A Step Backward: NC Academic Standards Review Commission Lays Out Ill-Guided Move Away from the Common Core

In a report expected to be released Friday, the North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission will recommend state officials replace Common Core Math Standards with guidelines used in Minnesota for grades K-8 and reinstate the state’s old math sequence for high schools.

The ill-informed decision would push students and teachers back into a set of inferior math standards, create greater uncertainty in classrooms and undo the work schools have done to adjust to the increased rigor of the Common Core. Policymakers would be wise to consider Oklahoma’s example, which replaced its Common Core State Standards under political pressure. The process of developing new standards has been tumultuous and “a step backward” for students.

In a recent blog post, the Collaborative for Student Success explains how the changes to math instruction under the Common Core help students develop a strong conceptual understanding of numbers and functions, which better prepares them for high levels of learning. “It’s important for kids to learn multiple approaches to solving math problems so that they can choose the approach that works best for them and so that they develop a full understanding of the concepts before they move on to more challenging levels.”

Mike Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, wrote last year that it’s unwise for states to reject the Common Core based on political talking points because “it’s impossible” to draft college- and career-ready education standards that bear no resemblance.

“That’s because Common Core, though not perfect, represents a good-faith effort to incorporate the current evidence of what students need to know and do to succeed in credit-bearing courses in college or to land a good-paying job — and the milestones younger students need to pass to reach those goals.”