Wake Ed

June 23, 2014

Wake County school board calls Common Core elimination “a political overreach”

Wake County school board members on Monday accused state legislators of injecting politics into education by trying to remove the Common Core standards from the public schools.

Corrected to reflect what the Senate version would do with Common Core.

Wake County school board members on Monday accused state legislators of injecting politics into education by trying to remove the Common Core standards.

In a largely Republican-backed push, the state House has passed a bill that would remove Common Core education standards in math and language arts from North Carolina’s public schools. Wake school board members criticized how the bill would specifically prohibit any provisions from the Common Core model from being used in the new model that would be developed by the state.

“Much of the Common Core is what classic good teaching has been,” school board member Jim Martin said at Monday’s government relations committee meeting. “It’s very much a political overreach. It’s not clear that the folks writing this legislation know what curriculum are.”

School board member Bill Fletcher said it’s “breathtaking” that the House would make it a legislative mandate that Common Core standards shouldn’t be used.

“I’m trying to understand the impact of saying you can’t use Common Core as you build new standards,” Fletcher said. “If I’m writing a cookbook and somebody tells me I can’t use salt, sugar, pepper and olive oil, I’ve got a problem writing a new cookbook.”

Supporters of Common Core, including the state business community, education groups and Gov. Pat McCrory, say it teaches more rigorous standards that will better prepare students academically. But critics, including conservative groups, contend that Common Core is not developmentally appropriate for young children and charge it’s an attempt to nationalize education.

The Senate has passed its own bill that would replace the Common Core national consortium with a North Carolina Standards Commission that would recommend how to modify the current standards.

Opponents of Common Core have been critical of the Senate version because it doesn’t specifically prevent Common Core standards from being considered in the new model. They worry about the scenario mentioned Monday by Wake school board chairwoman Christine Kushner of how Indiana officially dropped Common Core but still kept 85 percent of it in the state’s new standards.

Kushner, a Common Core backer, and other community leaders met with their counterparts in Indianapolis in an April visit arranged by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

Lady Liberty 1885, a conservative blogger, urged Common Core opponents last week to lobby the Senate Education Committee to take the language from the House version to make sure Common Core is dead in the state.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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