NC parents raise concerns about Common Core; others more supportive

Parents raise concerns about Common Core on Monday in Raleigh. (WNCN)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission met Monday afternoon, with commissioners expected to discuss a list of recommendations.

The commissioners have met with teacher focus groups this month for feedback.

On Monday, the commission heard from many parents who do not support Common Core and want it gone as soon as possible. Others believe there should be some tweaks but not necessarily a complete overhaul.

“Oh my goodness,” said grandparent Elizabeth Berg. “What would teachers do if they don’t have common core? That’s a slap in the face to every teacher I’ve ever known.”

But parent Tiffany Birkner said, “I just beg you to please get rid of Common Core as soon as possible.”

The public had an opportunity to address the Academic Standards Review Commission, tasked with reviewing North Carolina’s educational standards.

Those parents opposed to Common Core say the strategies have overwhelmed their kids.

One parent, Jennifer Schrand, said of her daughter, “Common Core took away her love of school and it took away her confidence.”

The 11-person commission has met for more than a year and, for more than a year, has gotten feedback from the public. One person at the meeting, a retired Guilford County teacher, suggested making changes to Common Core, but not doing away with it entirely.

“Most of the teachers that I’ve talked to are content with the Common Core standards in math,” said Ned McMillan, a retired teacher.

One parent who supported that idea was Anh Ignacio.

“I don’t think we need to throw the whole thing out, but I do think it needs to be improved.”

For others, Common Core doesn’t add up.

“It makes it harder for kids,” said parent Tiffany McCabe. “It makes it harder for them to learn. It makes it harder for teachers.”

“A lot of these kids just look really beat down,” said Andrea Dillon. “They look like they don’t want to be there.”

The Commission will report to the General Assembly and State Board of Education in December.

Monday’s meeting came after a meeting in August in which the Commission said it would review the standars to make them  “more rigorous.”

“We are to evaluate the current North Carolina state standards, which are largely the Common Core standards, and look for holes in those, look for areas where they can be improved to make things more rigorous,” Andre Peek, co-chair of the commission, said after the August meeting.

And co-chair Tammy Covil said, “Basically, what this commission is doing, what our work groups have been doing, is vetting the standards. This is something that should have been done prior to the adoption of Common Core.”

The Republican-led General Assembly approved legislation last year that would replace the Common Core education standards in North Carolina.

The Common Core standards came out of a bi-partisan task force that included governors and academic leaders. North Carolina adopted them in 2010.

But in an effort to move away from Common Core, the General Assembly created the 11-member Academic Standards Review Commission. That commission is reviewing the curriculum in math and English and will make recommendations for changes to the state Board of Education.

June Atkinson, the superintendent of schools, previously has expressed support for Common Core.

“It’s very difficult to move away from a standard for which we hear business and industry and our universities and community colleges say these are standards that are children need in order to be successful,” she previously told WNCN.


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