The Common Core curriculum standards that dictate what’s taught in grade school classrooms across the state are on their way out.
Gov. Pat McCrory signaled that he would sign a compromise bill that the House passed Wednesday and Senate signed off on it last week. The House approved the bill, 71-34, to rewrite the statewide curriculum to better tailor it for North Carolina students.
“I will sign this bill because it does not change any of North Carolina’s education standards,” McCrory said in a written statement. “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.”
Both chambers 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 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 directs the State Board of Education to rewrite the Common Core standards for the state’s K-12 standards. A new standards advisory commission would be formed to make curriculum recommendations to the board. The bill does not bar the commission or State Board from integrating current Common Core standards with the new ones. 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. But 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.
The state Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday they support the curriculum rewrite and that it brings predictability and certainty to education in the state.
“This is a significant step toward a reasonable approach to make standards higher and our top priority is pushing for the absolute best academic standards for the state,” said Lew Ebert, president and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber, in a statement.
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 sue 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.”