How Does Rep. Craig Horn Define Proficiency and Rigor?

Inigo Common CoreHow does Rep. Craig Horn define ‘proficiency and rigor’?

According to Horn’s press release yesterday, the definition is tied to how well our state scored on a flawed system (NAEP) that is not benchmarked to international standards and to a manipulated grading system which is being manipulated even further with two separate NCGA bills.

I’ve posted the opening paragraph from Horn’s statement below, but read the whole 1 page press release.

Opening Paragraph:

North Carolina has significantly raised its academic proficiency standards in K-1over the last two years. North Carolina is now among the Top Five performing states in proficiency and rigor in the most recent survey of all states in the US. North Carolina received a grade of “A” in all categories (4th grade math, 4th grade reading, 8th grade math, 8th grade reading). This is an incredible jump in proficiency since 2005 when North Carolina received an “F” in all our categories.


Note Horn curiously mentions 2005 specifically for his comparison for the “F”.

Could that specific reference to 2005 imply that since June Atkinson was elected Superintendent in 2005, NC academics have made some miraculous transformation?  A likely bet.  Remember, Horn and Atkinson are a team working on “Accountability, Transparency and Communications” behind the scenes with BEST NC.

Speaking of Atkinson, Horn’s press release has the same theme as Atkinson’s  “State of States” remarks made in her position as CCSSO President.


A word about Education Next & The NAEP

This Education Next report points to NAEP scores and Common Core as being a contributing factor to apparent increases in proficiency. Yet, the Education Next article notes their method in measuring proficiency:

“To identify changes in state proficiency standards, we use the same procedures as in our five prior analyses.”

The same procedures that have been noted to be flawed and not accounting for the tinkering of related scoring systems within the states.

Test scores were the evaluated source, not standards and therefore any attribution to the Common Core as a factor would be at best misleading.

If 45 states are essentially using the same standards, yet some state’s test scores improved but most did not, the only thing one can conclude from this article is that the states with higher test scores are due to the tests themselves, not the standards.  There are far too many variables here.

Is Education Next comparing apples to wrenches? It appears so.

Let’s look at Education Next some more and return to Horn’s press release:

The highly respected “Education Next” magazine reports in its Summer 2015 issue that North Carolina is among the top five states in the nation for strength in academic standards. “Education Next” is published by the Hoover Institute and is circulated world-wide. The grading is based on comparisons of state test outcomes to the internationally recognized National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) also known as the “Nation’s Report Card. The performance levels considered on NAEP tests are roughly equivalent to those set by international organizations that estimate student proficiency worldwide.

Rep. Horn seems to think that he can state the Education Next is a Hoover Institute publication and that implies we should move along, nothing more to see here.

One thing I’ve learned in the last 4 years is that when it comes to politicians and Common Core, there is always more to see here.

More to see like an over half-million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Harvard University

Date: July 2013
Purpose: to support Education Next’s work in four critical areas: Common Core standards and assessments, digital learning, teacher effectiveness, and charter schools
Amount: $557,168
Term: 24
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Grantee Website:



Fun Facts About Rep. Craig Horn

During the Legislative Research Committee meetings, he patted the moms on the back and told them he opposed Common Core and would fight for them.  Since then, he’s appeared to have done pretty much the opposite. That includes making sure SB812 was triumphant over HB1061, which was the stronger bill.

Horn attended Jeb Bush’s Ed Foundation’s big shin-dig last year.  Rep. Horn and other legislators seem to listen a lot to Bush on education, yet Florida’s schools remain some of the worst.

Horn’s on the board of Former Governor Bev Perdue’s company, DigiLearn. Digilearn is propped up by the Gates Foundation.  Perdue, along with Atkinson, signed away North Carolina’s academic sovereignty in 2010.

He was involved in the BEST NC meetings that were held in private on the SAS Institute campus last Fall and, as previously mentioned, was paired with June Atkinson in work group named, “Accountability, Transparency and Communications“.

The work that came out of those private meetings produced the “Vision 2020 Initiative”. Rep. Horn is currently engaged in a bill to make some aspects of that “Vision” a reality.   Rep. Graig Meyer is doing the same thing Horn is. Meyer is doing it with the help of BEST NC’s “non-partisan” partner, the public relations outlet masquerading as an Education news outlet, EducationNC.

In a nutshell, Rep. Horn appears to have taken sides with the ‘Big Education Complex’ of education ‘non-profits’ and various think tanks which has formed in North Carolina. This Big Ed Complex is driving education decisions in our state much the same way Common Core was brought about —  a collection of unelected and publicly unaccountable non-governmental organizations ruling by fiat.


BEST NC’s 2020 Vision Initiative

So, Who Showed Up To Excellence In Ed’s Annual Event?

Will Local Media Finally Report On Who The CCSSO President Is?


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:
This entry was posted in Common Core, EDUCATION, June Atkinson, NC State Standards, NCGA, Testing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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