Under the Dome

Common Core review co-chairwoman dissents

Tammy Covil, co-chairwoman of the state commission that suggested changes to Common Core education standards, is denouncing the final report over its recommendations on math.

Covil, a New Hanover Board of Education member and a candidate for the N.C. House, is a vocal critic of the national English language arts and math academic standards and the people who support them. In an open letter to commission members that was part of her Wednesday press release, Covil criticized “certain members” for their lack of participation and for orchestrating “a dog and pony show.”

Earlier this month, the Academic Standards Review Commission rejected the recommendations put forward by its math working group. The group wanted to replace the Common Core math standards in kindergarten through eighth grades with Minnesota’s math standards, and to scrap integrated math in high school and have the state go back to teaching two algebra courses and a geometry course.

The math recommendations were defeated, with Covil voting on the losing side.

Instead, the commission adopted a set of guidelines for a Common Core rewrite. Those guidelines could result in significant changes, but they give the State Board of Education much more discretion as it makes them. Only the State Board has the power to change the academic standards.

In her letter, Covil said Common Core supporters expect financial gain from a “nationalized curriculum.”

The commission was created by the legislature and was a product of a backlash against Common Core.

“Although one would have expected the overwhelming evidence of Common Core’s shortcomings to have convinced even the most biased individual toward the obvious conclusion of replacement, it became clear to me long before the final vote that many of the appointees had no intention of producing substantive changes to North Carolina’s academic standards,” she wrote.

“The General Assembly appointed us to act in good faith on their legislative mandate to repeal and replace Common Core. To say that many of you disregarded your duty as an appointed member is an understatement. Some of you not only snubbed this obligation, you appeared to be actively working against it.”

Covil went on to defend the math working group’s recommendations.

“Unlike Common Core, the Minnesota math standards have a proven track record of success. According to the math team, the Minnesota math most closely aligned with the criteria outlined by the legislature. Since it was determined in the findings that the Common Core math standards are fundamentally flawed, tweaking them would actually require more work than adopting a new set of standards and building upward. Why this was considered an unreasonable recommendation is beyond me.”