Surveys and Common Core Commission Funding

Daily Haymaker has an article up on the coal ash/Common Core commission funding bill, which is SB 14.  Haymaker seems a little stressed out that $275k was allotted. I’m not. The commission has to work over the course of a year, handling what in essence is an educational and political hydra.

Haymaker also points out that the bill bans the commission from contracting third parties or services for surveys.  That’s section four of the bill.

SECTION 4. The General Assembly finds that considerable resources have already been expended to allow teachers and members of the public to make known their opinions and concerns surrounding adoption of academic standards. Specifically, the General Assembly finds that (i) on March 20, 2014, a Legislative Research Commission committee heard more than two hours of comment from stakeholders and interested members of the public on the subject; and (ii) on October 20, 2014, the Department of Public Instruction surveyed every public school teacher in the State on the subject. Accordingly, funds transferred pursuant to Section 2 of this act shall not be used by the Academic Standards Review Commission to conduct any survey related to the adoption of academic standards or to contract for the performance of such a survey by any third party.

First things first. This section of the bill is clearly meant to keep the commission from really finding out what the people think as it makes reference to the legislative research committee (LRC). A committee, by the way, which didn’t fulfill it’s task. The financial and legal analyses do not appear to have been done. If they have, they were not made public.

Yeah, that “two hours” of stakeholder opinion? That was 60 people getting to speak for a whole huge 2 minutes.

These quick statements by the public were allowed after two speeches. One was from an education policy expert from Civitas that detailed the problems with Common Core.

The second was a speech by Gary Salamido,“VP of Government Affairs” for the Chamber of Commerce, spoke out in favor Common Core and described our children as ‘talent supply’.  In fact, Mr. Salamido didn’t use the words child or children at all in his remarks.

The Chamber’s ‘Hire Standards’ group tried to pack the list of speakers too, but the parents got their early and outnumbered them.

The final tally on the speakers was that 2/3 spoke in OPPOSITION to the standards. This is a fact unrecognized by the media and the Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC) to date.

Now that we’ve covered what went on during the LRC,  let’s talk about surveys.

Currently, for the ASRC, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is totally running the information show.  SB 14’s survey language is ensuring that no outside entity will infringe on the narrative DPI has set.

Remember, during the LRC meetings in 2013, Dr. Atkinson stated quite a few times they already surveyed on Common Core, yet never produced the “10,000 comments” she chirped on about.  Last Fall, I exposed why these “10,000 comments” from a survey were never released by Dr. Atkinson — because they weren’t done by North Carolina and 10,000 was the total for all states.

Flash forward to the last few months, DPI put a teacher survey into the field before the holidays.  The ASRC and I have asked for that raw data and DPI has yet to give it to either party. This past week, DPI has a parent/stakeholder survey out there.

Neither are scientific as anyone from anywhere can log on and do them as many times as they like.

Both surveys consist of going line by line of the Common Core ELA and Math for each grade.  The survey taker is supposed to be checking a box as to whether you think the line item is an “appropriate standard” or not.  Gee, wasn’t the ASRC formed because Common Core was found to be inappropriate?

Just for an example of how ridiculous this survey is, I did one of the K-3 grade levels for ELA.   If you check ‘needs revision’ instead of ‘appropriate’, you can leave a comment. It took me over 40 minutes and was over 22 pages long. It likely took me that long because I left comments.

For extra fun, you can’t save your spot and return. You have to do the grade level in one go.

Now, with that example in mind, imagine you’re the average citizen or parent going through and doing this survey k-12 for both ELA and math.

At the February meeting of the ASRC, the communications director for Kentucky’s education department was brought in to explain their survey and engagement with the commission.

Given the survey block in SB 14, the presentation by the Kentucky official was the most useless presentation to date, that is, unless one is only concerned with validating the information being pushed by NC DPI.


Related Reads: A Blitz of Money and Influence in NC Education

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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