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Understanding Common Core

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
June 21, 2014 12:00 pm

Understanding Common Core

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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June 21, 2014 12:00 pm

NC  Family president John Rustin talks with Kristen Blair, an education writer, about her recent article in  Family North Carolina  magazine, “Understanding Common Core: What Parents Need To Know About The National K-12 Standards.”

The Christian Perspective
Chris Hughes
Carolina Journal Radio
Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

This is family policy matter program is produced by the North Carolina family policy Council of profamily research and education organization dedicated to strengthening and preserving the family enough in the studio.

Here's John Rushton, president of the North Carolina family policy Council and thank you for joining us this week. Profamily policy matters. It is our pleasure to have Kristin Blair with us on the program. Kristin is an education writer published author and contributor to stop common core in see she is also the altar of a spotlight article in the spring 2014 issue of family North Carolina magazine titled understanding common core parents need to know about the national K-12 standards. Kristin's article is particularly timely as the North Carolina Gen. assembly is close to passing legislation that would replace common core in North Carolina and were to be talking with Kristen about that legislation, as well as more generally about the national common core standards for K-12 education Kristin, welcome to the program. Thanks for having well it's great to have you and we appreciate your time. Also your time and contributions to the article in family North Carolina magazine for small Kristin thought or the common core standards and what role did the federal government play in their development. There are basically a 57 K-12 standards department, and benchmarks in math and English and what they do. If they dictate what students need to know at every grade level to be ready for college and career. After the standards were released in 2045 states signed on the standards were developed by Washington DC-based trade associations, which included the national Governors Association and the Council of Chief State school as well as a nonprofit organization can't achieve on the federal government did not develop common core or mandate that states accept the standards but it didn't really manipulate the state and to adopting them through grant money through the race to the top initiative in all sensory waivers for the no Child left behind act and it doesn't worth noting that the government wanted Saoirse which are developing national common core test has divided regular oversight development. As you noted in your article states to adopt common core standards and recently at least three stages and actually voted to revoke place common core and of course North Carolina is our state legislature is considering doing that right now. You highlighted one of the states in your article, Indiana tell us what's happening there with common core and what role did concern parents play in helping to change things in Indiana what you're right that's right, Indiana led the charge nationally on repealing common core and with the first country to step back and there are other states are falling for it is a lot of momentum right now in the past few weeks, Governors and South Carolina and Oklahoma had signed legislation relating common core, but I'm glad to Indiana in particular because, as in the case and so many movements that all began with concern.

Parents sometimes I call them the mad mamas in 2011, there were two mom's Heather Crossan and Aaron Tuttle who really became concerned about strange math homework that their kids are bringing home from school.

Heather called it by the mass and she took action and really learned that control over the standards had moved outside the state on and he wanted to do something about that her mantra was really I'm not gonna let them do this without telling people, and she and Aaron literally barnstorming the state they talk to anyone who would listen and explain what happened with common core and really how I had been adopted without most people knowing anything about it, and the result of their efforts was successful legislation to cause common core, which was then followed by legislation. The governor signed this past spring. Repealing common core, so she she and other activists expressing concern about the standards Indiana has accepted as replacements for common core never fight per fight is continuing and I'm watching closely as opposition to common core is really been increasing, nationwide, not just in Indiana and Carolina but in other states across the nation. One of the major concerns with common core which you discuss in your article, is that it really diminishes local control over education and insert when we see that with the concerns that these parents in Indiana expressed in what they were able to communicate effectively. Some changes made in that state.

Kristin if you want explain how common core takes control away from individuals, parents and others at the local level and really places it in the hands of folks on the national level.

Not sure what that in a couple of ways I think one way and with local and state control are diminished is because there is little opportunity to modify the standards as I mentioned, they were developed by by DC-based trade associations, and in these groups own the copyright, course estate are only allowed a small margin to change the standards and another thing that that's really worth noting is this level of a settlement involvement that we've been talking about and they used department of education is actually prohibited by law from directing, supervising or controlling the curriculum and while common core is not a curriculum that we've mentioned that the government has been very very involved in test development and so this is a big area of concern with regard to diminished local control and an increased involvement is that the government has actually provided 99% of funding for the two groups that are developing tests and has implemented a technical review process to supervise test development and his teachers increasingly teach to the test. Real legitimate areas concern about that if North Carolina were to move forward adopt these consortium tests. Common core standards or developmentally inappropriate. Talk about if you would know this is been a concerned parents of expressed in North Carolina and in other states as well as educators that the standards are developmentally appropriate for the children were ages. That would be receiving this instruction. Give some examples of what this means for the criticism that I have really heard the most about her parents. This, to put it simply, some of the standards in the early grades ask kids to think they're really not capable of doing. One example of this is with regard to common course mathematical practices which expects kids to be able to reason abstractly.

Beginning in kindergarten and what what experts say you are familiar with the stages of child development is that this is really developmental impossibility that kids don't begin to engage in abstract thinking and told her 11 or 12 years old. Another area that Doug written about before is common course directive that kindergartners should be able to read emergent reader text with purpose and understanding. And we really know that the acquisition of reading skills occurs normally on a continuum between the ages of 5 to 7 and one veteran first grade teacher who I talked to told me that pushing all five-year-olds to read before they're ready. It's really like forcing them to reach for and grasp of wrong on a ladder that they simply can't reach it, just it does more harm than good. At the same time expressed about common core requiring an appropriate standard for young children as well. Explain concerns of also been expressed that quote from your article, while accelerating academic pressures for younger students. Common core make school less rigorous.

In some cases for older students. Talk about double bed and through this tough economy were younger students may be pressured by common core to perform beyond what they should be.

But at the same time. Common core has lower standards and would suggest less rigorous academic standards were almost captured that paradox.

I mean we were here.

We are pushing kids little did you think they are not able to deal and then at grades where this focus is really on preparing kids for competitive schools and higher education coursework and interface with the work world or donning things down and one of the places we see this quite a bit is in high school math and specifically common core include little trigonometry, no precalculus or calculus and an earlier on, makes no provision for eighth grade algebra the only mathematician who served on common core validation committee.

Dr. James Milgram actually refused to sign off on a standard saying that he could not certify that they kept pace with other Hyatt high achieving countries and it is ironic because the intention behind common core, which is to prepare kids for college and career.

Actually these deficient math standards undercut the very thing that they set out to do and we know that one of the best predictors of college readiness is actually a robust and challenging curriculum with advanced coursework and that common core really does drop the ball on this in a number of experts. It said that it doesn't prepare students for coursework at selective colleges or especially in this area, but were really concentrating on Potiphar educational energies in terms of preparing kids for coursework in science, technology, engineering, and then in the end, we see this increased emphasis on informational text about a 50-50 split in elementary school and substantially more nonfiction and fiction and high school years, and again I have anything here is that studying complex literary works, which is something that Dr. Santos.standards expert has pointed out really is what helps kids develop on these reasoning skills and so that's one of the things that we want and that's necessary for college and career.

But substituting so many of these informational text in favor for the great classic works actually diminishes the opportunity that English teachers have developing analytical thinking skills 10 critics in common: it's what you were just speaking about different time, but I think it's a similar notion is the common core really promotes workforce preparation and just general knowledge and understanding to explain this for us and it was this concern important to her at the ethics concern and I think I'm not a very fundamental level over talking up common core and what I mean by this is that schools have as their primary focus. The preparation of a skilled workforce and education is so much more than S, and when we decide workforce prep is the endgame of education. What we end up seeing an end which is in fact what has happened is that weeds will be the workplace skill set all the way down to elementary school at a time when really what we want is for kids to be falling in love with learning and falling in love with books under common core. For example, second graders must read and understand the technical tax and I honestly can't think of a faster way to make kids hate reading you know when we talk about great literature, which teaches so much more than vocabulary and reading skills have common core stripping so much of this literature from the school classroom and it's not that teachers can't teach that they cannot mean there's still some great text on some of the recommended reading list.

It's just this emphasis in terms of how this the classroom balance of time has to be shifted there so much less opportunity for study of these great great works. All of these enduring works that help define and shape Western culture talk more about what's happening right now with respect to common core in North Carolina. As I mentioned, Mr. Waterhouse and Sue have both passed bills that would replace common core in North Carolina and pull back from having common coolers is the standard 12 education the more a lot of totals about these bills and what they would do in the Senate. As you mentioned, have passed legislation to remove common core and that there are some differences that will need to be reconciled in conference there some real key points in common to both of the adults, remove common core from statute which is critical. While the Gen. assembly did not adopt common core State Board of Education dead legislators nonetheless moved to common core and state statutes. And so it has to come out of state that statutes in both of these pieces of legislation would accomplish that both establish an academic standards review commission, which would review common core and make any recommendations about changes or modifications, and on both both bills would require that the commission meet before September 1. For those that's kinda summary of of what were looking at talking about. Common core and see how people can learn more about that initiative. Sure, I will bid and basic effort behind common core North Carolina was to really inform North Carolinians about the common core standards and just to give them accurate, up-to-date information.

The project was launched about a year ago during 2013 and at the joint project between the city Institute and concerned citizens. So really just effort is as been to mobilize people who have concerns about the standards to provide them with up-to-date information and just to let people know what's going on and keep track of it so you can check the site out online and access the common core toolkit as well as all kinds of information in ways to get involved in website is stopped, and coordinates the awards equal Christian.

We are unfortunately out of town for this week. Want to thank you so much for taking come out of your busy schedule to join us on family policy matters. I also will encourage your listeners to go to the nuclear family policy Council website and see and be sure to download a copy of Kristin's excellent article understanding common core Christian blur. Thank you so much for being with us this week on family policy matters, and especially for your excellent article in family with a lot of magazines thinking family policy matters. Information and analysis, future North Carolina family policy Council join us weekly discussion on policy issues affecting the family. If you have questions or comments. 919-0708 visit our website and see family.1

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