An array of organizations have voiced support for the embattled Common Core Standards following recent efforts to drop or water down the standards in states like Indiana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Aside from original supporters and developers of the standards like the National Governor’s Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Gates Foundation, and Achieve, the Common Core has garnered support from the United States Army (including retired United States Army Generals from North Carolina), the United States Chamber of Commerce, scores of higher education institutions, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Council on Education, the College Board – the list goes on and on. Some of these groups rarely weigh in on educational issues, and those that do almost never express this type of broad agreement with one another. There is a growing concern that the mounting opposition to the Common Core Standards in various states is based more on a mix of ideology, mythology, and a conflation of the Common Core with the excessive over testing of students than with the standards themselves.
Yesterday, North Carolina policymakers continued their efforts to back away from the standards in a somewhat unusual House education committee meeting. Every education expert who has studied the Common Core Standards agrees that they are an improvement over the previous North Carolina Standard Course of Study. Yet the North Carolina legislature has delved into the topic of educational standards that has traditionally been under the authority of the North Carolina State Board of Education. It is still possible that North Carolina’s legislation could lead to the adoption of a different set of high quality standards like those in place in Massachusetts or simply a modification of the Common Core Standards, but the prospect of potentially moving backwards toward the less effective set of standards that were previously in place is causing uncertainty and confusion for the state’s educators.