NC Begins K-8 Common Core Revisions, Seeks Public Input

The Common Core standards are still alive and well in North Carolina and next round of lipstick on the pig is already underway.

Last year, North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) ‘revised‘ the high school math, also known as integrated math. The results of those revisions were mainly cosmetic and kept the bulk of the highly criticized integrated math in place.

Common Core - CautionNow DPI is taking aim at grade K-8. Without question, the most egregious problems with Common Core are found in the K-5 portion of the standards in both math and English Language Arts.

Over the last five years, parents and teachers alike have spoken out about the age and developmentally inappropriateness of the K-5 standards.

In North Carolina, those concerns fell on the deaf ears of the state superintendent Atkinson and were summarily dismissed. However, with Mark Johnson replacing June Atkinson, maybe parents can really be heard this time around.

I say maybe, because DPI is already full speed ahead on their revision process.

In a newsletter dated January 30, 2017, DPI announced that revisions to K-8 mathematics standards and also “fourth math” in high school were already underway.

The newsletter pointed to an online survey that would be used to garner input on changes to the current Common Core standards for K-12 English Language Arts. The survey has already closed.

Text of the newsletter:

Public Input Sought

Setting standards ”“ what North Carolina students should know and be able to do ”“ is a key element of the State Board of Education’s work in ensuring that students receive what they need in the classroom. Local educators use the state-adopted standards to create a curriculum to help their students meet each standard. Curriculum materials ”“ textbooks, digital content, activities and lessons ”“ are locally developed or selected. In January, the State Board heard updates on standards revisions for mathematics and English language arts, a process that occurs approximately every five years.

Revised standards for High School Math 1, 2 and 3 were adopted in June 2016, and implementation is in full swing in school districts. To support this work, NCDPI provided 2016 summer information sessions, in-person regional math professional development, virtual teacher support to provide “just in time” help, and curriculum leader implementation support to build a digital tool for math teachers that is dynamic and sustainable for years 2 and 3.

Work is underway now to review and revise the K-8 mathematics standards and also standards for the “fourth math” in high school. These “fourth math” courses can include Advanced Functions and Modeling, Essentials of College Math, Discrete Math and Pre-Calculus. (Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate math standards are established by The College Board and International Baccalaureate.) This work includes surveying college and university mathematics professors, school district math leaders and mathematics teachers statewide. NCDPI mathematics staff expect that major revisions will be needed for some of the fourth math courses. New standards will be presented to the State Board of Education for action.

The K-12 English language arts revision process began in 2016, and a draft of these revisions is expected to be presented to the Board in spring 2017. Public input is invited through an online survey. Nearly 300 educators have provided feedback at eight regional meetings; approximately 5,000 responses were received to the educator English language arts survey. In considering the English language arts standards, 17 of 481 standards received an approval rating below 80 percent.

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