What They’re Saying About Education In NC (8/19/15) – #NCED

NCED IconSome quick hits this week in education news from around North Carolina.

#1 – Career and College Ready Graduates
SB561 (Career and College Ready Graduates) is being in the House Education committee today.  The bill’s opening text:


Um, ok?
We’ve been under Common Core for three years now, shouldn’t they be ‘Career and College Ready’ if we’re graduating them?

Last year the Department of Public Instruction (DPI)  was raving about NC’s ‘highest ever’ graduation rate. Were those graduates all ‘Career and College Ready’ or not?

The point of SB561 is in section 1, which is to go after remediation rates by lining up Community Colleges and High Schools.

The State Board of Community Colleges, in consultation with the State Board of Education (Boards), shall develop a program for implementation in the 2016-2017 school year that introduces the college developmental mathematics and developmental reading and English curriculums in the high school senior year and provide opportunities for college remediation for students prior to high school graduation through cooperation with community college partners.

A proposed alignment like this would mean bringing Common Core in Community Colleges. Which is already happening. This bill also uses criteria like the Common Core aligned ACT, which recently has engaged in sketchy reporting practices.

Flashback to 2012: Pathway to Prosperity
Flashforward to 2015: Building pathways for community college students
Related: NC Community College System President Testifies In Favor Of Obama’s “Free” Tuition Idea

#2 NC Media Suddenly Notices Common Core Review
After a long pause, local media has started doing articles on the NC Common Core Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC) tasked with reviewing the standards. Beware of misleading headlines.

News and Observer/Charlotte Observer kicked it off over with weekend an article which I added 10 points of clarification to.

WRAL has an article this morning on the ASRC meeting that was held yesterday. Check out both chairs noting that there needs to be changes made:

“There will be changes. There’s no debate about the need for change,” commission Co-Chairman Andre Peek said.

“This is something that should have been done prior to the adoption of Common Core,” Co-Chairwoman Tammy Covil said.

YES, this activity by the ASRC is the vetting DPI should have done. The ASRC’s work has been uncovering changes that should have been made prior to adoption, especially since DPI received feedback in 2010 that mirrors what the ASRC is finding now.

The ASRC heard testimony  from Carole Ardizonne yesterday, which WRAL mentions:

Academic therapist Carole Ardizzone, who was invited to speak to the commission as an expert, said Common Core sets students up for failure.

“The standards are totally off base,” said Ardizzone, co-founder of Brookstone Schools, a Christian school in Charlotte. “They’re not rigorous; they’re outrageous.”

She cited a first-grade standard that asks 6-year-olds to “write an opinion piece and supply a reason for that opinion.”

Ardizzone advocates “neurological-based learning,” which she said is rooted in beginning with the basics and taking baby steps to build a foundation slowly and solidly.

“If we want children who are good at science math and linguistics by high school, you’re not going to get it by taking high school standards and breaking it down and feeding it to a kindergartner,” she said. “You have to start with what a kindergartner can learn.”

I was unable to be there in person yesterday, but I listened in and live tweeted during Ardizonne’s presentation.

Much of what she presented lines up with complaints from parents about the age and developmental inappropriateness of Common Core, especially in the elementary grades. Ardizonne also commented that the push for ‘tech devices’ in the early grades can impede development in young children.

A key take-away from Ardizonne’s presentation are that teacher training/colleges need to provide instruction on how a child’s brain works and  include biology and cognitive psychology instruction.  Also, that the Common Core standards for elementary do not line up with a child’s biological and neurological capabilities, which is setting kids up to fail.

View the materials and details of the August ASRC meeting.

View ABC11’s article, The Future of Common Core In NC on Shaky Ground
View WUNC’s article, NC Commission Wants Big Changes To Common Core
iew WNCN’s article, NC looks to drop Common Core, make standards more rigorous

#3 Free And Reduced Lunch Eligibility
DPI issued a press release on the 2015-16 free and reduced lunch eligibility guidelines.

I looked at last year’s eligibility rates versus the 2015-16 rates.  The chart below represents the change increase of the income eligibility threshold between the two years.

For example, a household with one child can have an income level $130 higher than last year’s income threshold.

This is the 6th year in a row the thresholds have been raised.

1 $130 $185 $11 $15
2 $260 $370 $21 $30
3 $390 $555 $33 $47
4 $520 $740 $44 $62
5 $650 $925 $54 $77
6 $780 $1,110 $65 $93
7 $910 $1,295 $76 $108
8 $1,040 $1,480 $86 $123

A comparison between the 2009 and the most recently published rate for 2015 shows how much the income thresholds have been raised in the last 7 school years:

1 $1,222 $1,739 $102 $145
2 $1,768 $2,516 $147 $209
3 $2,314 $3,293 $193 $275
4 $2,860 $4,070 $239 $339
5 $3,406 $4,847 $284 $404
6 $3,952 $5,624 $329 $469
7 $4,498 $6,401 $375 $533
8 $5,044 $7,178 $420 $598
For each additional family member, add $546 $777 $45 $65

I have the full data sets for these statistics and those who might be interested can email me for a copy at TheLL1885@gmail.com


#4 John Locke Foundation Event hosts BESTNC
Yesterday, the John Locke Foundation’s luncheon featured Brenda Berg of BESTNC. Berg gave a presentation on the importance of bolstering school leadership of Principals and related academic official positions.

It’s worth noting that in 2013, North Carolina State University received a five-year, $4.7 million dollar grant which funds the Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA) to ‘support professional development for principals’.

Rep. Craig Horn as apparently in attendance and tweeted about it, including mention of his related bill:

Another tweet by Policy Watch’s Lindsay Wagner caught my eye:


Business not being ‘subject to election cycles’ also means business is not accountable to the public; much like how Common Core came into play.

Business clearly should have a seat at the table when it comes to education, but as I’ve said before, business appears to own that table and all the chairs around it.  Parents again appear to be left out of the conversation.

BESTNC’s finalized “vision” for NC education will be released in a report apparently due out later this year.

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
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