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Common core critics: NC needs to completely rewrite standards

Members of a review commission tasked with vetting the Common Core met Monday to hear from nationally known critics of the standards who advocated for their complete rehaul.

WUNC’s Reema Khrais has the rundown here:

Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram both served on the Common Core Validation Committee from 2009-10 and refused to sign off on them as being “rigorous, internationally competitive or research-based.” They were among five of the 29 committee members who didn’t approve them.

Since then, Stotsky [English language arts expert] and Milgram [math expert] have visited more than a dozen states to discuss problems they perceive with the standards, along with recommendations on how states should move forward.

“We need to have first-rate standards developed for this country,” said Stotsky, education professor at the University of Arkansas. “You do not have them in North Carolina.”

As Khrais reports, Stotsky recommended to the review commission that they consider adoption of better state standards, such as those of California or Massachusetts. Milgram suggested a total re-write of the math standards.

Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a set of guidelines that were developed by a group of governors and state superintendents and set forth what students should know and be able to do in English Language Arts and mathematics, has incited a great deal of controversy both in North Carolina and around the nation.

Parents, teachers, and other stakeholders have called into question whether or not the standards demand excessive testing, if they are grade-level appropriate, and if they serve as a vehicle for corporate profit. Some states have either opted out or plan to opt out of the adoption of the standards.

But proponents of the standards say they are badly needed, providing increased academic rigor that will better prepare students for today’s workforce demands.

Stotsky and Milgram have become well known national critics of the Common Core who served on its validation committee (but didn’t sign off on them) and have traveled the nation speaking out against the standards.

But there is another North Carolina-based mathematics professor who also served on the Common Core’s validation committee alongside Stotsky and Milgram but was not asked to testify before the review commission Monday—Jere Confrey, a professor of mathematics education at N.C. State University.

Confrey told N.C. Policy Watch that the review commission’s co-chair, Andre Peek, said he would try to get her on the panel with Stotsky and Milgram—but ultimately that didn’t happen.

“I think they have a contingency on the board who is aligned with a group of people that is strongly opposed to the Common Core,” said Confrey. “There is an agenda being carried out, which is to only hear from people who oppose the Common Core.”

Confrey has written a rebuttal to Milgram’s statements on the math standards, pointing out what she says are various inaccuracies and misleading statements, which you can read here.

Confrey says she does agree on one point with the Common Core critics: that a well-prepared teacher who is able to implement the standards is essential to having good schooling.

Read Khrais’ full report here.

One Comment


  1. A.P. Dillon

    March 18, 2015 at 10:57 am

    “I think they have a contingency on the board who is aligned with a group of people that is strongly opposed to the Common Core,” said Confrey. “There is an agenda being carried out, which is to only hear from people who oppose the Common Core.”

    Ms. Confrey clearly has not been in attendance for the last 6 meetings, as the March 16th meeting was the FIRST one where we heard from Common Core Critics.

    I watched Confrey corner Lynn Bonner of the News and Observer and listened to her proceed to malign an internationally recognized mathematician. It was truly horrifying to listen to and when I interjected into her very LOUD objections to Dr. Milgram’s testimony, she pointed her finger at me and snapped that ‘she’d get to me in a minute’.
    She never did ‘get to me’ and her assertions that the examples Dr. Milgram used were “not common core” are hollow ones parents have heard before. Common core had no curriculum, so when curriculum surfaces to support the standards Ms. Confrey cannot cry foul. The example Dr. Milgram used was one I had seen right here in Wake County. It is similar to that of examples I have seen in other states as well. IT IS COMMON CORE in that it is being used to support the standards. If the material is bad, then perhaps the standards driving it are equally bad.

    This article posted her shallow rebuttal that does not take into account the impact these flawed standards are having on kids. Confrey insists they are age and developmentally appropriate, as a mom of 2nd grader in his 3rd year of Common Core, I can tell you THEY ARE NOT.
    Kindly also post the written statements from Stotsky and Milgram for people to download?

    Ms. Confrey is financially invested in Common Core.
    Kindly dig into her affiliations with NCSU and the Friday Institute, include her work with Amplify and their pre-loaded common core tablets that utilize her work at NCSU.

    If you have trouble finding the information, let me know. I’ve done the research and will share it.

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