“It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.”
– Bill Gates, September 21, 2013
The CCSS In North Carolina
The North Carolina State Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the Common Core State Standards in both mathematics and English language arts on June 2, 2010. Three months later, the state received a four-year, $400 million Race to the Top grant — at a time when North Carolina’s finances were in complete disarray due to the recession.
The CCSS Are Not Rigorous, High Reaching or ‘Internationally Benchmarked’
Experts contend that there is no uniform rigor in the CCSS. Two of the CCSS validation committee
participants, Sandra Stotsky (English Language Arts or ELA) and Professor James Milgram (Mathematics),
have both cited the standards lack rigor and declined to sign off.
Our children are not Experiments
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of learning standards in English language arts (ELA)
and mathematics. They are untested, unproven and not internationally benchmarked. The standards have not been vetted by states, parents or the media. Our children should not be used as a national experiment.
The CCSS Are Not “State Developed”
The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) helped to create the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). Together, with Achieve, Inc., these three
private entities or non-elected groups developed a set of academic standards that would become known as The Common Core Standards. Private foundations such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, funded the development of CCSS and the US Department of Education is funding national assessments.
The CCSS Are Not “State Led” Or “State Controlled”
The NGA and CCSSO own the copyright to the CCSS. They are private associations and are not accountable to states, parents or citizens. . States that adopt CCSS must adhere 100%, however, states may add up to an additional 15% to the standards. The current arrangement strips states of their authority and responsibility to direct public education.
“Common set of K–12 standards means a set of content standards that define what students must know and be able to do, and that are identical across all States in a consortium. Notwithstanding this, a State may supplement the common standards with additional standards, provided that the additional standards do not exceed 15 percent of the State’s total standards for that content area.”
– Federal Register, 07/29/2009
What proponents claim to be rigor in the K-3 grades has turned out to be the application of age inappropriate standards. The inverse seems to be true of upper grades, as Professor Milgram has noted that math standards will put students two years behind nations with which we compete. CCSS fails to prepare kids for STEM. Sandra Stotsky has called attention to the flaw in the ELA focusing on “informational texts” instead of classic literature.
CCSS’s stated goal of “college readiness” is defined as “prepared to enter nonselective community colleges.” To be clear, the CCSS is designed to allow the middle 40% of 11 th graders to enroll in a credit bearing course at a “non-selective college”; Non-selective meaning an institution that accepts all applicants. This is not raising standards. This is teaching to the middle. It should also be noted that CCSS is being applied in all school settings – parochial, private, charter and even homeschoolers.
The CCSS Are Costly
Currently, Race To The Top grant funds ($399.5million awarded in 2010) are being used to pay for CCSS, but that grant expires in 2014. The Pioneer Institute estimates North Carolina will spend approximately $525 million to $641.9 million over the next seven years to implement Common Core.
Some of the costs for NC as estimated by the Pioneer Institute in July 2013:
New Technology: $242.4 million
Professional Development/Training: $202.8 million
Assessments: $109 million
Texts/Instructional Material: $87.6 million
The Department of Public Instruction has not provided an estimated of implementing and maintaining Common Core, nor, has it said who will bear the costs. As the bulk of these costs, will likely fall on North Carolina taxpayers, they will inevitably compete with other priorities such as pay increases for teachers.
Follow the Data
Federally funded Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has developed national tests and RttT Grant Conditions that requires student level data collected be made available to the U.S. Department of Education.
6) The Grantee must provide timely and complete access to any and all data collected at the State level to ED or its designated program monitors, technical assistance providers, or researcher partners, and to GAO, and the auditors conducting the audit required by CFR section 80.26.