core” and “she hates it because she can’t do the math”.  Perdue insinuates the problem with Common Core isn’t the standards or the kids, but the parents who see their kids being ‘taught differently’ in order to compete in the 21st century.

29:09: Moderator to Perdue: Are you comfortable with the review panel now going through the standards and possibly revising them? Perdue says she doesn’t have a problem with a review then asks Lt. Governor Forest if they are funded yet. The answer right now is no. Perdue then says the commission doesn’t have ‘adequate resources’ and that’s an issue.

Perdue continues and hints maybe the commission (in her view) doesn’t know what they are doing, “I just think you have to be sure if you’re going to do these reviews that you have somebody who knows something about what they’re doing…

Perdue said she didn’t think she had what it took to do such a review.

30:20: Q and A Session started

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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3 Responses to Chapel Hill EWA Seminar Topic: Common Core

  1. Pingback: What they’re saying about Common Core and Education in NC (WE 1/23/15) | Lady Liberty 1885

  2. Pingback: The Common Core Weekend Reads – 1-25-15 | Lady Liberty 1885

  3. Kim says:

    Common Core will not only be part of the 2016 presidential debate but it will, I predict, play a key role in determining Pat McCrory’s future here in North Carolina. Pat and his education henchman Eric Guckian are big Common Core supporters with deep Chamber ties. Pat and his crew continue to cavalierly dismiss the fury of parents — from all sides of the aisles — who have children knee-deep in this educational nightmare. He gravely underestimates how angry we parents are.


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