North Carolina to re­view Com­mon Core stan­dards

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - Triangle & N.c. - BY T. KE­UNG HUI [email protected]­sob­server.com

State Su­per­in­ten­dent Mark John­son, who is cam­paign­ing to be­come North Carolina’s lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, an­nounced Thurs­day that he’s call­ing for a re­view of North Carolina’s Com­mon Core math and lan­guage arts stan­dards and U.S. his­tory re­quire­ments.

John­son said the state Depart­ment of Pub­lic In­struc­tion will sur­vey par­ents and teach­ers about the math and lan­guage arts stan­dards as part of an ef­fort to en­cour­age the State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion to re­move any use of Com­mon Core.

John­son also an­nounced that DPI will re­view the U.S. his­tory re­quire­ments to en­sure stu­dents still get “ro­bust” his­tory lessons. The state board voted to elim­i­nate one of the two re­quired high school U.S. his­tory cour­ses to fit in a new fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy course re­quired by state law­mak­ers.

John­son is in a crowded field of Repub­li­can can­di­dates run­ning for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor in the March pri­mary. Con­ser­va­tives have been par­tic­u­larly crit­i­cal of

Com­mon Core, view­ing it as an at­tempt to try to cre­ate a na­tional cur­ricu­lum.

“Op­po­si­tion to Com­mon Core from ed­u­ca­tors and par­ents is what I hear about the most across our state,” John­son said in a state­ment Thurs­day. “I strongly dis­agreed with the State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion’s de­ci­sion to keep Com­mon Core in place in 2017.

“Many states, like North Carolina, were ‘chang­ing’ stan­dards by mak­ing tweaks to Com­mon Core and then call­ing it by a dif­fer­ent name. But now there’s a clear path we can repli­cate in North Carolina to re­move Com­mon Core, and I en­cour­age the State Board to closely ex­am­ine this new op­tion with us.”

HOW COM­MON CORE CAME ABOUT

Com­mon Core stan­dards were de­vel­oped un­der the spon­sor­ship of the Na­tional Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion and the Coun­cil of Chief State School Of­fi­cers, and were pre­sented as the way to bet­ter pre­pare stu­dents for col­lege and jobs, The News & Ob­server pre­vi­ously re­ported.

Crit­ics com­plained that the state rushed Com­mon Core into

class­rooms without get­ting in­put from teach­ers or ad­vis­ing them ad­e­quately on how to teach it.

John­son en­cour­aged the state board to con­sider the ex­am­ple of Florida, which he said com­pletely re­moved Com­mon Core in its new stan­dards.

“This is some­thing where I hope we will be able to do a ful­some dive into our stan­dards and re­view,” John­son said at Thurs­day’s state board meet­ing. “And this time next year, if all goes ac­cord­ing to plan for me as my plan has it, I’d like to be sit­ting here as lieu­tenant gov­er­nor and ac­tu­ally have a vote on this board and vote for the new stan­dards as well.”

The su­per­in­ten­dent also ad­dressed the con­tro­versy over the chang­ing so­cial stud­ies stan­dards in high school. Some so­cial stud­ies teach­ers have com­plained that only hav­ing one U.S. his­tory course in high school will hurt the way that the sub­ject is taught.

John­son said Thurs­day that he’s in­structed DPI staff that no so­cial stud­ies stan­dards are to be elim­i­nated as the state moves to re­vise the K-12 so­cial stud­ies cur­ricu­lum.

“We will also be work­ing to en­sure that rig­or­ous U.S. his­tory re­quire­ments re­main in place in North Carolina,” John­son said in the state­ment. “Re­cent ef­forts in sup­port of bet­ter fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy have led to con­cerns that this might be a back­door ef­fort to di­min­ish the im­por­tance of Amer­i­can his­tory classes in North Carolina schools. We will not let that hap­pen.”

Mark John­son

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