Common Core In Trouble? Hope Street To The Rescue! – #ncga

Earlier today I wrote about the NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) hitting the panic button over the legislature not buying their re-write of the Common Core Integrated math for high school.

Well, DPI wasn’t the only one swinging into action.

Hope Street Group To The Rescue!

Bill Gates Dead CatThe Bill Gates funded propaganda outfit, Hope Street Group, of course, had an article at EducationNC yesterday decrying HB 657.

It includes DPI’s HB 657 talking points and was written Trey Ferguson.  Here are some points to consider:

  • This is Ferguson’s second article at EducationNC that outright shills for Common Core math.
  • Ferguson was one of the teachers who signed on to a letter sent to the Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC). That letter turned out to actually be penned by a lobbyist hired by the NC Chamber of Commerce to arguably attack the ASRC.

Tammy Covil, as a former ASCR Co-Chair,  is well acquainted with Mr. Ferguson’s protestations. I asked her about his recent article.

“What Mr. Ferguson fails to grasp is that the traditional approach provides the consistency of standards he recommends far better than the haphazard and disjointed integrated approach that DPI tried to produce,” said Covil.

“He is correct, differentiation of instruction is not synonymous with integrated math or traditional sequencing – all effective teachers tailor their instruction to their students’ abilities,” Covil said.  “How else does he think his high school math teachers were able to prepare him for college-level work (at North Carolina State University, no less) without the aid of Common Core standards?”

“Trey Ferguson is a beginning teacher. He has two years of teaching experience under his belt. Novice teachers need to spend more time in the classroom honing their craft and proving themselves as educators instead of wasting valuable time peddling Common Core propaganda,” stated Covil.

Covil closed with a bit of a zinger, saying that, “As much as I appreciate the input, I think it’s best that we take the advice of veteran teachers with knowledge and experience in standards-based education rather than entertaining the opinions of rookies with social justice axes to grind.”

Hopefully, the NGCA indeed heard from someone with more than 2 years of ‘Common Core only’ math teaching experience at the Senate Education Committee meeting yesterday.

By the way, it looks like the bill will head to the Senate floor today, per the Senate calendar for June 9th:

3rd Edition S Com Sub
4-22-15 Rules
5-31-16 W/D Rules; rerefer Ed/Higher Ed.
6-8-16 Unfav Com Sub; Sen Ed/Higher Ed. Com Sub Adopted (Chgs title)

I believe some minor changes have been made, which include changing the bill title entirely and having schools offer both Integrated math and the traditional Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II.

Here is the current version of HB 657.

Miscellaneous Media & Senate Ed Cmte Video

Civitas offered a quick blog post on the meeting. Key section from that article, emphasis added:

Had the Academic Standards Review Commission done their job, this would not have happened, but that’s another story. The legislation reflects is an attempt to resolve a difficult practical problem; a problem that many on the right believe cannot be resolved through compromise. Full story be told, the legislation also attests to the power of the Department of Public Instruction and its PR machine which I’m told was in overdrive asking teachers to share their views on the bill.

EducationNC offered video on Periscope during the Senate Ed Committee meeting:

Alex Granados of EducationNC has an article to accompany that video. He cites Wendy Bartlett as well, who said, “These standards are the best I have seen in 19 years. Students like the integrated math sequence. It gives students the opportunities to master different topics in the course.”

Nice of her to speak for all students there. Her comments are in direct conflict with the findings of the ASRC. The ASRC found the Integrated math disjointed and skipped around so much that there was little to no mastery of skills.

The EducationNC article includes clearer video and audio of the meeting:

Some key points (along with some commentary from me) from the video:

Tillman notes in his opening remarks that, “The bottom 60% have trouble with the new merged math.”  TRUE.

Senator Cook notes his disappointment we haven’t been able to get rid of Common Core after over 4 years. Yes, Senator, the parents are upset too.

Barringer offered an amendment that allows students with IEP’s to be able to move into CTE courses. The amendment passed.

Sen. Smith questioned going ‘back to something’ old and if there was a study to support it. Sen. Tillman said if we weren’t offering a choice that a study might be needed.  Senator Smith, here’s the only ‘study’ you need: The NC historical ACT data and benchmarks for Career and College Readiness.

Sen. Barefoot points out that $70 million dollars of money that were supposed to go to integrated math never hit the classroom. I think he is referring to the Race To The Top grant there.

Senator Woodward makes the comment he is concerned we hadn’t seen the Academic Standards Review Commission results yet. Good grief. The ASRC concluded in December 2015, Senator.  Barefoot reminded Woodward that as Integrated math was phased in during 2012, that teachers taught both the traditional sequence and the integrated.

There was public comment. Hit the video around the 24-minute mark.

I didn’t quite catch the last name, but I think the first speaker was a teacher named Hoyt(?) who backs integrated math. Her main reason? Business tells us to.

The second speaker was arguably the most experienced and persuasive, yet not a single news outlet mentioned her.  Her name is Julie Shilawski and I looked her up where she is now, at Meredith College.  She taught math in Wake County for 39 years. Wow.

Shilawski’s remarks included Kentucky, the first adopter of Common Core:

“In Kentucky, which as done Common Core for the longest amount of time, 21% of the students were college ready. 5% of the black students were college ready.  That is not serving our students well.”

Listen to her full remarks.

The third speaker was Wendy Bartlett. This is the woman all the media outlets quoted. Why? Likely because of her very theatrical presentation, which edged towards shouting at one point.  Senator Barefoot took time to clarify Ms. Bartlett’s incorrect comments;  that under this bill no one’s math sequence would be changed unless they wanted to

For example, WRAL did a bang up job of reporting the meeting featuring Wendy ‘just a teacher’ Bartlett,  who happened to use grant money from Common Core proponent, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, to make sure Forsyth county was Common Core compliant.

The last speaker was Hope Harrington, a student at Garner Magnet High. She lists an impressive college-level course load, 4.7 GPA and says she is the ‘higher level student’ the committee has mentioned.  Her opening remarks then include this:

“I want to thank you for allowing me to speak to you on behalf of students and their perspective on this. With my past experience, I can honestly say that Common Core has only had negative effects on my education.”

Harrington went on to say the Common Core methods were confusing and her father ended up tutoring her at home using traditional methods. Harrington went on to say when she used those traditional methods on tests ‘because they made sense’, she was penalized. She got the correct answer, but was marked off for not using the right ‘method’.

Youll NeverPass The test that wayHarrington also remarked that she’s had the experience of traditional math and integrated math being taught at the same time and it ‘went wonderful’.

Harrington also said she helps tutor Math I students and those she helps are really struggling under Common Core, so she decided to teach them the traditional method.

The student she used as an example improved from an F to a B using the traditional method.

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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2 Responses to Common Core In Trouble? Hope Street To The Rescue! – #ncga

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