North Carolina moved this week to exclude itself from national Common Core standards in place of its own.
HB1061 passed the State House on June 4, replacing the Common Core standards with other educational standards deemed “robust and appropriate for North Carolina public education.” On June 5, the State Senate also passed SB812 to continue to assert the state Board of Education’s authority to create academic standards for the public school system.
The Common Core Standards Initiative began in mid-2009 as an initiative to link public school systems across the country via baseline standards.
Mark Jewell, vice president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said the move away from Common Core is disappointing, adding that teachers in the state already put in time and training to teach based on the new standards.
“There was a reason that we decided to transition into a national standards group with over 40 other states and that’s because we have an ever-growing student population and many of them are moving here from other states,” Jewell said.
Common Core set a standard for the states, but left the actual curriculum up to local school districts. For example: a 4th grade student in Montana may learn U.S. history at that grade level, but then moves to North Carolina where in 4th grade, state history is taught instead.
Under Common Core, grade-levels are held to the same standard so a conflict does not arise.
“This was pushed several years back by the National Governor’s Association,” Jewell said. “It just makes sense to have standards that are aligned from state-to-state.”
Jewell added that Common Core gives North Carolina an economic advantage if students are taught with national standards. It’s this economic advantage that led to the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and Gov. Pat McCrory supporting the Common Core initiative, putting them on the opposing side of the General Assembly on this issue.
“This is not a smart move,” McCrory said to his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly at a talk with the N.C. Business Committee for Education June 5.
The transition away from Common Core is not unique to North Carolina, as states like Indiana and Arizona got rid of the national standards earlier this year.
North Carolina’s move away from Common Core comes as part of a larger effort to reform education along conservative guidelines in the state.
“In a time when we have an increased student population by over 17,000 students in just this past year, we see fewer and fewer resources,” Jewell said.
Since 2013, public teacher tenure has been eliminated by the General Assembly and North Carolina is set to be 48th in the nation for teacher pay, among other cuts.
“When teachers are looking to relocate and they can make $4,000 more in Virginia and get the protection of the right to request a hearing if they get dismissed, where are they going to go?” Jewell said. “It’s supply and demand.”