State lawmakers can sympathize. Among the many policies being debated in Raleigh this summer is whether our state should keep the controversial Common Core Standards. These standards represent an effort to improve the quality and consistency of education nation-wide. Forty-three states adopted the Common Core Standards, including North Carolina. While initially touted as the “fix-it” for American education, it’s safe to say that the honeymoon has ended and state lawmakers are debating whether the controversial standards should stay or go.
This week both the North Carolina House and Senate negotiators say they’ve reached an agreement on a bill that would repeal Common Core. While I have only experienced the standards through my daughter’s first year in kindergarten, I have read plenty online and heard from my daughter’s teachers about how Common Core has made testing, lesson plans, and other education practices more difficult. Since this year was my daughter’s first year in school, I have no way of comparing Common Core to the “regular” curriculum—other than comparing Common Core to my own kindergarten education some (gulp!) 30 years ago. Even so, I can see that teachers’ hands are tied as they deal with a system that may have sounded great in theory but lacks in practice.
So at first glance, I’m thrilled to see that lawmakers are discussing something besides “voter suppression laws” and how to fast-track fracking. It’s always good to have a debate over education and how we can make it better, but (you saw that coming, didn’t you?) it turns out the bill under consideration would simply duplicate parts of the Common Core model and repackage it into a newly created Academic Standards Review Commission.
Other states, including Indiana, have made similar moves – rebranding Common Core principals as “new” state standards. Oklahoma took a different approach and outright repealed Common Core with a law that will develop new standards that specifically cannot look like the Common Core standards.
So what gives? How can we explain this new national effort to repeal the old national effort? Hard to say for sure, but I can tell you that Common Core has the support of the business lobby, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and that same business lobby now has its hands in efforts to repeal the Common Core standards in our state and “replace” them with a rebranded version. You do the math.