Local officials unhappy with state plan to cut Common Core

Jul. 18, 2014 @ 06:23 PM

A bill passed by the state legislature this week to roll back the Common Core standards is not popular with some Vance County representatives and school administrators.

Vance County Schools superintendent said this is another example of the state not finishing what it began.

“North Carolina has not completed any programs or course of study that it has started,” Ronald Gregory wrote in an email statement. “We did not complete the Basic Education Program (BEP). We did not complete the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, and now, we are not completing the Common Core. We should stop using children’s education as pawns for whichever legislative group is in power.”

The state adopted Common Core in 2010 and implemented the standards in the 2012-2013 school year.

Common Core, which sets literacy and math standards for K-12 students, would remain in place until the new standards are completed.

Both chambers of the legislature had competing bills on how to change the state’s curriculum but came to a compromise that allowed the state to potentially use some materials from the Common Core program that are effective. Gov. Pat McCrory has said he will sign the measure.

The bill directs the State Board of Education to rewrite the Common Core standards and establishes a new advisory commission to make curriculum recommendations to the board.

It does not bar the commission or state school board from integrating current Common Core standards into the new ones.

State Rep. Nathan Baskerville — who represents Vance, Granville and Warren counties — voted against the House bill.

“We ought to have some uniform base-level from which to compare students,” he said. “We need to have higher standards in North Carolina, and the Common Core does that.”

He said the new advisory commission formed as part of the bill adds an unnecessary level of bureaucracy.

Like Gregory, Baskerville said Common Core has become politicized at the expense of the children.

“Common Core should be a non-partisan issue,” he said. “I’m concerned that our children’s education is being kicked around like a political football.”

Republicans in the state legislature say the standards should be replaced because they are leading to the use of age-inappropriate curriculum.

Opponents of Common Core also argue teachers and parents are struggling to grasp the new material.

“The only legitimate concern that I have heard discussed from teachers and administrators is that it’s a lot to implement all at one time,” he said. “But these standards have only been in place for two years, and it takes a while to be fully implemented.”

State Sen. Angela Bryant, who represents Vance and Warren counties, also voted against the bill.

“The major complaint I’ve heard is that we keep changing things,” she said. “We never let them finish anything, and the reasons for that are all political.”

But she agrees that teachers and schools are underfunded and require more resources.

“Clearly, there needs to be more professional development and support,” she said.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.