Breaking News: NC’s ASRC Committee on Review

The NC Academic Standards Review Commission is the answer to the NC Repeal CCSS Law signed by Gov. McCrory.
The NC Academic Standards Review Commission is the answer to the NC Repeal CCSS Law signed by Gov. McCrory.

Normally, on Tuesdays, you’ll find my “From the Files” posts revealing some true documents and connecting pieces to Common Core Standards. However, today’s Tuesday post is ‘breaking news’ as in I give my anti CCSS report of the NC Academic Standards Review Commission meeting that was held, just yesterday, 12/15/14. This is especially for my other NC warriors who are down and out with the flu and couldn’t be there. IF you aren’t in NC, but following our saga, you need to learn from our proceedings. IF you are in NC, we need to get to work, pronto!

The Fourth Meeting:

Monday’s meeting marked the 4th meeting the ASRC (Academic Standards Review Commission) held. This meeting was special for several reasons..at least from my perspective as a known anti CCSS warrior.

1) Commission members were seated to face the audience as a collective group. The co-chair member hand selected by our Governor took center table at this event. Flanking him were 2 other highly suspected pro CCSS supporters. At times their smiles would cause each of their dentists much happiness, as their handiwork was well displayed. Absent  from the day’s meeting were: the other Co-chair and an at large member. Still another at large member was present over the phone at times.  A quorum was in fact present.

2) Still no money from those in authority over the Commission. BUT, there’s a promise of funding! The Commission will have to wait until the General Assembly begins their 2015 Legislative Session in January. Until such time as money in provided, the NC Dept. of Administration will continue to cover the bare bones expenses. Oh the dollar sign dreams were dancing in some members heads as they shared “I wish we already had the money, we need a policy expert!” Then there was ‘When we get our money, we’ll focus on operations cost of the Commission, reimbursing travel expenses, and creating a NC citizen survey for feedback.’ Excuse me, but did ‘we’ forget the parts about the money going to fund experts and other such items?! As far as the procedure and process for funding? That is to be accomplished by the Legislators in their 2015 session (which by the way is what’s known as the ‘long session’).

3) There were more reporters at this meeting that ever before. At least 2 NC DPI executives were in the audience, as well. Those of us who were ‘general audience’ members were less than 10. Only four of us could pass for recognizable anti CCSS folks. There was much discussion at the beginning of the meeting about video taping future meetings for accountability and having the NC ASRC website updated to include recent information. As it was put so condescendingly, ‘For those stakeholders involved..and the general public.’ What else was noted about how helpful the website is? “DPI information”. As far as the ‘technical difficulties’? We were advised to check with the Commission’s sponsors.

4) Volunteers were sought today, but not from the audience. According to the one co-chair present, action items needed to be divided up and if folks didn’t speak up, his choices would stand. {Let me stop for a moment and share that I’ll be diving into some of the discussion after this, but I wanted you to have the benefit of the last moments of the meeting. Why? So you can have an idea of what is deemed as most important by the Commission, or at least the one speaking for the entire group. Think of it this way, you’re being spared the over 2 and a half hours of grandstanding; circle logic; and ‘let me steer you this way while you think it’s your way’ motives.} Handling the “Rewriting, Simplifying the Standards” (the first proposed priority) is Tammy Covil (one of the Commission members NOT in favor of CCSS). Assisting her is Dr. Ted Scheick; picked to handle the “Increase in LEAs flexibility” is Katie Lemons, a teacher who is using the CCSS; picked to handle the “Drilling Down of Appropriateness of the Standards”, Jeff Isenhour and Olivia Oxendine.

The logic and a lobotomy:

The logic ?!:
As usual for these meetings, things appeared to start off well enough. We had greetings, the day’s agenda read to us (which sounded more like a novel), and the minutes of the last meeting reviewed. But, as we saw in the last meeting, that third meeting where all bogged down and stayed mired in muck the rest of the meeting. It didn’t take long for this one to start down a trail of reports before it was interrupted by side discussion after side discussion. (at some point I felt like yelling ‘squirrel’!) Now, what could cause such distraction? A teacher survey two of the Commission members were reviewing. At some point it was stated that a “Google invite” survey, rather than a NC ASRC one, was the material being featured. Of note was this particular “Google” survey, in one week, had gotten 100 responses. Unclear (at least to me) was were all 100 in NC; why only 100 when there are thousands; how reliable was this survey? (pardon me, a bit of digression). The points being brought up from this survey were 4 important areas teachers would most like to be asked about. One) support; 2) student’s prior knowledge in math and reading; 3) assessments; and 4) the Standards.

Other moments of sage-likeness included ‘standards effect curriculum; assessments stand alone’ or wait, no, it’s ‘assessments drive instructions.’ Wait, ‘how does all this tie to CCSS?’  Not long after this, “We need more surveys, yes, there’ll be even more surveys created off the present feedback (referring to the Google invite)!

Enter a moment of enlightenment; the survey creation was followed by who was to take them (surveys/teachers) and that they be afforded totally anonymity. Why? Because after the first professional teacher training session to learn HOW to TEACH CCSS, everyone hated them yet spent much time trying to come up with things to say that wouldn’t cost them harm.

Back to the sage-like moments which included, ‘reason we have ‘essential’ standards..equity for whomever/whatever.’; ‘let’s hire a professional reporter maker..a report will address our priorities and would be a set of recommendations for Gen. Assembly.’; ‘clarity of standards important for implementation by Dec. 2015, this will support teachers; a better chance to professionally train them a 2nd time around. “Standard 6”; “Integrated Math” (two must haves brought up at several times during the meeting.

One of my personal favorite (and I use all the sarcasm I can muster up) was this one, “We need to roll up our sleeves and study the Standards, that’s where we get clarity.” Another close second, “We need to find out how CCSS funded in this state.” (it was brought up that Race to the Top did that). Response continued with ‘That may be so, but did it get invested in the right places? (the response was ‘many wonderful things came out of Race/Top funds) Questions that followed this were ‘What did it cover?’, “How far did it go?”, and “How can we supplement?”

More logic?!:Some things, no matter what they were, were said over, and over, and over. Only difference is at least two members would be eligible for the “I said it once one way, but I’ll say it again another way, then proceed to find at least 5 other ways to say it again while I interject my point at every available turn I can” award. In no order of importance the following sentiments were expressed:

1) rewrite the standards; 2) we need to involve the Departments of Labor and Commerce to find out what REAL skills are needed; 3) start at graduation and plan for education backwards; 4) we can alter the standards and it’s free; 5) more time/money needed; 6) let’s involve as many in-state, sold out folks as possible to go from here; 7) how can we define what clarity, standards, etc. are before we do anything else; 8) just HOW did we fund the move to CCSS?; 9) we certainly don’t need to dumbdown!; 10) maybe we need to revisit how a diploma is awarded or that we should move to age 19 instead of 18, etc.; 11) we are undermining rigor when we can’t teach the standards; 12) outcome this, outcome that; 13) CCSS embraces College/Career Readiness interchanges with CCSS defines skills. Now add to these, ‘that’s why we need businesses involved. We teachers get isolated and then behind.’

Troubling statements:

1) Using professionals from not only in-state colleges, but the ones who’ve been tied to CCSS; using the report from the group which oversees NC’s colleges/universities to see how they are measuring up in teaching future classroom leaders/teachers in the CCSS.

2) Using the FCC e-rate funding as a ‘it’s a great thing for education’ leverage ( I wrote just last week about how embedded CCSS is in the FCC’s E-rate movement). The only thing MORE troubling is that the NC Governor (pro CCSS) , the NC Lt. Governor (anti CCSS) are all on board to sign NC up to be one of the first states to be streamlined in technology. Oh, before I forget, using “Home Base” is a great thing (think student data mining).

3) That to have ‘effective lesson plans/curricula’, you need to ‘remove the child’ from the equation. Similar to this is, that assessments tell us more about the standards than the rhetoric allows for.

4) That right now, 7th graders are getting 1,000 years of history in one academic year but have no clue which portion will be included on the weighed assessments. Also in classes right now, the reading skills for non-fiction are totally different than for fiction. Coupled with the mindset ‘if you speak well, you read well.’ (sorry, I’ve seen too many exceptions to the ‘rule’ on this one to buy in)

5) Using CCSS as a benchmark so business owners can ‘know’ what kind of employee they will get. What is taught will ‘execute’ against that benchmark.

My lobotomy?! 

After 4 hours of not only what I’ve shared, but all the other things I didn’t, I now feel I more than qualify for lobotomy! My poor mind. My poor heart! The only one I feel more compassion for is the one anti CCSS Commission member present during this meeting. While many, many thoughts are words were shared, hers, repeatedly were careful, concise, and tremendously graceful considering all the agenda driven motives displayed. To be fair, there were some good points made by most everyone. Problem is, just when you thought they’d wised up, left the pro CCSS crap behind, they would come right back with another ‘shake your head’ statement. Just think, we’re getting nowhere fast in this and all the while in the classrooms across NC and the nation, it’s CCSS business as usual, day in and day out.

What we got as a law doesn't match the process we're agonizingly being drug through.
What we got as a law doesn’t match the process we’re agonizingly being drug through.
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6 thoughts on “Breaking News: NC’s ASRC Committee on Review

  1. Shorter: A lot of nodding and agreeing to do something… next time. Again.

    Dear ASRC,
    You can’t start with Common Core, it’s copyrighted. Start with our old standards, which were GOOD. Add to them, don’t try to “study” the labyrinth that is Common Core.

    The cost assessment was SUPPOSED to be part of the NCGA Legislative Research Committee’s tasks. They didn’t do it.

    Atkinson got the media to to wring their hands over the $66 million spent from Race to The Top funds for professional development which she could not give the NCGA an accounting of. First it was 58 million or something, then it was 66 million. She kept shifting her story and never did lay out what kind of training was given, to who and in what schools.
    Read more, see Atkinson dodge here: http://stopcommoncorenc.org/common-core-ncga-study-committee-mtg-postmortem-part-1/

    That survey DPI has out?
    ANYONE can go do it. It’s not scientific whatsoever and in fact, discouraging to complete since you can’t leave a field blank if you want to continue.
    Read about it: http://ladyliberty1885.com/2014/11/07/have-nc-teachers-done-the-dpi-common-core-survey-yet/

    Like

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