With Governor McCrory’s signature of legislation on July 22, state education leaders will begin the process of reviewing, revising, and potentially replacing Common Core as North Carolina’s K-12 academic standards. In a press release on July 16, Governor McCrory attributed his decision to sign SB 812-Replace CCSS w/NC’s Higher Academic Standards to the fact that the law “does not change any of North Carolina’s education standards.” According to the Governor, “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.” He went on to express his anticipation of seeing recommendations “that will address testing issues so we can measure what matters most for our teachers, parents and students.”
SB 812 was introduced by Sens. Dan Soucek (R-Watauga), Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), and eight other co-sponsors on May 20, 2014. The bill went through an arduous process of debate, amendments, and compromise over the last two months, as legislators sought to balance the concerns of parents and educators against a desire to maintain consistent and high academic standards in North Carolina schools. The Senate approved the final compromise version of the bill by a 33-12 vote on July 10, while the House gave its approval by way of a 71-34 vote on July 16.
While the controversial national education standards were adopted several years ago, North Carolina did not begin implementing Common Core until the 2012-13 school year. Senate Bill 812 establishes a state commission that will advise the State Board of Education on a review and revision of North Carolina’s K-12 math and reading standards. The commission will evaluate a host of academic standards from across the nation, including Common Core, in an effort to write a new set of standards that is the most rigorous and appropriate for North Carolina. New standards, based on the commission’s recommendations, will have to be approved by the State Board of Education. In the meantime, North Carolina’s current Common Core standards will remain in place.
According to the News & Observer, North Carolina is now the fifth state to attempt to create state-specific standards in lieu of Common Core. Several other states and school systems have opted out of the national standards all together.
For more information on many of the concerns related to Common Core, see Kristen Blair’s article, “Understanding Common Core,” in the Spring 2014 issue of Family North Carolina magazine.