The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) touted their revision of the Common Core English Language Arts standards as ‘approved’ by ‘state-level’ groups in a recent “Update from the Board’ newsletter.
English language arts (ELA) teachers and students will use newly revised standards in North Carolina public school classrooms beginning in the 2018-19 school year. The State Board of Education approved the revised standards at its April meeting following two months of review. The revisions were endorsed by the following state-level groups: NC Chamber, BEST NC, the NC Association of School Administrators, the NC School Boards Association, the NC Large District Consortium and HIRE Standards. Also, Mission: Readiness, an organization of more than 650 retired admirals and generals endorsed the revisions.
Missing from the approval list? Parents.
So who are these groups? Mainly non-profit organizations with deep pockets.
BEST NC is a ‘education non-profit’ run by Brenda Berg. Notably, in the past, this organization has done end-runs around parents and the public by holding closed meetings about education issues in North Carolina, including Common Core.
Berg was previously affiliated with the left leaning ‘Greater Schools In Wake‘, which has pushed a liberal and politically motivated agenda in the states largest district for over a decade. BEST NC quietly added Wake County School board member Keith Sutton to their board last year.
Hire Standards is the pro-Common Core group run by the NC Chamber of Commerce. This organization was formed around the time the legislature was studying Common Core back in 2013 for the express purpose of defending Common Core by drowning out the opposition.
The NC Large District Consortium (NCLDC) is a collection of Superintendents from the largest districts in the state. In 2014, the NCLDC pushed the need to ‘lock in’ Common Core for at least seven years.
The NCLDC is not an elected body, but a self-formed group of highly paid and influence wielding superintendents. If was revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request that this group was taking advice from and coordinating with BEST NC and Tony Habit, formerly of NC New Schools which filed for bankruptcy last year.
NC New Schools was also heavily pro-Common Core and in fact was the recipient of nearly $20 million in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The shut down of the organization left a lot of unanswered questions about the status of the millions in federal funds and from the NC General Assembly the organization was distributing for various programs.
Mission: Readiness is nothing more than a Common Core propaganda group. They are a 501(c)3 at 1212 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005.
Council for a Strong America is the anchor group at that address. By checking out the “Members in Action” drop down menu on the Council for a Strong America site, it shows that all the above mentioned groups are offshoots of Council for a Strong America. That includes Mission: Readiness.
They also are anchored to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Council for a Strong America has received over $10.4 million in 2015 from the Gates Foundation over the last decade.
Common Core Defenders Flock Together
NC DPI, Chairman Cobey and the groups touted by NC DPI fought having an outside review of the English Language Arts (ELA) changes.
Former Superintendent Atkinson went as far as to slander Dr. Stotsky over her offer to review the revisions DPI Made to the Common Core ELA.
Carole Ardizzone, who testified in front of the Academic Standards Review Commission, did a brief analysis of the new ‘approved’ ELA standards for K-3. Her conclusion was the revisions were actually worse and did nothing to correct the age and developmentally inappropriateness contained in many of the standards.
“My general view is that while the NC Standards represent the main parts of a Language/Reading program, they are not sequentially specific or sufficiently comprehensive in themselves to assure a sound Language Arts capabilities in the children targeted,” wrote Ardizzone.
Where is Superintendent Johnson? He campaigned on being a leader and getting rid of Common Core, yet now seems more interested in bemoaning he has ‘no power’ because of the lawsuit over HB 17 filed by the State Board of Education.
It’s surprising he is permitting NC DPI to send out emails on behalf of the board, surely that’s another job which according to Johnson would be better, “directed to Chair Bill Cobey and Vice Chair Buddy Collins.”
It’s doubtful Johnson will even look up while the Math revisions are rammed through in much the same way.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for the legislature to act either. Senator Tillman, for all his past talk about not accepting a “revamp“, has been M.I.A. for the last half-year. The only bill attempting to actually get rid of Common Core for something superior has been shoved into committee to kill it before Crossover this week.