The North Carolina House Education Subcommittee moved a bill forward on Tuesday to begin studying replacement standards for Common Core standards in North Carolina schools.
“We know that we need better communications with parents,” said Rep. Graig Meyer (D) of Orange and Durham Counties. “We need it to be a little more developmentally appropriate. We need better professional development for teachers – that there are problems with the money and time allotted to testing.
“We knew that all those were issues. The pragmatists basically said: Let’s repair those things. The people that asked us to replace the Common Core gave us ideological arguments. They told us that Common Core was likely to lead us to socialism, fascism, monarchy and crony capitalism. And I don’t think all four of those things are possible from one set of standards.”
On Tuesday, shortly before the House Education Subcommittee voted 27-16 to move ahead with a plan to replace Common Core teaching standards in schools, Meyer expressed frustration over what he said he witnessed during the legislative hearings on Common Core that resulted in the move to end it for North Carolina schools.
But conservative legislators who oppose Common Core standards for math and English that were implemented in North Carolina schools during the 2012-13 school year argue that the concerns Meyer listed are enough to justify starting over.
And some of them openly oppose it on the grounds that they see it as a federal-government takeover of state educational standards.
Rep. Bryan Holloway of King, NC, one of the Republican backers of the bill to replace Common Core standards.
He said that Common Core would remain in place while a nine-member panel, with two-thirds of its appointments coming from House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, explored new guidelines for education standards beginning in September.
Part of the wait, said Holloway, is so that a Race to the Top education grant would not be jeopardized.
“Does is replace it instantly?” said Holloway. “The answer is no. And the reason for that is because of Race to the Top, and because of some of the strings attached to that grant. And we don’t want to find ourselves in a situation to send $400 million back to the federal government.”
Holloway told vocal Democratic opponents of the bill that there would be no void left in educational standards once the State Board of Education is ordered to go down a different path than Common Core, beginning next year.
But Democrats weren’t buying it. Nor were they accepting claims that ideology was not involved.
Rep. Rick Glazier, a Democrat from Cumberland County, posed this question to Holloway:
“If, in fact, the committee determines that, frankly, the highest standards out there right now – that have, at least, materials and curriculum and prep that they can use – are. In fact, what amounts to the Common Core, are they free to recommend or re-adopt those standards?” asked Glazier.
“I would have to say that the answer to that is no, because the title is to ‘Replace Common Core.’” Holloway replied.
Immediately, Holloway went on to say that not all aspects of Common Core would necessarily need to be scrapped.
A proposed amendment from Democratic Rep. Paul Tine of Dare County to allow work to continue on Common Core while the commission explored other avenues was defeated 18-26.
Rep. Charles Jeter, a Mecklenburg Republican, joined Democrats in questioning why Common Core could not continue if standards were found to be better than what the commission recommends.
The bill heads for debate on the House floor on Wednesday.