Yesterday was the 15th and final meeting of the Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC). The general consensus going in was that the ASRC knew the math was pretty bad and needed to be replaced. The English Language Arts (ELA) was also deficient in many areas and needed fixing.
Backing up for a moment, it is important to know that various pro-Common Core groups, including WakeEd Partnership, NCAE, SAS, NC Chamber of Commerce, BEST NC, have been attacking and pressuring the ASRC in the media and behind the scenes. In particular, these groups took aim at the proposed recommendations in math.
Jump ahead now to yesterday’s meeting you might be expecting to hear that after 15 months the ASRC put forth their recommendations and they passed them in a vote. However, that’s not what happened.
To borrow from the math group leader of the ASRC, Dr. Ted Scheik, this commission ‘kicked the can down the road’.
If you were listening in to the live stream or were in attendance as I was at yesterday’s meeting, you were witness to a disgusting display as the recommendations were voted on. The harassment was so bad that one of the commission members actually got up, walked out and didn’t come back.
What was so disgusting was the manner in which several members of the commission literally ganged up on Dr. Scheik. Nearly every word of his the two math recommendations he put forth was attacked, questioned and criticized.
At one point Co-Chair Covil had to step in because Dr. Scheickwas clearly being overwhelmed. Covil remarked along the lines that it was ‘amazing to see the attacks and scrutiny being hurled at Ted Scheik was more than had ever been directed at North Carolina’s Superintendent’.
These commission members acted as if they had not been there for the last 15 months and they willfully ignored the detailed findings Dr. Scheik that they all had access to. It wasn’t a debate or discussion, it was an inquisition. It was transparent, ham-handed and appalling.
Those same members then voted to kill said math recommendations and insert ‘math’ into the vanilla and non-specific language the commission adopted for the ELA section.
The goal of these commission members hounding Dr. Scheik had one clear purpose and that was to protect Common Core.
Want to know who those Common Core protecting commission members were?
Here you go: Jeffrey Isenhour, Supt. Ann Clark, Dr. Denise Watts, Dr. Laurie McCollum, Dr. Olivia Oxendine, Bill Cobey, Andre Peek.
— A.P. Dillon – LL1885 (@LadyLiberty1885) December 19, 2015
The most vicious by far was Jeffrey Isenhour — who I know for a fact blew off the teacher listening tour, had barely any interaction with the math group and has been trying to kill the work of this commission since day one. Isenhour has been laying the groundwork for some time to reject anything the math team recommended.
Both Cobey and Olivia Oxendine are on the State Board of Education. Cobey appears to do whatever Supt. Atkinson tells him to. Oxendine’s behavior yesterday was not characteristic for her and very disappointing.
Andre Peek was Governor McCrory’s appointee and I’ve detailed in the past what a fan of Common Core both of them are.
Laurie McCollum was an unknown quantity going in and was hard to read, but showed her true colors yesterday shooting her hand up first to vote down the second math recommendations.
Denise Watts is also from the Charlotte area and her Project LIFT has connections to Teach For America.
Side note: Katie Lemons apparently voted down the first set regarding Minnesota math, but was clearly conflicted as she voted for the second set of math recommendations.
Watts and Isenhour were picked by Thom Tillis prior to his US Senate run. Clark and McCollum were picked by Sen. Phil Berger. See the list here. Tillis won’t see Common Core come back to him, he’s off in the US Senate now, which leaves Phil Berger holding the bag.
See you soon, Senator Berger!
The local media is starting to push out their stories – I’ll have more over the next few days.
Related Reading: NC Common Core Commission Wraps Up 15 Month Investigation