The Common Core curriculum standards that dictate what’s taught in grade school classrooms across much of the United States are on their way out in North Carolina.
The North Carolina House approved a compromise bill, by a vote of 71 to 34 Wednesday, to rewrite the statewide curriculum to better tailor it for Tar Heel students. Gov. Pat McCrory said he will sign it.
Both the House and Senate 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. The Senate signed off on it last week.
The bill “melds the two versions quite well,” said Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union. “We are not taking anything off the table from the standpoint of being able to access the best ideas in the country to ensure that we have high academic standards.”
The bill repeals Common Core for the state’s K-12 standards and directs the State Board of Education to come up with new ones. A new standards advisory commission would be formed to make recommendations to the board. The commission would be made up of 11 members, some appointed by legislative leaders, one by the governor, and others by the State Board of Education.
Common Core, which schools began testing two years ago, would remain in place until the new standards are completed.
The curriculum standards were developed by the nation’s governors and school chiefs and have been approved by more than 40 states. However, North Carolina and a handful of other states are responding to complaints from teachers, parents, and conservative advocates that the standards are causing confusion and leading to the use of curriculum that is age-inappropriate.
Educators and families on both sides of the aisle have been complaining about Common Core and ask that it be replaced, said Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven.
“The bottom line is it’s a terrible system. There may be some good things about it and, though this bill will allow them to use those things if they need to,” he said, “it’s not something we should have ever accepted.”
Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, said repealing the rules is a solution in search of a problem, sends a bad signal, and puts an unfair burden on schools, teachers, and parents, who already invested and trained with Common Core.
“Why are we really doing this?” she said. “Is this really to better education or is this more political in nature? I worry that this is more political.”
“I will sign this bill because it does not change any of North Carolina’s education standards. It does initiate a much-needed, comprehensive and thorough review of standards. No standards will change without the approval of the State Board of Education. I especially look forward to the recommendations that will address testing issues so we can measure what matters most for our teachers, parents and students,” said McCrory in a statement Wednesday afternoon.