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Common Core in NC: What’s Happening?

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Recap on Common Core: The main issue is grant funding that was given to our state with strings attached. The Race to the Top Phase II federal grant mandated the implementation of standards common to a majority of states. The RttT agreement was a 3-part initiative: common standards, student data mining, & school reform/transformation – these 3 parts are summarized in a chart on page 11 (page 21 of pdf file) of NC’s Race to the Top grant application.

Timeline:

  • May 27, 2010: NC’s Race to the Top Grant Application is signed by Bev Perdue & June Atkinson; a condition for application submission is the promise of adoption of education standards common to a majority of states.
  • June 23, 2011: The North Carolina General Assembly places the grant mandates into NC general statutes, solidifying Common Core into state law. The measure included testing mandates and federal grant compliance language that must now be repealed from the statutes in order for NC to be free from the obligation to continue the RttT mandates outlined above.
  • November, 2013: After uproar from members of the public and calls for repeal, the NCGA forms a Common Core Study Committee to research the standards and determine a course of action. The Common Core Legislative Research Commission holds 4 meetings spanning from December, 2013 to April, 2014.
  • April 24, 2014: Legislation from the Common Core Study Committee is submitted to the NCGA. The measure is largely symbolic, as neither the federal testing mandates (Common Core-aligned end of course tests) nor the student data mining are addressed, though both are aspects of the RttT agreement. The legislation (named HB1061 and SB812) leaves the door open for the continuation of Common Core and associated mandates of grant agreements.
  • June 4, 2014: Substantial amendments from Rep. Larry Pittman are adopted into the House version of the Common Core legislation. The amendments help ensure student data privacy as well as prohibit the State Board of Education from ceding authority over education standards to the federal government in the future. The new language of HB1061 also ensures that North Carolina abandons Common Core standards (including the elimination of the Common Core copyright over NC’s standards). Here is a reference chart comparing the language of HB1061 to SB812.
  • June 19, 2014: SB812 is brought for a hearing before the House Education Committee. A motion is made to amend the legislation to match the stronger language of HB1061. The motion passes 25-17.
  • June 24, 2014: The committee-amended SB812 is brought to a vote before the House. The bill is amended by Rep. Cotham, including a provision to allow for the continued sharing of student psychometric data with the federal government.
  • June 26, 2014: The Senate fails to concur with the changes made to SB812.

Present Status:   HB1061 currently awaits passage from the Senate Education Committee. A conference committee is being appointed to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of SB812.

What Common Core opposition activists can do now:

1) Contact House Speaker Thom Tillis regarding the appointments to the SB812 Conference Committee; request that only those who voted in support of the Pittman amendments are appointed to the committee. The vote record can be heard at the end of this video.

2) Contact members of the Senate Education Committee to request that HB1061 is sent, unaltered, to the Senate body for a full hearing.

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