North Raleigh News

NC review commission says Common Core too hard for some students

Members of a state commission working to replace Common Core argued Monday that the academic standards are too hard for some students.

Some commission members said that the Common Core standards, designed to increase academic rigor, require children to cover material that they should study when they are older. Some members argued that the Common Core is leaving some children behind by being geared too much toward high-achieving students.

“What I’m seeing right now looks good on paper, but it is not playing out in the classroom,” said Katie Lemons, a Stokes County high school teacher on the commission.

North Carolina is one of more than 40 states that adopted the Common Core standards in English language arts and math. But after a backlash largely led by conservatives, the General Assembly created the Academic Standards Review Commission this year to recommend new standards to the State Board of Education.

The 11-member commission’s goal is to come up with recommendations next year for the state’s public schools. At a second meeting Monday, members reviewed English language arts standards.

Jeff Isenhour, a Catawba County high school principal, was one of several commission members who relayed concerns from teachers that some material wasn’t age-appropriate, particularly in the early grades. He told of a kindergarten teacher who complained about having to ask her students to identify the title and title page of books.

“From an instructional standpoint, things have to make sense for how kids learn from the time they enter the school building till they exit,” he said.

Commission Co-Chair Jeannie Metcalf, a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board member, said Common Core unrealistically assumes every child has equal potential.

“Throw apples at me or rotten tomatoes,” she said. “This doesn’t mean that they’re not good kids.”

Commission Co-Chair Andre Peek, an IBM executive from Raleigh, said members want to make sure the standards are realistic.

“We’re not going to dumb anything down,” he said. “We’re having some difficult conversations.”