Three articles have surfaced about Monday’s NC Common Core commission meeting. Former Common Core Validation Committee members, Dr. Stotky and Dr. Milgram, gave testimony.
The three articles are:
- News and Observer: NC education panel hears from critics of Common Core
- WUNC: Common Core Critics Suggest “Complete Rewrite”
- Policy Watch: Common core critics: NC needs to completely rewrite standards
All three reported pretty much the same thing: Critics say to rewrite the Common Core.
The problem is, that’s not what they said.
What both Dr. Milgram and Dr. Stotsky actually said is that you can’t ‘re-write’ Common Core. The better option was to adopt a clean set of pre-Common Core standards to replace it, such as Massachusetts for English Language Arts and California for math.
Both Milgram and Stotsky gave a list of recommendations to the Commission, which is captured at StopCommonCoreNC.org in more detail than this list:
- Request the NC Board of Education to develop rigorous, internationally benchmarked standards at the secondary level.
- Request your legislature to ask the state’s own engineering, science, and mathematics faculty and literary/humanities scholars to develop entrance exams (matriculation tests) for NC institutions of higher education
- Request the NC Board of Education to offer two different types of high school diplomas.
- Request the legislature to restructure teacher and administrator training programs in North Carolina institutions of higher education.
Fun Fact: The March 16th meeting was the first time that this commission has heard from any Common Core critics since they began work last September.
All three news outlets also reported commentary from a rather angry former Validation Committee member, Jere Confrey.
I say ‘angry’ because I (and half the room) witnessed her rather loud meltdown to the News and Observer reporter (Lynn Bonner I believe) after Milgram spoke. To Bonner’s credit, Confrey’s horrifyingly unprofessional diatribe didn’t make it into the article. Bonner’s article was a good deal longer than the last time Confrey was in an article in the News and Observer.
I personally watched Confrey passed this document out to the Commission, but did not bring copies for the public in attendance. I snagged a copy and intended to scan and upload it, but Policy Watch apparently got their hands on a copy as well.
WUNC’s Reema Krais has this quote from Confrey:
“We reviewed international standards, we reviewed data from different groups that do research on how kids learn, we heard from teachers, we sent the standards out to the states and got responses,” Confrey explained.
Ms. Confrey’s statement here is nothing more than the same talking points supporters have handed to us for years with no proof to back it up.
Why is there no proof? Because the CCSSO and NGA won’t release the Validation Committee’s files or minutes.
Confrey claims ‘we heard from teachers’, yet only a single teacher with current K-12 classroom experience was involved in writing the standards.
Confrey doesn’t mention assessments in the WUNC quote, but she does have an opinion about assessment writing on the article, “The Smarter Balanced Common Core Mathematics Tests Are Fatally Flawed and Should Not Be Used.“
“My group read your piece. We found the examples to be worrisome and compelling. You convinced us that writing assessments requires lots of expertise and critical eyes.”
— Jere Confrey, College of Education, North Carolina State University
Writing standards requires expertise and critical eyes too, right?
For those interested, I left a comment on Lindsay Wagner’s article at NC Policy Watch, which can serve as a response to any of the other articles out there. Comment text is below, where I start out citing part of the Policy Watch article.
“I think they have a contingency on the board who is aligned with a group of people that is strongly opposed to the Common Core,” said Confrey. “There is an agenda being carried out, which is to only hear from people who oppose the Common Core.”
Ms. Confrey clearly has not been in attendance for the last 6 meetings, as the March 16th meeting was the FIRST one where we heard from Common Core Critics.
I watched Confrey corner Lynn Bonner of the News and Observer and listened to her proceed to malign an internationally recognized mathematician. It was truly horrifying to listen to and when I interjected into her very LOUD objections to Dr. Milgram’s testimony, she pointed her finger at me and snapped that ‘she’d get to me in a minute’.
She never did ‘get to me’ and her assertions that the examples Dr. Milgram used were “not common core” are hollow ones parents have heard before. Common core had no curriculum, so when curriculum surfaces to support the standards Ms. Confrey cannot cry foul. The example Dr. Milgram used was one I had seen right here in Wake County. It is similar to that of examples I have seen in other states as well.
IT IS COMMON CORE in that it is being used to support the standards. If the material is bad, then perhaps the standards driving it are equally bad.
This article posted her shallow rebuttal that does not take into account the impact these flawed standards are having on kids. Confrey insists they are age and developmentally appropriate, as a mom of 2nd grader in his 3rd year of Common Core, I can tell you THEY ARE NOT.
Kindly also post the written statements from Stotsky and Milgram for people to download?
Ms. Confrey is financially invested in Common Core.
Kindly dig into her affiliations with NCSU and the Friday Institute, include her work with Amplify and their pre-loaded common core tablets that utilize her work at NCSU.
If you have trouble finding the information, let me know. I’ve done the research and will share it.