North Carolina to review Common Core standards
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.”