Category Archives: NC State Education

Candidate Vetting Questions – Dr. June Atkinson Candidate North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction

Interview questions were developed by a Vetting Committee of 10 members of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association. All candidates for a particular office were asked the same questions. Interviews were conducted by 3 rotating members of the Vetting Committee. Summaries
are the agreed-upon consensus of each 3-member group. Candidates were asked to interview in-person, but phone interviews were offered for candidates living outside Craven County if schedules would not allow travel.
Candidate Vetting Questions
Dr. June Atkinson
Candidate North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction
Interview Date: March 8, 2016
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Interviewed: In Person at the Craven County Library
1. Brad Cummings
2. Mary Griswold
3. Bob Griswold

1) Name, Address, Phone, E-mail, Occupation, Age

Dr. June Atkinson
Email address:
Phone: 919-818-7209
Occupation: North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction
2) Educational Background

Graduate – Virginia Public Schools
Graduate – Radford University
Master’s Degree – Virginia Tech in Vocational and Technical
Doctorate – North Carolina State in Education Leadership and Policy

Currently in third term as North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Schools
Previously held various positions within the department including Director of Careers in Technical Education
Previously taught in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Dr. Atkinson was in charge of the business cooperative program
Prior to that Dr. Atkinson was a high school business teacher in Roanoke, Virginia
Demonstrations of Leadership

When I became Superintendent the graduation rate of North Carolina students was 68 percent. Now it is 86 percent.

I worked with the Community College system to get rid of convoluted laws preventing high school students from taking college courses and put together a coherent progression policy. I worked with research staff to write legislation to allow students with a 2.5 average who were in their junior year of high school to take college courses that are working toward a certificate or degree. Last year 35 percent of high school students had earned some college credits.

North Carolina moved to #18 in the nation in the number of students passing advanced placement exams.

Five or six years ago, I signed an agreement with Microsoft to set up a statewide site license to allow students in North Carolina to work toward Microsoft certifications. Students in career education have earned 130,000 various certifications.
3) Memberships and Associations

Delta Kappa Gamma – a sorority that promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.

Phi Delta Kappa – a professional organization for educators.

American Association of Career and Technical Education

Lifetime member National Business Education Association

Council of Chief State School Officers

American Society for Curriculum and Development (ASCD)

First United Methodist Church, Cary, North Carolina
4) Why are you running for this office?

a. I want to move the graduation rate closer to 100 percent.

b. I want to improve reading achievement and growth in the early grades.

c. The new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives North Carolina more flexibility in education than the prior No Child Left Behind program. I want to set up a new testing system, more local control, and eliminate some paperwork.

d. I believe that I work well with the General Assembly and want to continue to work with them to improve the education of North Carolina’s children.
5) What is the organizational structure of your campaign, fund raising capability, etc.?

I have a campaign manager and two coordinators—one for the eastern part of North Carolina and one for the western part of North Carolina. My network of friends has held fund raisers for me. I have a presence on social media.
6) Which of the Founding Fathers do you most admire?

Thomas Jefferson. He was born in Virginia, he was a deep thinker, he was a man of curiosity. He had a wealth of experience—nation’s first Secretary of State, Ambassador to France, and 2nd Governor of Virginia. He had a vision which allowed him to make the Louisiana Purchase. As a leader, he had to go against the crowd. He had his flaws, but was a man of accomplishment.
7) Margaret Thatcher once said, “Consensus is a lack of leadership.” Do you agree? – Why or why not?

I agree more than I disagree. Sometimes consensus will not lead people forward. We have to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. We need to develop steps to get where we want to go. If we have consensus, we may not be stretching far enough. The first North Carolina Superintendent of Schools had a vision for a blackboard in every class. If we had stopped at that vision, where would we be?
8) Which President do you most admire? – Why?

William Howard Taft. – I just read The Bully Pulpit which is the story of William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. He was a man of integrity, who cared about people, and was accessible to people. As the first Governor of the Philippines, William Howard Taft moved among the people. A leader has to be accessible.
9) Do you believe the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to be:

a. An evolving document whose meaning changes with time?

b. A permanent set of rules to limit the power of the federal government?

A permanent set of rules to limit the power of the federal government to be changed only by the vote of the people.
Discuss an ethical dilemma you faced. What happened? – How did you resolve it?

I have faced no recent ethical dilemmas. There were some hard decisions in my past that sometimes involved choosing between good and good or between bad and bad.
10) Where do individual rights come from?

The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, state statutes, and federal laws. Those emanate from the Bible and religious beliefs such as the Judeo-Christian ethic.
11) What do you know about Common Core? – What is your position on it and why?

It is a set of standards—statements of what students should know and be able to do grade by grade. We are in the fourth year of Common Core. State law requires that we review standards every five years. We will be making a presentation to the State Board of Education in April with our recommendations about Common Core along with the Academic Standards Review Commission recommendations. We will be recommending changes based on what teachers suggest. There are substantive changes to be presented to the Board of Education.
12) What is your opinion on gun ownership, registration, and gun free zones?

As State Superintendent of Schools, this is an issue that I do not directly deal with. I grew up in a family that hunted. I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe that public schools should be gun free zones with the exception of Student Resource Officers who are trained to handle dangerous situations. The North Carolina schools have protocols in place for handling dangerous situations.
13) What does the phrase “Separation of Church and State” mean to you?

Government cannot declare a religion for all Americans. Each individual has the right to be free from religion or free to practice their religion. The Bible and Christianity are part of our heritage.
14) If elected, what would be your number one priority item during your term in office?

To work with the General Assembly to improve teachers’ salary. The enrollment in teacher preparation programs has dropped. The teacher turnover rate has increased to 14 percent, including movement within the system. We have more inexperienced teachers than experienced teachers. I would recommend a ‘wedding cake’ approach to teachers’ salaries. There would be four layers based on various aspects of teaching—mentoring, serving in difficult areas, and achievement of students.

New Level of Overreach: Government Report Recommends Schools Conduct “Home Visits”

New Level of Overreach: Government Report Recommends Schools Conduct “Home Visits”

By Kim FinkKim Pix on January 21, 2016
Photo credit: EdenPictures via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, people hungered for a land of freedom and choice — a place where they could worship as they pleased, where they were free to prosper or to fail, where God and family were the most important aspects of life. This place used to be America.

Today, we live in a society of excuses and government dependency. Our culture is being lost to social engineering and suffocating government micromanagement. No more are we exceptional and overcomers of adversity; we are all victims. We are taught that we cannot succeed without the government’s “help.”

There are many examples I could refer to, but I am choosing just one to share now: our public education system. Public education has been corrupted by federal intrusion and forced compliance — intrusion in the form of Common Core and aligned high-stakes assessments, and compliance forced by a slightly veiled threat of withholding federal funds. Some of the changes, such as the gutting of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, have been accomplished by regulatory action, bypassing Congress.

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) did not exist until 1979, when President Carter created it to pay off teachers’ unions for their support. I can’t help but wonder how the education system that took the U.S. to the moon and back has been lost. How in the world did our 20th-century scientists, writers, engineers, historians, and political leaders accomplish so much without the benefit of nationalized standards and USED? And not only is USED unnecessary, it is unconstitutional, as education is not one of the enumerated powers given to the federal government. Education is a State’s responsibility, and RIGHT.

But USED has ballooned and morphed into a Leviathan intent on controlling ever-increasing segments of American family life. Case in point: the new “Family Engagement” provisions of the recently rammed-through Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). (See here and here to find out how your House member and senators voted.) Pursuant to that statute (laughably marketed as a “conservative” bill), USED has joined the Department of Health and Human Services to develop recommendations for improving program coordination and “quality” across federally funded early-learning and early-child-development programs, birth to 8 years of age. Parents are no longer considered the most important people in our children’s lives. These government agencies consider themselves “equal partners” in child-rearing.

The Departments have released a draft report of their statement on Family Engagement that can be found here. I find this draft report a disturbing demonstration of federal government overreach and intrusion into family life.

Disturbingly, ESSA allows government assessment of our children’s social-emotional and behavioral development. As part of that assessment, page 13 of the above report — the reason I felt compelled to write this essay — recommends “home visits,” allegedly to support fruitful relationships between families and teachers. All parents should be outraged that any government, minus some evidence of criminal activity, believes itself entitled to intrude into the sanctity of their home.

Beyond this fundamental objection, the “home visits” proposal creates a list of questions: Who will make these visits? What kind of training will they have? When will the visits happen? Will they be scheduled or a surprise? Will the teacher be the one doing the visits, and if so, who will be responsible for his or her personal safety? How will the teacher be compensated for this time? Who creates the criteria for the visit? What data points will be collected? Will the collected data be available for the family to review? Will parents have some sort of due process to correct erroneous statements and false conclusions? How will this data be used and shared? May the parent refuse the visit? Read the full report for other alarming recommendations.

If this proposal doesn’t motivate parents to stand up for their children and their families, and against the nanny government, the country founded by the heroes of 1776 is lost. It is time we take a stand. It is time we hold our elected officials responsible for the decisions they are making. It is time to be the country our founders intended.

Kim Fink is a grandmother, public education watchdog, and member of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association.




Contact our State Board of Education members and encourage them to support the recommendations of the Academic Standards Review Commission.
Reliable inside the beltway sources have leaked information to Common Core Warriors that the Gates Foundation and other nameless, faceless, unelected,unaccountable entities have joined forces to flood our State Board of Education with letters urging them to disregard the recommendations from the Academic Standards Review Commission regarding the State’s stance on Common Core.

This is an effort to undermine the efforts of the Academic Standards Review Commission before the report is filed!  The ASRC has been operating for over a year fulfilling the charge given them by the General Assembly under Senate bill 812, which was to Repeal and Replace Common Core.Obviously these for profit entities are fearful that the Commission Report will not be favorable to their self serving interests and bottom lines.

Please contact our State Board of Education members and encourage them to seriously consider the recommendations that will be put forth on December18th.  I have included their  e mail contact information.

Bill Cobey


A.L. Collins


Janet Cowell


Reginald Kenan


Rebecca Taylor


Kevin Howell


Gregory Alcorn


Olivia Oxendine    (already committed to vote against Common Core)


Lt. Gov. Dan Forest   (already opposes CC)


Dr. Rodney Shotwell


Evelyn Bulluck


Steve Lassiter


James E. Ford


Keana Triplett


June Atkinson    (supports Common Core 100% and isn’t going to change her mind, is President of one of the 2 organizations holding the copyright to CC.  Superintendent of Public Instruction)


Eric C. Davis


Wayne McDevitt


Patricia Willoughby

The decision will be made very soon on CommonCore.  If we don’t get rid of this bad education now, we are not going to be able to, because it is being written into many state and national laws.  Federal government has quietly taken over state education, unconstitutionally, and without any legal authority.

I also ask that you write your Representatives and Senators and share your thoughts on this attempt to undermine this process to repeal and replace Common Core.

Thank you



Kim Fink



Public Education Chair, CCTA

Legislative Action Report on Education, Money, Jihadists in NC, and more

Dear CCTA Members and Friends,

If you don’t have much time, please go directly to the paragraph below with the words North Carolina Education Plan in bold type for a free solution to one of our most perplexing problems, and read that. Then, drop down to the paragraph with the words Syrian refugees in bold type, and read to the end.

I’ve talked to several legislators since the close of the General Assembly session. Most of them have expressed the same general idea about the budget. That is they take pleasure in the fact that the increase in spending is pretty much limited to the increase in North Carolina’s population plus the rise of costs caused by inflation.

Let that sink in a minute.

What’s wrong with it?

Well, it’s right and proper only if spending in the prior year was an appropriate amount. It seems to me that government was too big in the prior year, and it will be too big next year, too. And this is with a Republican majority who say they want smaller government. We need to communicate with our representatives at all levels of government that we are serious about wanting smaller government.

There are three more topics I’ve discussed with legislators recently.

We want Common Core academic standards gone from North Carolina. To a person, every legislator to whom I’ve expressed that desire has said that after they’ve received the report of the Academic Standards Review Commission in December, they expect a sub-committee of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee to be set up to consider the report and how to follow up on it. They don’t want to lose the time over the winter before the next legislative session convenes.

That is a terrific idea, and I hope it happens. Please express that notion to every legislator whose ear you can get.

Also, in testimony before the Commission, Jerry Egolf, Linda Harper, and Kathy Young presented the North Carolina Education Plan as a proposed replacement for Common Core. Please ask the legislators with whom you discuss this issue to take a close look at it. Sandra Stotsky (one of the two professors on the Common Core Validation Committee who refused to sign off on Common Core) has praised the North Carolina Education Plan. The plan can be downloaded for free by going to

I asked Senator Norman Sanderson about why we had failed to get rid of the requirement for a Certificate of Need in North Carolina, and when we might expect to get rid of it. He said he’s unsure about why it didn’t pass in the recently completed session, but he believes it has a good chance to pass in the upcoming session.

I had thought this issue was dead. Thank goodness I was wrong! Please tell every legislator you can that you want this to come before them in the short session, and tell them very plainly that you want the Certificate of Need (CON) requirement gone.

I also asked Norm about how we can get Syrian refugees (actually, potential Islamic Jihadists) out of North Carolina. He spoke of Governor Pat McCrory’s statement on the subject, and said he’d immediately sent the Governor a letter expressing appreciation for his action.

Both things are good, but we need to do more. We already have 59 Syrians relocated in North Carolina, and we are still threatened with the influx of many, many more. We are kind people, but we would be exceedingly foolish if we exposed our children, grandchildren, and ourselves to that Trojan horse. Please call, write, and pester our U.S. and N.C. representatives about removing this serious threat to our homeland.

If government can’t get protecting our citizens right, everything else will quickly become a moot point.

Very truly yours,


(Raynor James, Chairman, Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association’s Legislative Action Committee)

North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission Meeting October 19th, 2015

North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission 19Oct15

Hi All,

You can read my are my minutes from Monday October 19th Academic Standards Review Commission Meeting by clicking HERE.

I do my best to get most of the conversations, makes for some really long and sometimes boring reading!  For additional information about the ASRC, go to their website at

Kim Fink

CCTA Public Education Committee

This is Hal,
I’d like to add that these excerpts are especially interesting and that the citizens input during the “forum” was also especially interesting:

Olivia Oxendine: Wants to know what kind of report does the General Assembly expect, an Executive Summary and a 10 page report? Asks if the General Assembly has given any instruction on what they expect in the final report?
Andre Peek: Asks Jo to contact the committee from the General assembly to ask for guidelines for the final report. 2) Get the commissioners a time line for the completion of each of the committees to finalize their deliverables. 3) Collate all feedback and survey responses to incorporate into the draft final report.
Tammy Covil: Shared a comment from teacher about Math II, who felt it was discombobulated, disjointed, that some topics flowed and you could build upon them, but because there are so many different math families, it seemed that they just appeared out of nowhere, with no prior relationship for kids to draw on. Confusion on how deep am I to go, if I don’t go far enough the child misses something. There is no clear direction, no map, and no navigation. Math was overwhelmingly one of the top subjects of discussion.
Tammy: Shared that she made a point of asking this question to math teachers during the focus group meetings. In High School math, comparing the traditional math vs integrated approach, and whether they would support a return to the traditional math, overwhelmingly they wanted to go back to Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, and they did support teaching those classes over a year long period instead of a block schedule so they could spend time for remediation. Liked the MN math. Most of the teachers were In agreement with Ted’s math findings.
Olivia: By and large, ELA teachers feel that the students are not being well prepared in writing and composition, what is tested is taught, therefore when we left behind the 4th 7th and 10th grade writing tests, over time instruction in writing is waned, teachers say we do need something more direct and specific around pure composition opposed to pure essay.
Andre: Adds that we think we are teaching good writing and reading skills but one teacher pointed out that in reality, most of the kids are actually only seeing and reading power points. They get allot of informational text, but not learning how to write.

CCTA statement during the forum portion of the North Carolina Academic Standards Review Meeting 19 October 2015

Coastal Carolina Taxpayers
Watchdog Report
My statement during the forum portion of the North Carolina Academic Standards Review Meeting 19 October 2015 was as follows:

My name is Hal James. I live at 305 Calico Drive, New Bern North Carolina, Craven County.  I am a member of an organization that has had representation at every one of your meetings.

As you know, the duty of this Commission is to set educational standards that will guide the education of North Carolina’s students. That responsibility was passed on to you by the NC Legislature. They asked you to determine standards of education that meet the needs of North Carolinians.

North Carolina is a sovereign state.   The US Constitution was crafted by our Nation’s founders to guarantee that the sovereignty of the states joining the union would never be impugned.  NO WHERE IN THIS DOCUMENT CAN AUTHORITY FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO INVOLVE ITSELF IN EDUCATION OF THE CITIZENS OF THE SEVERAL STATES BE FOUND!  THE US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SHOULD NOT EXIST!

Yes, I know that the proponents of “Common Core” claim it was devised by an organization made up of state governors and state education directors, but anyone who can’t see through that does not have any business involving themselves in setting education standards.

The mission of Common Core advocates is clear. It is to control what American Students are to be taught and how American students are to be taught. Here are some of the messages being sent to students via Common Core:

* Your parents are not qualified to teach you. A lot of what they “know” is wrong.

* America was founded by cruel white supremacists who took the land away from Native Americans and enslaved Africans.

* The morality of your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents does not belong in the modern 21st Century.

* The religion of your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents does not belong in the modern 21st Century.
*   America has a history of cruel treatment of other nations. Look what they did to Japan with the atomic bombs.

* The United States is too nationalistic. We should not believe in American exceptionalism, but accept that America is merely a nation among nations, an equal partner in the world community, and as such, should accept world government.
I firmly believe that this last puts all the rest into perspective. A few very powerful people are trying to rule the world. I recommend that you read Tragedy and Hope 101 by Joseph Plummer before you dismiss me as a “right wing conspiracy theorist.”  It’s an easy read. Much easier than the book it is based on, Carroll Guigley’s 1,300 page Tragedy and Hope.

Please reject Common Core and replace it with true North Carolina Educational standards.

NC Academic Standards Review Commission- Meeting Minutes 21 Sept 2015

ASRC meeting minutes.   Sept 21, 2015

All pre meeting handouts:

Ann Clark, Jeannie Metcalf, Denise Watts, Jeff Isenhour, are on conference call

Dr. Ted Scheik, Bill Cobey, Jo Herrera (staff), Tammy Covil, Andre Peek, Dr. Olivia Oxendine are present

Dr. Laurie McCollum and Katie Lemons are absent.

Andre Peek: Continuing to get input from key stakeholders, emails and other correspondence from across the state, they receive and appreciate all input and will consider the input as they come to set of recommendations for the State Board and General Assembly.

Approve minutes of the last meeting, Ann made motion to approve Jeannie Metcalf 2nd, passed.

Old business: Jo: Update on timeline activities, this is last time we have guest presenters scheduled. October focus will be on focus group meetings with teachers in various parts of the state. Handout on the schedule and locations on the ASRC site (

Dr. Oxendine:   Talks about regional meetings for teachers in region 4. Three scheduled meetings in October.   October 6th, at UNC Pembroke, maybe 40 to 50 teachers expected to attend. On the 8th, Richmond County, same number expected, will be held at Richmond County Central office. October 15, at Moore County central office. Her question is, while she can speak to the English Language Arts questions, she is asking for someone from the math team to go to answer the questions and address recommendations. She feels like in fairness to the teachers they need to have someone speaking that can talk about Math. Looking to assign other commissioners. Will have skype capabilities. Andre will attend at least one of the meetings in person, Ted has back problems, doesn’t know about skype, Tammy askes about someone from the work group, stated that several of his team is working, and will have to ask and see.

Andre: Offers to drive Ted, Ted has problems sitting, not just driving.

Tammy, wants some representation at least at one of the meetings.

Olivia wants someone at each of the meetings.

Shares that the teachers will be assigned to small groups, and will have questions based on the draft findings that were reported last month.

Ted:   Doesn’t want to go a meeting to listen to a person brag about attributes of CC, if they want to ask intelligent questions ok, but he doesn’t want to hear… we completely support CC and finds himself sitting there with lots of criticism and biased comments.

Cobey: Tells Olivia to thank Dr.Simeon, for organizing the teacher interactions in the Central Region.

Cobey: Wants to know about hiring someone to write the reports for the final recommendations.

Andre: thinks Jo can do the report writing just fine.

Olivia Oxendine: Shares a draft outline of a report to use as a framework to get in the ballpark of how the final report should look. Asked Jo to begin to look at the framework, and is confident in her writing abilities also wants to have someone record the focus group meetings so everyone can see and post the report for the public. Jo is working with each contact person in Sandhills district

Andre: Point raised from time to time, point is we (commissioners) are not looking for reiterations, re hash of past Common Core discussions, we are looking on how to improve the standards as our feedback. It is incumbent on commissioners to set the tone and expectations of the meetings, intending to get reactions to what is working and what is not, look at the draft report as only a draft, and question attendees, does this represent an improvement to the process and standards versus what they currently have?

Andre: Illuminating event from Raleigh Charter School, read a report that they took an unpacking document for the standards, and developed a curriculum.

Ted: Shared that it was a 2013 curriculum used by Raleigh Charter, and is what they based their opinion on, the standards are consistent, the unpacking documents are not and were not part of the standards.

Olivia: The state requires a review of standards, the revision process began last year, part of the state’s law that this happens every 5 years.

Tammy: Are the unpacking documents from the spring of this year, the documents were revised, so the clarification is ongoing with the unpacking documents, changes will continue to happen, but they are based on the standards themselves.

Andre: Point he wants to make is there is good information coming out of the focus sessions, it was the implementation of the standards, and different districts are interpreting the standards differently.

Ted: What are we going to do in the classroom, because it is not clear in the classroom. Teachers   have to rely on local education authority for guidance on expectations. He has 2 people in his work group that are from In Wake County and they got advice on what to do.   There were not resources.

Cobey: Has the county provided unpacking documents?

DPI representative, Dr. Curtis: Notes and unpacking documents have been given to the field. Math standards with clarifications for spiraling through integrated Math. These tell teacher where to start and stop in each course on standards, may have something that will go through all 3 classes. Purpose of unpacking document is to be sure everyone is on the same page for testing and accountability.

DPI, Dr. Curtis: With conceptual understanding, the way we learned math, you learn an algorithm, the teacher showed how to do it, many of us can’t remember that approach, so when we adopted CC at elementary level, and learned different ways to approach a problem, so if you can’t remember an algorithm, you may be able to reach back and remember a strategy to get this problem solved. Says it was a digitized approach. (Whatever that means!)

Ted: We need people to know standard stuff, standard rules, and logic, doesn’t care how they get there, fine with multiple approaches, but in K – 8 emphasis on math models is a mistake, thinks if you take an average student having a hard time with place value (borrowing) and try to tech 3 or 4 other novel methods, that are overelaborated, kids will zone out.

Andre: Key point we need to keep in mind is standards must be developmentally appropriate, what they are capable of. Feels like there is a lot of confusion on teaching methods versus the standards. If you are accountable to the standard, how you get there should be decided at the school and district level. Integrated math, he believes is a method, not a standard.

Olivia: to Dr. Curtis: we are still going to be plagued with math issues, we have to continue getting math right, she read in research that if a kid has a few years of problems in math, they become fearful of math, her question is on the end of year test, are kids tested on being able to do the problem several different ways, a way to discern technique?

DPI: In the past, taught only algorithms and problems, easier than multiple approaches, however there is research that says multiple strategies is more advantageous. Want the methods of teaching to address different ways kids learn.

Tammy: In previous standards was this method of multiple strategies discouraged?

Point of introducing critical thinking strategies too young, confusing students and creating more problems than we are attempting to solve, thinks it is dangerous to play with as time progresses, and we are losing students through this process.   Child development specialist last month said we are shortchanging students.

Andre: Good teacher feedback from teacher stakeholders surveys, interested in hearing from the teachers on how they look at the statements they make, and how they simplify the standards. Good discussions to have. Up to the Commissioners to take the feedback and use it in the direction they are taking.

Action: Get a math member into the sessions that they will be having in Olivia’s group.

Ann: at a minimum, Ted could do a video, have it available at the sessions if his team cannot be there. At least he could have an overview with greater depth. One solution.

Ted: Point, are teaching methods a valid part of the standards? Going into the unpacking, what topics are we going to study, what skills, and when will the kids meet those skills. MN and VA let the teachers dictate that pace, ditch CC and get the teaching methods of CC out, and get back to basics of the standards.

Andre:  Kathy Young may be able to help in Math presentations.

Has a list of questions to add to focus group questions: 1. how are you using the unpacking documents, are you using these and calling them the standards? If the documents shows 5 different ways to do question, do the teachers have to teach all 5? 2. How are you managing sequencing between grade levels and school calendars (traditional vs nontraditional calendar) 3. What are the key issues that you hear from the parents? Impact on family, what they see as an issue, standards vs, rollout vs curriculum. 4. Considering that several steps may be needed to improve the NC standards, what is the most significant step we can take now, our reports don’t prioritize recommendations on what to do on day one. Interested to know what they would advise as far as approach, where would we start? 5. Current resource constraints aside, would like to hear about constraints on implementation of recommendations, positive or negative.

Olivia: Suggests review of questions, be sure to use appropriate wording, for instance, his list of questions, question 3 asks which standards seem to be lacking in clarity, and how, wants that word changed to why? (From the list of questions that Jo passed out)

Jo wants the list of questions to be distributed before the meeting so teachers can think about them, maybe send in some written correspondence ahead of time.

Will direct the conversation into some of what we want to hear for improvements.

Ted: Wants to add to question list: Do the standards specify the teaching method?

Olivia: Preliminary draft reports need to go out to the teachers prior to the meetings. Jo will link the reports to Dr Simeon. Sandhills teacher have requested them, and have not been able to get online.

Andre: Back to the timeline, no speakers currently scheduled on timeline, does not preclude any of the commissioners from adding a speaker if there is someone they want to hear from. Timeline is to set a target for when we give teacher input to the commissioners, collect and digest that information, so they all have a common view on what occurred, should occur shortly after the last meeting, Oct 15, no more than 5 days, definitely before the Nov meeting. Catalog the various recommendations and prepare those for commissioners input, recognize that Laurie put together a survey doc on google docs for them to use where she itemized recommendations and asked for input from the other commissioners. He would like to put together a similar document for both math and English Language Arts so each commissioner can be prepared to take a position on each recommendation made up to this point. They have collected and understood recommendations, but they will all need to be prepared to take a position and come to consensus.

Olivia: Suggests in regards to a google doc, pull each preliminary report, pull out the recommendations and begin to think about them, the ELA report is very detailed, so just focus on recommendations.

Andre wants this to be as detailed and actionable as possible.

Tammy: This has to lay out the issues that were determined during the review board, will become the framework of the final reports.

Olivia: When report goes to state boards there will be significant questions around the methodology and report needs to be clear on that methodology.

Andre: Timeline to teacher groups and to establish a point of view on budget impacts, by implementing this plan, we save dollars or we will need to invest additional dollars, so the General Assembly and State Board know that recommendations implemented will have these budget impacts. Feels like if impact is not addressed, we may be told this is great input, but we can’t afford it.

Say in math, we recommend that we adopt MN standards, as a way to simplify the standards, ok, what does it take to do that?

Ted: Stotsky said to take another states standards and tweak to NC needs would probably cost a few million dollars.

Andre: What does it cost to modify standards?

Tammy: Talked about we (commissioners) were not qualified to write standards, she says she is not qualified to say what something will cost, Feels that the emphasis on technology, digital learning is costly.

Olivia: Suggests instead of budget analysis, it is wise to lay out in their recommendations on what they have decided would make strong standards for NC and, will have the data that we can say this is what makes a good set of standards.

Andre: Agrees they won’t do the budgetary impact

Turn over to Tammy to introduce the speakers. Have their bios from the ASRC site (

Carrie Tulbert:

Collaborated on this presentation, Common Core standards, a Principal’s Perspective

Slides: talked to their colleges. Overall Positives Logic is sound, huge transition, appreciate purpose of CC and feels like it does prepare kids for College and career

Collaboration: likes teachers working together, depending on each other instead of alone. Conceptual thinking is better for the students and right for the students, and levels the playing field from drill and kill. Learning together, will make kids globally competitive. Is harder to teach and harder to do, but is worth it. Feels it works beautifully the way it is written. Is a more student centered process.

Dale: Think about how to separate what you are looking for, board or teachers or parents, students, local employers, different groups want different things, how do we mesh all those to make it work and satisfy everyone. Take politics out if it, what is best for the kids, what is good for the state and the country, is what the schools are in place to do. Glad that more people are getting involved in writing standards. In his 19 years, has seen the transient population is growing, jobs changing, careers changing, at Havelock, in military population, kids around the world, when kids move, helps to have consistent standards. Student centered approach, likes that move.

Dale: Overall concerns:   Time spent on testing, every minute spent on testing is a minute less of instructional time. No getting around this, want to be sure accountability is in place, but not more than we need. Kids take different amounts of time in learning, need time. Concern over evaluation of teachers based on test scores can create positive and negative interest, standards and assessments must be closely aligned, important to roll out together, can’t separate them. Concern about local influence for curriculum, is there money to access (test) the standards, conceptual development and assessments in place. Focus on learning how to learn instead of content specific. Walk around knowledge, when you talk to the student, they want to know why they can’t use their phone to look up the information they need instead of memorizing it. The employers are saying the same thing, the Chamber of Commerce too, especially for kids not going to 4 yr. College.

Tammy: reiterates what she is hearing, overall positive, they feel logic is sound, collaboration of teachers, all positive, yet you anticipate that the student will take off from the standards, why would accountability be a concern if you anticipate improvement from the students,

Dale, it takes time, how much time, gaps in student knowledge, tests that align, gaps in knowledge, kids won’t do as well on the tests at first, time to fill in knowledge gap. Issue, teachers feel like even though the results are honest, the scores are being used to attack them because people expect improvement over night.

Tammy: NC adopted this program, they are looking for results, but keeps hearing CC is great, but can’t quantify improvement, is a concern for her.

Ted: Positives listed, but didn’t see anything that was specific to the CC standards, this review can be done under any standards, and except for desirability of universal standards, and you haven’t said anything specific about standards. Same standards in 2 districts, have 2 different tests, so the kid’s knowledge was different.

Carrie: Standards are solid as far as principal, implementation has been the hard part, speaking on part of colleagues.

Bullet point on logic (Dale) saying that it is logical to think kids should have the same standards as kids in different states and schools.

Ted: Says there will be “No excellence in the USA if everything is uniform”, look at MN used to be excellent in Math, NAEP MN comes out better, if you make everyone do the same thing, scores will come down, doesn’t see how uniform standards makes our education better, helps those that move,

Carrie: High expectations of standards are due to all kids.

Olivia:   We hear a lot about misalignment of standards and tests.

Dale: High School level, every 11th grader takes the ACT, stand to reason that they would learn what the ACT measures, to see how many of the kids are college ready. Not all students want to go to college. Some want to go straight into careers. Work Keys graduates, ready for the job. Stands to reason to get accurate data they should measure data against what the kid wants to do vs what we want them to do.

Olivia: what should be said about test standards and alignment?

Dale, difficult to get accurate assessment from multiple choice questions. (COMMENT: If CC does what it promises, kids should be able to do well on any test given to them).

Jeff: The assessments they get doesn’t give enough information, from DPI, what the large areas of goals are. Don’t know where the weakness are.

Carrie: reading is 3 goals, cc has more than 3 goals. Is a DPI issue.

Andre: seems to me that the challenge you mentioned (Work Keys, ACT, end of course, etc.) as this relates to standards, rigorous enough to provide kids the knowledge to pursue whatever they wish to pursue, college, but it is troubling that it sounds like we are frustrated with the ability to align the standard to a specific path or direction. If student applies himself to a test ACT to do well, because of what their choice is, but another kid that doesn’t want to go to college so doesn’t care, will not test well.

Tammy: Careful, some students ask why we have to know this if I can google it, she says the ability to find the resources needed is important, what if the technology is not available. How much of this approach is pushed by business interests and how much is academic application, or theory. Regardless of direction they (kids) are heading, allot of business has influence that doesn’t have the academic expertise of the leaders in academics.

Olivia: heart of relationship between standards and curriculum, how work curricula is worked around them.

Carrie: how do we teach this skill, not necessarily through a textbook, teachers use whatever they can get their hands on. (COMMENT: Who is vetting these resources for appropriateness? Who is accountable when no one is vetting curriculum?)

Olivia: problem, teachers get resources the best way they can, some teachers don’t know how, or have no resources, this creates inequality across the board, if resources are not as rich or available, or teacher doesn’t have the initiative to gather the resources themselves. How do the Principals be sure the teachers are doing this job?

Carrie: District resources are different, in an F school, the resources she has, is embarrassing, and then she is tasked with what is she going to do for the teachers, everything costs money, they don’t have the money, and digital online resources are available. Have to trust the teachers as professionals that they know what is appropriate.

Dale: rural district, 5 math teachers. Have to collaborate across all the schools to find resources. Having common standards lets teachers collaborate across state and country. Digital resources, online help.

Andre: Math specifics around current standards.

Carrie: differences in conceptual thinking, we assume Kindergarten students have prior knowledge and they don’t. This has changed more recently than in the past. Colleagues share that this causes frustration in parents and the teachers missing out on prior knowledge, but conceptual thinking is a good thing, they need the time to get this knowledge. Elementary kids not all ready for conceptual thinking.

Andre: How do you deal with this, fail them, what?

Carrie:   Is a difficult issue, do you want a 15 year old in a third grade class?

Dale: In a perfect world, we should let kids move along at the speed they can, as fast as they can. You would list what a kid should know at the end of their education, feels like it would be beneficial to know and pass kids when they know, they advance, specifically state skills all the way through a degree in engineering, (or whatever) as they showed mastery of skills, check them off, don’t slow them down, keep them going. (COMMENT: Interesting to me that he is acknowledging that every child is different, learns in a different way, at a different pace, and at the same time professes to support the SAME SET OF STANDARDS, and EXPECTATIONS for ALL the kids? Seems to be contradictory to me!)

Andre: What keeps you from doing that now? (Comment, CC will not allow this, kids all follow a pacing guide)

Dale: Accountability

Dale: Students have to want to learn, some choose not to, so an evaluation piece is not fair to the teacher.

Carrie: Doesn’t like the accountability system, doesn’t like multiple choice questions.

They want specifics to be measured, ELA has and likes some flexibility in what is taught. Math likes it more regulated, black and white.

Dale: His teachers like our specific ELA standards, feel they are flexible enough that they let us teach concepts, and they were happy with their assessments. Math was a different answer. Best students take math 1 in middle school. Math I exam is very difficult……….required up to 4 concepts to solve a single problem.

Andre: Math sequencing seems to be an issue.

Olivia:   Point about logic, Feels ELA in 4th and 5th grade is not logical would recommend, they work on it, along with elementary grades. Principals and ELA teachers need to go through the 4th grade writing and 5th grade writing standards. When she thinks about logic, she is thinking about content logic and is a huge problem in those areas.

Carrie: What gets tested gets taught. K-5 colleagues frustrated with the writing standards. In a pure curriculum, writing resides in ELA, informational writing could be in other areas, science, social studies.

Tammy:   Contradicts critical thinking if you can’t express your thoughts in written form. Said she has seen letters from high schoolers that would “make your toes curl”

Carrie: Writing is not tested, you would have to create the time to teach.

Tammy: Testing is driving the curriculum. It takes time for the student to learn, time for the teacher to grade, this is subjective.

Ted: Does she think in their opinion, that the state needs to put emphasis on writing, and that it should be tested?

Carrie: too much testing, now, the assessment system we have now is too much. Can’t add another thing, would have to take something away,

Tammy: Would like to see end to NC final exam, because it is only used to evaluate teachers.

Olivia: Assessments in writing: does this and loves it. SAT requires a writing component, why would we not prepare our students to write if we don’t do this? Our students have to do it, but we don’t assess their writing in a format in NC

Dale, what do we want the students to learn, how do we add rigor? Make the kids write out their answers, takes time, to do and to grade. We don’t have that time.

Tammy: Her son had a graduation requirement project: why not use that written format to develop a resume, to apply to the direction the kid is headed. Emphasis on other things takes time away from writing.

Dale, Walkthrough observation, at his school, their goal is that every student read, write, and think in every class every day, track this data over time. When a teacher knows there is no writing assessment, it is hard to make the argument of why they need to take the time to do this.

Carrie: Larger issues: Transition into Common Core for the teachers was quick, too much, too fast, very different than what we had before, to transition and be evaluated this fast is causing frustration. Differences in NC on resources, feels this is wrong, inequity across the state.

Andre: regarding roll out, we recognize the transition was disruptive, could have been done better, one of things they heard about was from KY, they actually suspended evaluations for one year to give teachers a chance to get familiar with new standards. Recommend that maybe we slow down this process? Where would they slow things down if they had the opportunity?

Carrie: Educators need to teach what we currently have, with more teacher professional development, they need time to transition, time to find resources, if the commissioners choose to stick with CC, remove the high stakes accountability to evaluate teachers. Parents are having questions and concerns, they need to train everyone better, and the standards are not the devil, it is the implementation and they need time to develop. Rollout was not done well.

Andre: Different interpretations of what is standards and curriculum, have blurred lines, the Public Relations point to make, with that as the backdrop, is, if we communicate to the parents that these are terrific standards, read them for yourself, do you think they would understand?

Carrie: NO: parents are not educators! Teacher interrupts standards, they don’t expect the parents to read the standards. (Comment, nor do they want the parents to read them!)

Dale: This is a change in thought process. Standards used to be written for educators, now everyone wants to know what they mean, if it is for everyone, it needs to be written in a way they all can understand them.

Tammy: Biggest indicator of child success, is an involved parent, so why the standards shouldn’t be written in a way that the parents can follow along?

Olivia: Teachers should be so fluent in their understanding of the standards that they can convey them clearly. The teacher should be able to break down the standard when talking to a parent, so the parent can talk with their child and do something to help and support the child.

Ted: Math standards need to be cleaned up, too much jargon. He doesn’t like it when someone says leave it to the experts. Thinks that the K-8 math standards can be made lucid to everyone. Doesn’t know why we are having 8th grade teachers explain things that kids should already know.

Teachers speaking:

Ms. Mally: has handouts for the board, from Chapel Hill Carrboro schools, Commissioners were asked about and accountability, alignment of standards and testing, (This will be an attachment to the e mail as it was not in pre meeting handouts on the web)

End of grade math proficiency, 3 to 8th grade broken by race, when standards changed, the scores show an implementation dip, in 2003, and in 2013, with CC is another implementation dip. Recognize which subgroup most affected is the blacks, says they need to recognize it takes time for teachers, to learn, curriculum to align, and be aware of who it affects. (Comment, the achievement gap is evident in Latino’s as well)

Issue about standards and curriculum. Their district uses a program called “Understanding by Design” to develop curriculum based on standards. How it works, Identify what are the learning goals, (the standards), then what is the evidence that the students have mastered, (then access), then build the curriculum to teach and students show us what they know. This is a “backwards design model“. Professional design model in the Central region. (Comment: Seems bass ackwards to me, I feel like this is ripe for indoctrination. You have your goal, and then you set about to make the kids prove your point.)

To answer the question from commissioners about what shows positive evidence of achievement to these standards? On the 2nd page of their handout, what they will see in Math I is a big gain in proficiency this last year over previous year, have to wonder why, on the right is a list possible reasons, We do have coherent curriculum. Scope and sequence is better understood by teachers.

“Math vision” free online resource, have been using for 2 years, and have seen great results, and it is aligned to CC for the integrated math. (From Utah) Utilize high school trainers to unpack standards and train teachers. Gains because teachers have used for several years. Dramatic gains in scores shown in sub groups on the chart. They feel it is their curriculum that is cohesive and coherent, professional learning, using unpacking documents, and instructional focus for teachers in the classroom.

Coby: Graph in 2010, shows not much gap between subgroups and top performers, gets what they say about subgroups improvement, but they went down so far that any improvement would be dramatic. Still sees more of a gap than there was before. Graph is grades 3 –8, the other data is Math I.

Ms. Mally: Takes time for the results to show up. There is a lot of reading in this math that impacts the subgroup data. Improvement over time with these standards, scope and sequence. In math I, students have had CC all through middle school, so they are better prepared, but results take time to show up.

Coby:   Asks am I hearing that drop of proficiency in K-8 is due more to literacy than math?

Ms. Mally: Some of both

Cobey: What kind of plan do they have to close that gap? In Chapel Hill, this is the biggest challenge, this is a statewide problem. We have to close the achievement gap.

Ms. Mally:   Math I data shows that the idea of content standards, that the students are writing in math contexts, talking about it, how to orchestrate talking about math, takes time and attention to undue misconceptions. How to learn from common errors. Take a critical look at common errors, fix it with a process they call “Growth mindset”.

Olivia: So, they design their tests before they design their curricula? The test drives the curriculum. Understanding by design,

Understanding skills and knowledge, then evidence, (performance tasks), “Understanding by Design” is what the process is called. (How it works: goals equal the standards, understanding the essential questions, skills and knowledge is stage I. Evidence is stage II, results from what the students will know and do, they design performance tasks, after they test what they know, and they design instructional guides and curriculum to get them to what they want them to know.)

Ms. Bowers: Person County, N of Durham. Not clear why she is here, has been an educational afternoon, has learned some good things. Tells us she is in her 29th year teaching, but if this is pulled, she will be quitting. CC is not perfect, nor is any set of standards, but this is a basis. Can it be tweaked, yes.   Can it be improved on, yes, but it doesn’t need to be tossed. During the last 5 years, she has literally been through it all with CC, and she and her students are doing better.   Common themes she heard today, 1, heard that the problem is not the standards, but the resources, or lack thereof, CC was implemented poorly without resources. Previously they have been handed a set of standards and a curriculum that was handed to them, textbooks, curriculum handouts teacher’s edition books. With CC they were handed standards and told to develop their own resources and curriculum. They are in a rural district, do not have resources to put in kids’ education that other schools do. She goes to Pinterest for ideas and projects on functions. It takes time and effort to find the activities for the class. There are 4 others that teach math with her, they work together, come together every day, collaborate, and access day’s activities. In 1987, in Durham, she had lots of resources, she was in a trailer with 30 students, given a teacher edition book and told, see you in June. This changed with CC. She would love to have more clarification as to what the standards mean and how it will be tested. Wants to teach for a test, not TO a test. She then reads a standard, (Comment: We can’t understand what she read,) she, as a teacher, has the skills to interrupt the standard and to teach what is asked, but does that mean no clarification is needed to connect it to the children?. The Letter from 4th grade parent disturbed her, because the parent is saying that because I can’t understand, it means the way it is taught is not good for anyone. She would hate to think there was only one way to solve every problem. CC challenges them to come up with different ways to do things, they use a method called “do-undo”. A different methodology. Teaching the same concept using more than one method. Are there problems, yes, should they be thrown away, no. Do what is best for the kids, fix what we have if necessary and then move forward. If she has to start them over again, she can’t do that again to her students. Knew the drop in testing would happen because of the changes in the data. When they implemented CC and Math I, there were things that were tested that had been moved to 8th grade, but those kids did not have that in 8th grade with previous standards so they were tested on things they didn’t know. Knew the dip would come, knew there would be a knowledge gap.   Last yr. 9% of kids in Math I were proficient, this year 43% were. The standards can be the same, but the kids are coming from different backgrounds. Kids are different, the results will be different even if the standards are the same.

Andre: How to move forward, clarity and simplicity would be helpful.

Ms. Bowers: Clarity is what she would like to see. With CC came allot of money, there are times when she thinks the writers had to earn what they were writing! Making them wordy etc. She comes from a simple background, she can figure out the how and the why, if she knows the what!

Always questions, what skill is my kid applying this to? What type of problem am I applying this to? A concern is we don’t problem solve in a vacuum, and we don’t do the solving alone, when there is a problem, we put together minds to solve, she has a concern if kids can take skills and problem solve in a vacuum on their own on a multiple choice test.

Problem is lack of support from implementation, lack of resources, and lack of alignment. (Comment: Common Thread today, wonder if these guys aligned their comments!)

Ms. Hubbard: Lindsey Hubbard : Person County, a first grade teacher, currently a third grade teacher, is a supporter of the common core. Likes it. When CC came out, first grade had no state test like other grades did, but had benchmarks through their district. 20% of her kids were proficient, and what to do now to improve this, they had to pull from the professional leadership skills from other districts, teacher leaders. The objective is all teachers would understand and agree that the standards say the same thing, the expected action from the standard. Feels they need to collaborate and decide on the best way to teach the standards. As a result of this collaboration, at end of year, on same benchmark, 95% kids passed. Traditional algorithms are not wrong, but education is not one size fits all, everyone has the same endpoint, and how the particular kid may get the answer in a different way. Pulling together, taking success of others and create leaders within their district to help others, help me be more successful. (Comment: Common Core is a One Size fits all, this is contradictory)

They have good curriculum. Review teams, what is the standard, what is the essential question, student is focused on what they are learning.

In her opinion, K-3, keep standards, revise if necessary and clarify. Starting over will create more problems, time and money and apply across state to create a constant.

Andre: Theme throughout, today….. Teacher collaboration, encouraging to see this happening in the schools. Curious about the feedback he has seen, is when you teach math at the lower grade, kids are being challenged to know 4 or 5 ways to solve a specific problem, know them all in order to pass.

Lindsey:   It comes down to the child, when you collaborate with other teachers, you say this didn’t work, they may say, try this instead, and see if this will work. She thinks kids shouldn’t be forced to do other strategies. (Comment: Then why are the kids having to learn 4 or 5 strategy’s instead of just the ONE that works for them?, Which one of the many strategy’s will be tested?) Goal is for the kids to explain to the parents what they learned. End of grade EOG, use “Ready” that aligns with EOG, EOC.

Olivia: Students are required to describe their methodology in solving a math problem in a constructed response that is graded on a rubric. This requires a student that can’t read well to frame sentences, spell, punctuation etc., and doesn’t just deal with the math.

Lindsey; if we are testing math, she will judge the content of response, not because of punctuation or spelling, agrees that writing should be taught and assessed, but not take the math grade down for writing errors, the content of the answer is what she is looking for.

Mr. Ferguson: Trey, teaches math III in Wake County at Leesville High School. Feels the Commissioners have a flawed conception of the Math based on his reading of the draft report from the commission. States that the integrated concepts are broken into standards, this gives educators vertical alignment, not their complaint of repeated concepts.

Math standards system of skills Math I, Math II, and Math III, (in unpacking documents, includes the pacing of concepts and lists skills required for graduation)

Andre: Points out from earlier conversations, teaching methods and clarification, unpacking document, we see standards as confusing because of where specifics on what needs to be known, the specifics should be in the standard, not the unpacking document. If it is a method, we want to know if it is in the proper place to achieve the standard.

Ferguson: We need resources. High School standards are set with pacing guides for when things are taught.

Andre: Need to be addressed as far as clarity.

Ferguson: All districts should have access to unpacking documents and consistent resources. The draft recommendation says would be easier to return to old instead of revising CC, he disagrees with this and wants to keep the integrated Math.

Ted: Interrupts, says basic foundational things are missing from CC. He doesn’t align with all the unpacking comments.

Andre: Integrated Math, not every teacher is prepared to teach this way, flexibility needs to go back to LEA’s, if you can achieve the goal of the standard. What can we do specific to the standards, and how we get there is up to the local ELA.

Ferguson: Keep these standards, clarify them, they are improving scores, the final recommendation focused on missing things, that the unpacking documents address, and these things may spiral through the I II III sequencing.

(Central region input)

Andre: thanks folks for participation.

Jeannie: thanks those here, doesn’t want to lose sight of what the commission is tasked to do, the reports from last month on brain development that should influence every decision. Thanks Ted for work and attitude!

Andre: additional business: Cobey moves to adjourn

North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission Meeting Minutes- August 17, 2015

Academic Standards Review Commission Meeting Minutes

August 17, 2015 The Commission’s Web site All past meetings handouts and information.

Roll Call: Present; Bill Cobey, Andre Peek, Jeannie Mefcalf (via phone) Olivia Oxendine, Ann Clark, Jeff Isenhour, Katie Lemons, John Scheik. Executive Assistant Jo Herrera

Absent: Denise Watts, Laurie McCollum

Minutes from July: Motion to accept as written, accepted.

Andre reviews today’s agenda, asks if there are any questions, additions or deletions from agenda.

Ted – asked when the final reports are due.

Andre: Final written reports with Workgroup recommendations are due in December.

Consent for today’s Agenda, motion passed.

Old business:

Jocelyn: Gave a print out of the timeline of commission activities, where we are in general. Today we have a guest speaker and asks if we will have a guest speaker in September. Nothing has changed the last 2 months in the timeline, will always address add ons. She needs to know today, if there will be any more guest speakers requested, so they can maximize the time they have to plan the teacher regional focus groups. The state is separated into named and numbered regions.

Jo has had contact from Central Carolina, they are willing to come to a regularly scheduled ASRC meeting to share their concerns. Regions 4 and 5, representing NW, N Central, and Piedmont Triad area, has been hard to coordinate schedules and there is nothing solidified in those areas.

Jeff:   Mentions region 8 doesn’t feel represented, they are over 6 hours from Raleigh.   Tammy asks Jeff to find someone in that region to act as connection.   Commissioners are making an effort to accommodate these people and be sure everyone has a voice. Willing to explore traveling to that region.

SE region is Tammy’s, there is nothing scheduled so far, but Tammy will help facilitate this. She stated that it is important for everyone to participate and feel they have a voice in recommendations, however you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. All they can do is offer the opportunities, and the decision to come or not is up to them

Olivia: As the representative from the Sandhills, she will facilitate a “natural meeting” that is already scheduled but they will be discussing more than just common core.

Andre: Follow up for Jo, Jeff will call Calloway for effort to organize a meeting. Tammy will facilitate the SE, Sandhills will be handled by Olivia, (Jo shared that Dr. Simeone is excited to get people together, he said he is willing to try to bring folks to our Sept 21 meeting, or maybe skype them from here, ) Andre shared that it would be better to attend the meeting that Olivia is already doing in the Sandhills. Central Carolina is uncertain, Joe has not heard from the Triad People. SW Region, Gaston or Union County will host a meeting, and Ann will facilitate. Jo will continue to help coordination if the commission wants to continue having the Oct 19 board meeting to a region here in Raleigh, or go to a regional meeting.

Andre: these regional meetings are to be sure there is a perspective that represents the citizens of the state, not just in Raleigh. Asks, how can they “live stream” if they go to a regional meeting, outside of this facility.

Andre: continue the meetings here, to be sure we have stakeholders able to hear the live stream.

On the 21st, will invite the regional people here.

Olivia: Asks; when you hear from teachers’ as a way of collecting data, will there be a transcriber, or what method of gathering information from the teachers will be used?

Andre: It will be the responsibility of the commissioners to draft the agenda, the draft reports from the subgroups will be used to inform the discussion for the regional meetings, and then the teachers can react to what they think they are hearing instead of re hashing last year.”

First Presenter:

Tammy introduces Carol Ardizonne: Her Bio online, at the ASRC site. Chairman of Education at the Brookstone School in /Charlotte.

Summary: She has a passion for special needs and at risk students. She shares a disclaimer, her explanation on biology and neuroscience is very simplified and condensed for the presentation today. Standards are good and essential, bad standards are dangerous if not appropriate.

In the 60’s there were ways to identify how the brain learned, and how to teach kids with deficits.

In Charlotte they started a school based on at risk kids with less advantages. Continued her presentation stating; what we don’t know is what neurological brain development they enter school with, what level is the neurological thinking? Their school is now a K-8 school, in existence for 14 years. All of their kids are reading at grade level, at the end of first grade. Kids that are at or below poverty level are typically scoring between 14 and 22 percentile and theirs are scoring between 50 and 80th percentile, they use neurological based learning.

Quick review of the brain. ( Left side controls right side of body, right controls left side of the body. She shows slides of the parts of the brain, and explains how we learn. The Cerebral Cortex (left and right hemispheres) are considered the seat of thinking, memory speech movement and it includes the Frontal lobes that are considered the executive control, deals with planning and thinking, which mature slowly (early adulthood). Its capability to control the excesses of the emotional system are not fully operational during adolescence, often not until mid to late 20’s. The Temporal lobes effect hearing music, memory language. The Occipital Lobes deal with visual processing. The Parietal Lobes deal with spatial orientation, calculation, sensory processing.

Cerebellum: Coordinates movement, connected to regions that perform mental and sensory tasks. Discovered that it is connected to the frontal lobes, so to learn and remember, you can learn better in the frontal lobe. Memory, the brain stores the movements so you can do one thing while the brain is thinking another. Supports cognitive processing.

The Brainstem is the original brain, monitors and controls everything needed for survival. Understanding brain development begins here.

Limbic System: Part that generates emotions, the emotions of learning. The Thalamus, monitors incoming sensory information. The hypothalamus monitors internal systems to maintain normal state of body. The Hippocampus, brings in memories, connects to the storage, and creates meaning. The Amygdala, interactions with emotion, fight or flight. The strongest emotion is fear, it changes things, and can be created by lots of things. Fear is created by more than just a gun, can be thoughts of lack of security, no one can help me, no one understands me. Fear impedes learning. The 2 structures of the brain responsible for the long term remembering are located in the emotional area of the brain, the hippocampus and amygdala.

Positive emotion and negative emotion affect learning. Engage emotions to help learning.

Shared a story of a 9 yr. old, in third grade begins to cry every time Math is mentioned. The total emotional response this child has learned is that every time she hears the word math is to cry, the word generates fear tears, and anxiety.

Shares an example we can understand, a piece of sheet music, how do you teach a kid music, do you take first stanza and break apart? Do it by rote? Keep repeating a small part till you know it all? Providing no foundation at all, teaching this way gives an inability to transfer what you learn, you can’t apply this knowledge to any other piece of music. This method would kill your love for music. To teach this properly, you would begin to teach scales, then show what it looked like as one note, and then repeat, after you learn notes, you have a basic knowledge of notes, and could play more than one song, create positive emotion that would give you a love for music. Learning that can be applied to other applications. Go to the beginning of how you learn to do something.

Carol shared a personal story of her grandkids, 2 yrs. of piano, kids were not real interested, didn’t want to practice or play, then there was a new teaching system introduced to them, and the kids learned to love the music as they learned. Baby steps.

It is important to use insight from neuroscience to improve education. Every kind and type of learning comes from the brain.

All locations of the brain work because of the neurons and glial cells. Every sound or experience that a baby has, everything they feel, connects these cells, as the baby is stimulated, the brain responds. Learning has begun.

From birth to 8, the brain is developing as the cells are stimulated. If you don’t use the connections, they start to drop off.

It is important to get memory in the early brain. We can learn our entire lives, but building the foundation is important to the process as the brain has to be able to receive it. There are windows of opportunity for learning, as the windows close, those opportunities are lost. Motor development (birth till 8), emotional control (birth till 3), vocabulary (before 5), math, logic (by 5), spoken/second language birth to 12. In America today, we don’t start teaching 2nd language till kids are 12, when that window of learning opportunity is closed! The Parents need training on how important this is. Four states are doing this and are seeing great results. How do we translate this process to standards? Blooms Taxonomy:   Create, evaluate, analyze, apply, understand, and remember. (Revised in 2001)

Remember – refers to the mere rote recall and recognition of previously learned material.

Understand – this level describes the ability to make sense of the material and represents the lowest level of comprehension. When a student understands the material, it becomes available for future use to solve problems.

Apply – This level refers to the ability to use learned material in new situations with a minimum of direction. It includes the application of such things as rules, concepts, methods and theories to solve problems.

Analyze – this is the ability to break material into its component parts so that its structure may be understood. It includes identifying parts, examining the relationship of the parts to each other and the whole, and recognizing the organizational principles involved.

Evaluate- deals with the ability to judge the value of material based on specific criteria and standards.

Create- The ability to put parts together to form a plan that is new to the learner. Stresses creativity with major emphasis on forming original patterns or structures.

Review of Piaget theory of cognitive development. Sensorimotor (birth-2) Preoperational (2-6), concrete operational (7-11) formal operational (12)

Grading system at one time was based on how kids learn, and Piaget’s theory.

Examples in common core of age in-appropriate standards Grade 1, standard 5: Know and use various text features, headlines, tables of contents, glossaries, and electronic menus, icons to locate key facts or information in a text. She read the standard, then showed the books that would be typically available in a first grade class, these books do not have tables of contents, or glossaries, so how would this standard be satisfied, it would not be until grade 3 third month that a book with those requirements would be introduced to the students.

Looking at a Math example, grade one, standard 1: “Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.”

Grade 1: “Write an opinion piece in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion and provide some sense of closure.”

At this age and brain development, these kids are not capable of stating or having an “opinion” or know what the expectation of what the word closure means

(Tammy says we have people in the legislature that can’t do that)

Carol stresses the importance of teachers understanding how the brain works and why it works that way, and encourage standards that are appropriate for the ages.

The children master their physical environment and learning to master language. Technological devices interfere with this. Children’s brain development has been diminished by short circuiting their neurological brain development of thinking and organizational skills. She recommends not allowing children to continuously use a computer until they are at least 8 years old.

As a result of this type of teaching and learning, at Brookstone, 6th graders read the Hobbit, and 7th and 8th grades are reading Shakespeare.

Carol states that it is imperative to filter (evaluate) the standards through how the brain develops


Olivia: stated that Carol gave a good presentation and great brain review.   Going back to first grade standard example, is the term rigor and some of the wordiness, an attempt to get and respond to rigor, and what do you really think the standard is asking the student to do? (Referring to the writing standard)

Answer: No, at that age, the children are not capable of an opinion, they are able to tell you what is the name of the story, tell you what it is about, name characters, what they liked the best, but they don’t call it an opinion.

Jeff: has a 6 yr. old. He thinks the key is asking the right questions from the instructional standpoint. The standard is not written for the student to understand, but for the teacher to understand and interpret.

Answer: A child would express their opinion such as, what makes them happy, it is a self-absorbed response, not the analytical definition of opinion piece.

Olivia: standards in Common Core, rigor is overworking the vocabulary to make it look rigorous, and all the verbiage in the standards is going overboard to give the false impression of rigor.

Tammy: States that some standards are structured to arrive at a preconceived conclusion. The answer that is expected to be given, is based on information they already have. If they don’t have other information from which to draw, she has to question if wordiness is intentional.

Andre: Cautions, be careful, Olivia made point, use of word “opinion” Be mindful of who it is written for, it is left up to the teacher to interpret, and to put the right lesson together for the students. We need clear concise standards, not confusing or developmentally in-appropriate.

Katie: Repeats previous statement to filter standards through Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Tammy: Asks, are you saying that the proficiency level and success of your students, working with an at- risk population, is attributed to developmentally appropriate standards, not their wealth, sex, race? Continues her question asking if In her opinion, teachers are not instructed enough in brain function, is that why there is a disconnect? Professional development is wasted if the standards are not appropriate.

Carol Answers: In their school they do brain exercises and there are rote memory skills, the children walk in lines, they are organized in their classrooms, they provide structure. What they do is reworking the brain so learning is more natural.

Tammy: in her opinion, what are long term ramifications of inappropriate age standards?

Carol answers: Frustration in elementary school, dropouts in High School, lack of achievement, drugs etc., kids that are emotionally frustrated does affect the brain. Kids can’t focus. We need to understand how the brain receives information, have teachers understand Bloom’s Taxonomy, to move to higher functioning learning. Rigor is different for a 5 yr. old than a 12 yr. old.

Shares that the Singapore math method is taught at Brookstone. Shares that a student does not move forward until they are proficient, even if they have to move back a grade. Shared an example of a child that was in 3rd grade, not at reading level, so the teacher took them BACK to the child’s reading level and moved forward, and by the end of the year, the child had caught up with their class and reading at grade level.

Cobey: Heard her say that teachers before they go into the classroom, need to understand how the brain works. Sounds reasonable to him, are teachers coming out of schools of education with this knowledge?

Oxendine: She is fascinated by brain. Shared a statement by “Burke”(I didn’t get the first name of this person): that in elementary education, teachers should spend undergraduate time studying child growth development and theory, and it is not happening in college now.

Cobey: States that they (the state board) can influence this process over time, not overnight. Cobey said he had an ah- ha moment, when she spoke about brain development in the first year of life, acknowledging that there can be damage done by abuse and neglect of a newborn that may affect the ability to learn. It is becoming recognized that we have to intervene somehow, in the context of preschool, etc., she says they need programs for the parents! This resonates with him. Wants more information on the parents programs that Carol referenced.

Tammy: States: Government needs to stop interfering with parents and let parents raise their kids. Instead of putting programs in place they need to understand the difference between dependence and control. (And I might add personal responsibility to that list!)

Coby: States: May need to work through nonprofits, work with parents, we are getting students coming to school with deficits, how do we come to get the tools to the parents?

Carol answers: Give a booklet to the parents, work through the churches, work in the neighborhoods, parents need to take the responsibility and to care enough to do for their kids.

Tammy: What was said about the technology piece, our push for the state to go all digital, she thinks it is a mistake, we need to be careful.

Jeff: Shared that the push for technology across the state is because of the disparity between the districts across the state, some places have more than others, be cautious about broad statements about where it is. (He is obviously addressing Tammy) works to bring closure to this conversation, to him, going back to standard example, it has been overwritten. Problems they are facing with Common Core, is that some standards are in the wrong place, some are overwritten, their committee is to make recommendations to fix issues, he cautions, not confuse something that is “hard” to what is “confusing”. (Jeff is a pro Common Core Standards who prefers to “tweak”)

Carol: Shares she has no problem with technology in middle and high school. States again that you should not let kids have computers before they are 8.

Katie: home environment can leave kids with development lags that have to be addressed in schools.


Andre: Work Groups Math and ELA committee reports.

First opportunity to see how the preliminary results look in drafts today. Input from Commissioners will help with the regional focus group meetings that will be held.

Ted’s reports is online:

(The report is very well done, in depth and very critical of Common Core)

Highlights: The analysis of K-8 and High School is separate due to vast differences in the how the standards are written. The group used a matrix to compare Minnesota and Virginia standards along with NC. The group accumulated a set of topics omitted by CCSS math, as well as suggesting additional work that should be included like counting money and making change. The group pointed out numerous typos, undefined terms and mathematical errors in CCSS, listed them. There is great detail on topics poorly done. There is a contrast shown between NC CC math and MN and VA. This section of the report closes with recommendations to the commission. The High School analysis concluded that there are serious deficiencies and they are flawed. They are repeated, creating confusion. There is a defect in the nearly complete absence of examples. Synergy between topics is hard to detect, fragmentation in the sense that teachers hop from topic to topic. No available text book for the “integrated” math approach. They omit standards that had been suggested by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. They feel that geometry is slighted, logic, deductive reasoning and formal proofs have been eliminated in all forms, leaving learning gaps that students will need for higher level courses and college math. In addition, there is a complete absence of matrices anywhere in the standards. Their recommendation is for NC to return to the tradition sequence of Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry, and they defend this recommendation.

Questions: Olivia, why choose MN,

Ted: Answers, Pre Common Core, MN was the only set of standards that met the requirements for National Mathematics Advisory Panel.

Ann: Asks who is on his committee,

Ted:   some of them are current teachers, 2 retired, mostly high school.

Ann: Make sure you hear from teachers K-8, and currently teaching.

Andre: Asks if there was a reduction of the number of standards?

Ted: Answered, I didn’t count the number of standards. Teachers feel the standards were fragmented. Some teachers in Wake were told which standards to omit as they didn’t have time to do all of them. (I think that means teaching to the test)

(The state board members were not happy with that statement, and both were unaware of that practice.)

Jeff: Common Core structure was discombobulated. Many learning gaps and too much fragmentation. He reviewed textbooks for CC, says Algebra, Geometry Textbooks are what is available, not textbooks that are titled “integrated”, math I, Math II.

Andre: If there are opportunities to reduce the number of standards, how would you do that? We need to use the most impactful ones.

Olivia: believes it will be important that a clear statement about integrated math needs to be made, the question comes up often at the State Board, and they are not sure what it means.

Ted: Answers, the practice or the concept? (Of integrated math)

Andre: That would be a curriculum discussion, let’s not lose sight of the underlying standard as you move from topic to topic.

English Language Arts: Full report online

Katie Lemons: giving report for Laurie McCullum: goal is to walk us through what they did to get the report. They revisited Senate bill 812, for what they were charged to do: focus on age level, standards that are understandable, increase student achievement, standards that are high in the nation, and reflect NC priorities. In order to do that, they made a matrix with a variety of state standards. This way all the standards were measured the same way.

Highlights: Reviewed standards from MA, CA. TX, and VA and compared to our NC Common Core using matrix. Shared an example comparison from each state to ours. Shared concerns from teacher survey including, developmental appropriateness, number of standards to cover by the end of a year, multiple tasks embedded within a single standard. Impediments to implementation including lack of textbooks and instructional material aligned with standards, students with learning gaps since standards were not phased I, a need for professional development for the teachers. There is concern about the loss of focus of reading for enjoyment, loss of reading literature in lieu of informational texts, and that the teaching of writing is diminished since it is no longer assessed. Conclusions and recommendations all began with: “Revise the standard, or write new standards” that………..and included topics; Essential goals that can be mastered by students in a 180 day school year, be age appropriate by incorporating a child development expert during writing, need to focus on clarity and detail, reading needs to be based on student’s instructional reading levels, establish concrete minimum goals for each grade, including the amount of reading, establish clear writing goals, establish grade level standards instead of grade level bands at the high school level, align high school English content with the Social Studies curriculum in order to facilitate the teaching of core documents by content experts, establish context and deepen student understanding.

Andre: Statement, if teachers are not able to discern what age appropriate is, then the more a student advances through the grades, the more they drop off. Which says, it is the formative age that would need to be addressed, based on what is not getting done in the earlier grades. We have problems, but don’t have a process that provides a solution.

Jeff: You keep adding to the plate, not taking away from it. Need to remove some initiatives, can’t do everything, and everything well, there is too much.

Andre: We have to move and evolve forward. Consider looking at the lower grades to get it right to reduce the impact of low student performance in high school.

Katie: If kids could read at grade level, it would solve so many problems! Foundational skills needed at the K-3 level.

Tammy: Where in the standards, is research writing addressed, how are they to get technical writing information?

Olivia answers,   in 6th grade, but they write more than just informational text. (I don’t know what this means)

Laurie: Research papers are guided, sometimes only 3 sources are allowed, generally don’t have a full blown research paper till 11th grade.

Tammy: Using only one source, not going outside the one source, limits the writing.   (I think she is referring to the “close reading” and writing where an entire book is not read, just a portion)

Katie: Shares that time limits what can be done, writing is still to be discussed in depth in her group. She feels writing is falling to the wayside, they do more constructed response writing.

Jeff: If writing is added back in, something has to be taken out, you have to have feedback, have time to correct what is wrong, because of Common Core, this is impossible now.

Ann: Agrees, says yes, standards need to be simplified and reduced. Tough decisions have to be made.

Tammy: Writing is a focus on college readiness

Cobey: States: This problem with writing has been going on for decades, our best and brightest still have problems writing, this is not a new problem. (I think that was a sad and telling comment, if he knew this has been going on for so long, why has it not been addressed?)

Katie:   A discussion we need to have, do it right, give it the time it needs.

Ted: Stated: He remembers doing 400 word essay’s once a week when he was in college, that size paper takes less time for the teacher to read and grade. Start with that, something that is small and works up to the larger paper.

Reading K-3 foundational reading skills most important.

Andre: In making recommendations, it is important to assess impact on the state budget and to report that as well. What will be the implementation order? How do we do this with the most bang for the buck right now? What could the state board do right now? What would the roll out look like? How would it be beneficial to the state? How long will it take to implement a new system?

Ann: Give clarity, give timeline, include professional development, leadership directed from who? DPI? Etc. With Common Core implementation, districts began training and not all teachers got training. Be fair to the teachers and the students. Professional development, not just exposure. Push the opportunity to give thought to implementation timelines and cost including professional development.

Andre: All this is theoretical until actions are developed.

Jeff: State board or the General Assembly should ask what is the reasonable expectation, from the teachers and administrators that are actually in the trenches.

Olivia: States that prematurely accepting recommendations from their subgroups will say we want brand new standards, when we may just be making recommendations to the department? (Hugh? I wonder if she is saying that the State Board does NOT have to follow the recommendations of the commission, even if the recommendation is to rewrite the standards. This was a concerning and upsetting statement coming from her.

Ted makes motion to adjourn, Tammy 2nds.

Progress on the North Carolina Eduction Standards

I want to share this great email I got from 
Jerry Egolf on North Carolina Education Standards.

Kim, all,

Yesterday afternoon, Kathy Young, Linda Harper and I joined Dr. Rosemary Stein and Dr. Terry Stoopes for a presentation to the attendees of Camp Liberty, an annual event that Linda chairs at her church. It is a celebration of our traditions of liberty, freedom, the constitution, and preserving those cherished items.

Dr Stein led off with a riveting presentation about how CC has and is adversely affecting young children by using age inappropriate material and curriculum that is not tuned to the age or grade level of our children. She is a noted pediatrician with a background in education. Her presentation was very illuminating as to how badly CC is harming children. It also nicely set the stage for our presentation on the North Carolina Eduction Plan, slightly tweaked for the Christian-based audience.

Terry followed with some personal observations and experiences regarding his own children and their struggles with CC. He added some other observations about the overall process and commented on Dr. Stein’s material. He was humorous at times but effective in what he added to that presented by Dr. Stein.

Next, the three of us presented our material to a primed audience, there were many questions that begged to be asked but put aside until the Q&A period to follow. The folks were very interested in what we had to say. Kathy did her usual great piece of CC math, Linda added some important points about the ELA standards, and I closed it out with some critical thinking points and the summary.

There were many questions about the afternoon’s presentations and all of us had an opportunity to address them on our own area. It was evident that our plan had generated much interest. After the conference had ended, folks followed us around the venue to ask more questions. My heart broke when a lovely teenage girl described how her teacher had given them “porn” to read and discuss. When she confronted her teacher, she was told, “I am your teacher and I will decide what you read and learn.” The Department Head was no better, “freaking out” when they learned that the girl had confronted her teacher.

There were two noteworthy aspects from our presenting at the conference. First, we are now linked to Dr. Stein and her husband. They endorsed what we are doing and believe we are providing an important framework for educating the children of NC. As you are aware, Rosemary is running for Superintendent of Public Instruction next November, replacing June St. Clair Atkinson. She asked to be kept up on our progress and activities and she promised to do likewise. She gave us each a big hug!

Second, someone who I knew nothing about was in the audience and spoke at the close, complimenting Linda and Camp Liberty. He said that he had learned so much and appreciated the presentations. “He” was Senator Louis Pate, Deputy President Pro Tempore of the NC Senate and Wayne County Senator. He told us that we “need” more exposure and that he would arrange for us to brief a select panel of Senators in the near future. He was very complimentary of our work. (One man asked me, “Do you know who he is? I answered that no, I really didn’t. He then took my arm and said, “He is the number two in the Senate. Number two!”)

The Q&A session had to be ended as it ran long and was affecting the children’s portion of the conference. They did a great job of showing the flag and telling everyone about what they had learned about the constitution. It was a lot of fun. Linda is to be congratulated for all of the work that she did. We were all glad we had the chance to be involved in such a cool event.

I will have more to share Monday evening at Hal and Raynor’s but wanted you all to hear about yesterday.

Many blessings to everyone.    Jerry


NC Academic Standards Review Commission Meeting-July 20, 2015

Following are my minutes and my comments highlighted in parentheses, taken during the ASRC meeting on Monday. In full disclosure, I don’t think DPI made progress promoting the retention of Common Core, there seems to be more questions and adversarial comments than in the past. This commission is working toward interim reports, that should have been done by now. We will have a better “read” on the commissions leaning at that point.

Handouts for today’s meeting available at:

Opening welcome by Andre Peek, Co Chair.

Roll call: Present: Jeff Isenhour, Katie Lemmons, Laurie McCollum, Jocelyn Herrera, Tammy Covil, Jeannie Metcalf (via phone), Andre Peak, John Scheik, Ann Clark

Olivia Oxendine, Denise Watts, Bill Cobey absent

Review of agenda for the day.

Approval of last months minutes: Will be posted to website, Motion to approve made by John Scheik, 2nd by Laurie McCullum, passed.

Old business: Executive Assistant, Jocelyn Herrera, shares that the commissioners should have a hard copy of updated timeline. The ELA and Math surveys continue to be live, re-launched online. She is assisting the commissioners as requested, and researching their questions. The commissioners have their wish list as far as future guest presenters between today and until September. Will be scheduling regional meetings across the state. Dr Stewart, with educator effectiveness, will be getting organized and look at schedule preferences to touch base with teachers before they go back to school.

Andre: Wants feedback from all interested stakeholders, to give them an opportunity to share their thoughts since they cannot attend the meetings in Raleigh. Commissioners are sensitive to the timeline, and will concentrate the first meetings to be in outlying areas of the state, and share their feedback on preliminary recommendations. The commissioners have been getting digital input from across the state, all along.

Tammy: Reiterated that everyone has the opportunity to contribute and share information without having to travel long distances.

Andre: Jo is getting forums established.

Jeff: Asks, is it possible to get a report from task force that Olivia is on, on testing, something that would fit into this forum? (NC is reviewing their assessment methods)

Tammy: there is going to be a test pilot on some testing

Andre: Will ask for this information from testing and accountability task force, which Olivia serves on. Want to get feedback recommendations by the 17th of August.

Input on survey responses, has been summarized by Jo, the commission wanted to see some of the specific responses from ELA and Math surveys, they have hard copies of the 3 surveys. (Jeff requested that) (The surveys, summaries and data from DPI surveys that were sent out have not been shared on the ASRC website, nor the summary that Jo put together)

Comments from commissioners on what early concerns were included the sequencing order in math, and teaching integrated math versus the traditional sequencing prior to common core.

Andre: Data from High School math indicated 69% of those surveyed, expressed their preference for the traditional math sequence, data indicates the reason is because of lack of preparation and professional training for the integrated Math. Nothing talked about the merits of the integrated versus traditional sequencing, but everything to do with execution. (Andre seemed to be trying to say that the problem was the implementation, like he did last month, and stated that lack of teacher prep, rather than the math standards themselves is the issue)

Jeannie: Said there were concerns about the sequencing and when and how things were taught, how much time was allowed, quite a bit, about right, or not enough time on each part of the math. She had been told that there was not time to cover topics well. Too much to cover in too little time.

Andre: Curious to see what Ted’s group did. Ted said they are just getting started with High School, but they are not in favor of the integrated math because topics are omitted, topics are not complete, there is no geometry proofs, logic, indirect proofs are all omitted. Teachers were sensitive to idea that you jump from topic to topic and most of the teachers didn’t like that. James Milgram said that teaching method can only work if you have highly experienced teachers that know how to teach integrated math that way. Ted shared that some of the teachers in his group try to mix things up as they teach now, to integrate concepts in traditional algebra 1 and 2, but do it in a logical sequential order.

Jeff: Stated that training and preparation of teachers, implementation are important, you can’t just get dropped in. Components are discombobulated, it is not integrated in the way it should flow. Not sure that they did a good job in the integration of the math. In his first meetings with teachers they indicated that the “High School math portion has been the horse that had a saddle on it in the beginning”. (That’s a quote, and I am not sure what he was talking about, very scrambled comments)

Tammy: How has the component of scheduling impacted the math, the block schedule vs traditional schedule, in one case, the student may have a year between math classes. Pacing needs to be user friendly, it is better if paced through the year. Need to consider scheduling and delivery.

Jeff: No materials and textbooks, no curriculum available to them, they wrote their own. We have lots of great teachers who shouldn’t have to do this.

Jeff; wasted some money through this process, (no example given, what money?) this is rub, (on who and why?) 8th grade kids taking High School courses, teachers making sure kids are prepared and trying to fill in gaps, lack of resources is an issue. If we are going to take this out for feedback to qualify data. (again, I wrote what he said, just don’t know for sure what he meant!)

Andre: We have to separate standards from curriculum (again, bringing the implementation to blame versus the standards,) and the sequencing. How does a child get to understand if you can’t build them a path to know what is required.

Laurie, spoke to parent that liked Common Core, she is from Wake County, there was lots of professional development, (and custom “unpacking” documents from DPI) she wishes she could have drilled down into the different school districts implementation plans and results to understand that different schools had different levels of training,

Tammy: referred to the process as building the plane while were flying it. Much of this happened without any preparation or roll out . Responsibility is not just teachers, they used the resources they had.

Jeff: Suggests that NC needs to “Hurry up to slow down”, we try to throw things together, at state, local, Federal levels, and we need to hurry up and slow down so it is done right. From his 15 years as an administrator he recommends: “they need some initiatives to get rid of initiatives.” We trip over our own feet when dealing with these initiatives, we need to implement them in the right way, maybe a moratorium on some testing to allow adequate data and results to see what the children are really learning in the schools.

Andre: Asks, where had the integrated plan has been implemented well, and has done well? His son is at Raleigh Charter, in math 1. (We don’t think Raleigh Charter uses Common Core His Point: notion on flexibility of local control on using either traditional or Integrated Math.

Andre: Asks, What is being done at the state level, are they doing more training?

Jeff: the survey that was put out was not about the standards, but the sequencing and organization of those standards, and only at the High school level. Not the what, the standards, but the organization and implementation of the standards.

Tammy: Had a meeting with Dr. Amanda Lee, a Community College president, for the purpose of getting data in terms of the remedial courses required for the Community college kids. She said 80% of first year students need remedial courses, so obviously, we not addressing skills in High School. How can we identify and deal with those issues? In the 80% figure , there are some students that are there for retraining, and been out of school for a long period of time, not just straight from HS. May be career change, or after military service. Leads to the question on High School; Where are the standards gaps, teaching gaps, resources, everything is part of the puzzle for consideration.

Laurie: The schools have choice between Block vs traditional calendar scheduling. She had a meeting and was told she should be able to get from DPI comparative data on end of grade data from year long courses versus the block schedule.

Jeff: On math, if you look at traditional vs block schedule on how much time there is, Common Core, exposure, kids need more time to grasp concepts and retain them, so his opinion is that traditional year

long course is better. (I still had a hard time understanding his fragmented, incomplete sentences and thoughts, hard to believe he is in administration! His communication skills are poor)

Ted: Development of foundational Skills is better than concepts, skills needed where you can measure how fast and accurately something can be done, foundational skills that need to be retained for future learning.

Tammy: superficial knowledge versus a deeper grasp of the skills. She asks Jeff, “as an administrator, how would that impact his day in terms of moving back to traditional schedule?”

Jeff: Answers that with a 3 or 4 block schedule, looked at skinnys where you run 8 45 min periods, you reduce the amount of time in class a day, but over the year time in class is the same, with a 7 period day, middle block is lunch, a 90 min block, a year long class. (I don’t see how this answers the question.)

Tammy: Asks if requiring a year long math 1 math course, could be done,

Jeannie: Mentions A and B day, it is a year long course that you take on an A day or B day. Continuity is better in her opinion.

Andre; The importance of instruction time, how it is organized….. is impacted by the school calendar, need to be sure they consider this as they make their recommendations.

Ted: Wants to look at DPI survey that Robin told them about, go and look at general comment sections and get feeling from teachers likes and dislikes. (this was supposed to be on the ASRC website months ago)

Committee Reports:

Laurie: ELA: The team used a matrix on comparing different state standards. Said they are done comparing states standards. They have collected 1088 open ended responses from the online survey that can be put on the website for the public. A rough draft of the committee findings is done, it is in editing stage, they are working with Jo to extrapolate data from DPI. They relaunched the ELA survey, said she is excited because the new responses are in line with the old responses. They have 500 new responses even though it is summer.

Ted: Math team report: Read the requirements of commission from Senate bill 812, and reviewed the topics of concern and DPI statements from teachers. They made a questionnaire, used by 6 people from his team, to see which grades, k – 8 that had the most problems, then used the same questionnaire to pick out standards with the most problems, they also used the DPI survey results. They will do the High School analysis separately, using the same process.

Andre: Questioned, were the picked standards prioritized around a subset of problems, or what experts said the problem is… based on my expertise, or results from the DPI survey, for the negative commentary. Was the standard the problem, or the implementation? (AGAIN, the implementation question!)

Ted: Answers, from the DPI survey, the standards that were identified were not all the same ones that were identified by their team. They had a list of 7 items of what could be wrong with a particular standard. On each one of the identified standards, the work group gave a score, they had one standard that hit all 7 categories. Working on High School now, the number of DPI survey complaints was enormous. They are now writing up a report . Elementary didn’t have as much fire from teachers as the High School did. Ted stated that one of the problems his team encountered was that the teachers didn’t know how to identify a specific standard they wanted to comment on, so they gave him information that made it impossible for him to identify what standard they were referring to. They didn’t know how to verbalize a standard. Hopes to be done with his team’s first draft within next few weeks.

Ted asks: Are these reports going to be public, says they will draw a lot of flack, from those that don’t like the report.

Ann: Wants to clarify who is on Math committee. (odd question so far into the process of teams, and she isn’t on either one of them)

Ted: Answers: himself, ( I am not positive I have the names right, they were not in writing and given very quickly, but are listed as I heard them) Jo Seems, retired professor from UNC, Robin ? Kathy Young, Jan Stewart, Judy Quick. Jeff and Jeannie, didn’t work with him on the math . He mentioned that his team has a lot of experience, the 4 teachers on the team have between 20 and 30 years experience, each.

Andre: Shares that drafts and recommendations will be made for the commission to come to consensus, and the entire commission will present to the state board and general assembly. Drafts should be done by end of the month, each committee will do a read out of preliminary reports in August.

Jeff, wants reports available at least a week before the meeting.

Presentations from outside speakers:

Andre: Wants to hear from other stakeholders within the community. Looking for input on what does it take to move forward, not re litigate the past. We want to understand what you see in the marketplace, inform us on some of the things we should be sure the students have the bright futures in the state and careers.

Mr. Kip Blackley from the Chamber of Commerce:

Thanks the commission for opportunity to speak. He is Vice President of Industry and Government Relations for HAECO America’s, it used to be Timco, based in Greensboro . They went through acquisition a year ago. (Interesting side note, Haeco, is a Hong Kong company) His company does maintenance, repair and overhaul on aircraft. In NC they employ 1800 people, over 3200 throughout the US. Coming out of the recession, the aviation industry was hot and came out early, the bad part was as they tried to get more contracts, they had a problem finding qualified employees, area workers were lost to out -of -state moves or to other industry or jobs. New hires typically come from 3 sources, the airlines, that no longer do maintenance, the military, currently over 50% of their employees are ex

military, and the community college, GTCC. Kip stated that when the graduates from the community college were hired, with a certificate that said they were ready to work on a plane, they were not prepared to work. Said it was their fault, because they had stepped away from the education process, when they began to dig into it, they as an aviation community, went to community college an express problems with skills and abilities of graduates. What they learned was that trying to fix the GTCC system was the problem wasn’t there, the problem was the kids out of high school didn’t have the skills. So they went to the High School and quickly found out that problem was more in the middle school. They needed to make sure the right fundamental skills were taught in middle school to be ready for high school, community college and jobs. His company worked through a process, a great process now, leading to a good employee pipeline. If the aviation council could get to know students sooner, create career pathways, beginning in 10th grade they go into the school looking to recruit students who expressed interest in their industry. In 11th grade, they can participate in job shadowing and in 12th grade they offer paid internships. (paid for through workforce Development Board, and grants) In 12th grade, students are co-enrolled in GTCC, working on A and P license, they can finish High School and have diploma and certificate that they are work ready and halfway done with A and P license. When they finish at GTCC, they get hired by HAECO, within months the new hires are ready to be productive. Advantage to the students is they have zero educational dept, and by time they are 25, will make over $50,000. Says we need more of that. (looks to me like a slick way to get the taxpayer to fund Haeco workforce training!)

He said they look at 7 career clusters to recruit from the High School including STEM, advanced manufacturing, logistics, aviation. This gives work life experience for the students and getting business involved in the education of the students. Mentioned that STEM and early college also contribute to their workforce training programs.


Schiek: Asks Kip to characterize interaction with students as an apprentice.

Kip: Structured and run, following rules by FAA, job shadowing etc for 12th grade, there is a dangerous work environment, there were legal council concerns due to the danger, so the students are paid and insured through workforce development, paid $10 per hour from grants that promote aviation.

Ann: How can schools know if kids are college and career ready? From a chamber prospective:

Kip: Says he is a member of the chamber, but is speaking today for Haeko, not for the chamber, on behalf of his business, their key interest is assurance that the students are ready for college or career. In his opinion, to be career ready without any work experience, the students don’t have the talent to step into a working role, which is why they create the job clusters with business engaged in 11 and 12 grade, to allow the skill, talent and ability to enter the workforce be learned.

Laurie: Asks Kip; What were specific problems with prior employees, was it life skills, or cognitive skills?

Kip: Answers: both, getting them to show up on time, every day, with your badge on, doing your job. On the floor, cognitive skills lacking. With machinists, a GEA (?) is required, geometry is mandatory for machinists. Community College didn’t teach geometry, found out that the kids didn’t have basic geometry to understand the college level geometry.

Tammy: Asks who Haeko’s competitors are:

Kip: Answers; AAR out of Chicago, ST arrow out of Singapore. Heicho group is based in Hong Kong,

Tammy: States that in career tech high school, business interests get too involved in basic education, and her issue is not just that they are trying to help produce their employees, but they have a monopoly and the competitors don’t have that. Typically, training is offered by college system or employer, in this case, the kids are getting job training for Haeco. They are the only game in town, they don’t have any direct competitors for the students to funnel into other jobs or industry.

Tammy: Continues to comment: students being workforce ready, career ready, is a misnomer in K-12 education, schools job is to give students the basic skill set to go into workforce. When Business and the Chamber are allowed access and influence at school, it squeezes out competition and pushes kids toward certain goals that are in the business industry best interests, and not the kids. They don’t know what all is available for them. She read an interview where Timco coordinated with a school to the level of a debrief to be sure that the skills taught are aligned with Timco needs, not a broad based skill set that can be transferred between industries.

Jeff: Comments that he likes the model, and stated that the Federal government is looking to reduce the mandatory age in the trucking industry for truck drivers. There is a large trucking company in his area that employees 700 people. There is a need for drivers, so the community technical education leader e mailed the Vice President of this trucking company to partner with schools to get kids interested in truck driving. When referring to College and career, it is not necessarily happening right after High School, can be after internship or work. If kids don’t have “skills” you need, what are the top 3 skills that the kids are missing, math? Communications, writing?

KiP: depends on a particular job, some are not good at math, do not have good communication skills, they lack the ability to write down what has been done, in aviation, everything has to be recorded and stays with the plane for the life of the aircraft.

Katie: States: being an English teacher, when looking at reading and writing, we look at skills. Did you find missing literacy skills from High School, looking for data.

Kip: answers; more anecdotal on previous statements, no specifics. Employees are required to have a general familiarization of aircraft, and 40 hours of continued education on each aircraft.

Ted: Questions , how can Common Core standards, be improved so that the kids coming out of HS are closer to work ready,

Kip: Answers ; Consistency in all the schools, someone coming from Randolph County Schools would have the same skill set as the person coming from the Rocky Mount. (In other words, one size fits all)

Jeff: Questions; do they all need all the higher level math, geometry and algebra, even if they want to go a different direction to tailor what they need to benefit himself? (themselves)

Kip: Answers; Personalization is important to the career they would choose.

Andre: States that he relates to the overall program benefit to community, the local employer active in the education arena, he works with NC business community too, and tries to get students engaged in business to know what workforce looks like, expanding training opportunities to teachers so they can help students better, but we don’t want to make the schools into a particular workforce training center for a specific company or industry.

Kip: States; The kids are not locked into a contract with Heico during school, they can move freely. If they are in their program during college, they will get some tuition assistance for college, with the understanding that the reimbursement to the company is equal time of work to the years of college tuition given.

Dr.Hope Williams, Independent colleges and universities President (Bio printed out,)

NCICU consists of 36 private and nonprofit colleges and universities across the state, from the late 1700s to the 1960 to provide teachers for the state.

25% of teachers across the state come from this group of colleges and universities.

She will respond to questions that were sent to her, one is: Has the number of applicants to programs changed? The enrollments are declining, reasons include, questions on salary, working conditions, requirements of teacher licensure, teacher education program, other ways of becoming a teacher. The overview from undergraduate teacher education programs suggests that small size and diverse student bodies enable student and faculty to work well together. Still, students coming to college need more critical writing and thinking skills, content skills, which are elements embedded in lessons in the field and throughout the teacher portfolio.

Content alignment, using universal best practices, is a concern because no matter what standards are used, students are prepared to teach. They are encouraged to read deeply, think critically, understand that there can be several correct answers to one question, for instance, looking at scores for Asian students, what we find in NC is that they are surprised when they are asked what they think, they are used to having the answer given to them, not asked “How would you do that?” In American higher education, they are expected to think, ask, evaluate. Now more Asian countries are doing this as well.

Regardless of standards, teacher educators ask for statewide consistency, data shows that small rural communities have students that are not as well prepared for college when standards are not the same across the state, we want rigorous standards.

The Education of teachers focus is on the NC Standard Course of Study , (currently Common Core.) The teachers face upheaval every time the standards are changed.


Ann: In terms of student success in attending an independent college, the public system provides a school district report on remediation, for entering freshmen, do the independents have that data report?

Hope: Answer; No they have feedback from admissions counselors, not a statistical report. One challenge is we all know that the GPA is a better indicator of how well the student will do in college, (but if your classes were not as challenging in your school, your GPA is higher, but your skills may not be.)

Andre: Looking at the graduates across the system, where will they be placed? Their college curriculum is based on Common Core, and NC standard course of study, it would be interesting if graduates get placed in NC or other states. (Do they get hired in NC or other states?)

Hope: Answer; It vary’s by institution, they do have some out of state students, they do have high success placing their graduates in our state if that is where they want to be. Some of the Urban areas pay better so incentive is different.

Laurie: follow up on a comment, we need to remind ourselves that standards are words on paper until implemented, are there patterns to the disparities in low economic districts, that don’t have all the resources as larger districts.

Hope: Can’t speak on that now, but in the past, what data has been available, the international and AP honors classes students seem to do better when they have a wider variety of courses available. The virtual High School can fill some of those course voids. Can’t take a class that is not offered everywhere. (Didn’t address the question at all!)

Jeanie: Common Core was thrust upon state, not unpacked in a way that succeeded as well as they hoped, how have schools of education dealt with math teachers when they were implemented?

Hope: I didn’t hear any complaints: all of her faculty have been trained so they feel comfortable with teaching it.

Andre: explain the link between testing and accreditation in the K-12, teacher education program, what is taught and how it is accessed, and what you and the student learn, how you feed that back into what is taught. Are students assessed on what they were taught? Can they teach , student teacher.

Hope: Assessment is critical for them and the program. Accreditation more than a test score.

Jeannie: Asks what is the definition of rigor?

Hope: for them, private colleges, in High School would enable students to be successful, and not surprised on the demands and the level of work that is expected at the college level. How prepared the student is based on High School offerings. The ability to have the background needed to be successful,

to be sure they are not behind, to be able to move ahead academically. Realize that some colleges doesn’t have remedial classes. (I don’t see a definition of rigor here! I could make her statement make sense, but that’s not what she said)

Jeff: Question; based on work she has done on standards for the teacher educators, what would her recommendation to this committee be regarding changes to the standards?

Hope: She is hesitant to make changes, because current standards haven’t been in use long enough, she likes things to be the same for more than 5 years , don’t want to make changes so often. Every change causes upheaval in the course work and professional training of the teachers. (Interesting comment because NC has ALWAYS reviewed their standards every 5 years)

Andre: Comments: with multiple bits of feedback, the teachers are struggling with lack of materials, it is hard to formulate lesson plans, lack of professional training.

Jeff: Comments; After several years of teaching Common Core already, why is there so much concern about teachers not being prepared? My question is why is it so hard for the teacher to be able to deliver this approach, since they have gone through the college system with alignment to Common Core. (Only understandable thing he asked all day!)

Hope: Agrees, new teachers, been taught with the Common Core alignment, but this was not one of the questions that was sent to her so she didn’t get her group to give her feedback on it, but she will ask them. She stated that teacher educators have opinions about everything.

Dr, Rebecca Garland, DPI

2 particular pieces of information to share, a question of calendar, and to talk about recent information on NAEP on educational progress.

Calendar: last fall, the accountability division did a study of the school year 13-14 on the impact of the school calendar on student achievement. The school calendars include block, traditional, and year round. High Schools operate on either a semester calendar, often referred to as a block schedule, or a traditional calendar that runs from August to June. Most elementary schools follow a traditional calendar, but there are some year round schools with intermittent breaks. Raw data shows that without exception, in reading and math, in grades 3-8, the year round schools out perform traditional calendars.

In High School, the data shows the traditional calendar outperformed the block calendar.

In the 90’s, they did a similar study and didn’t find as much of a difference. DPI determined last fall that they would disaggregate the data, to look at lower performing schools, look at more than just the data, try to identify differences. This is just a report.

Laurie: How many students in High School, what is failure rate in block schedule?

Rebecca: We have not looked at failure rate. Reasons for schools moving to block schedule may not be as compelling as it used to be, teachers prefer traditional calendars, fewer subjects to master at one time,

Jeff: Question; End of course data, how did students perform on our own assessments? Based on preliminary data, what is the difference in the scores on the calendar?

Rebecca: Raw data shows traditional track did better than block scheduling.

Tammy: looking at page 7 eoc math data for 13-14, you can’t discount that there is a 30 to 40% increase in traditional schedule scores versus. Block and mixed. The difference is significant.

Rebecca: In Math 1, there is more at play, In 8th grade on traditional calendar, the advanced students take math 1 in 8th grade, that is included in the data and effects the results. They want to randomize some study, similar population to see if difference in student population factors into the calendar results. Test scores deviation, is the variation based on calendar, reason is to be pursued. (She was adamant that the commission didn’t just see this report as affirmation that the state should return to a traditional school calendar over a block or mixed schedule.)

Jeanie: Question; In Biology, the end of grade test, is there same significant difference?

Rebecca: The traditional schedule score was higher than the block

Andre: Comments, not debating scores, good news is kids are testing to same standards, information is based on kind of calendar and has a potentially big difference on the outcome.

Rebecca: data seems to suggest that. The traditional calendar has longer to percolate, a longer period of time to grasp concepts. The block calendar has 135 hrs, there are 180 hours in traditional calendar. When there are longer periods of time between classes, the kids can lose some skills in summer etc.

Laurie: In year long classes, block electives, Kids don’t always like a 90 minute class. They lose interest.

NAEP: In 1997, The state board was directed by the general assembly to develop a plan to create a rigorous student academic performance standards, and for these to align whenever possible with the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as “the gold standard”. The report is to inform the public of what the students know and can do in various subjects.

This is a ranking of expectations by the state to see if state is meeting standards. In a recent report put out by John Hood, says that NC now ranks 4th highest in the country, among expectations, almost proficient with NAEP, Mass, Vermont, NY, were scored higher. In 8th grade reading we ranked 3rd with Wis and NY scoring higher, and right below NAEP proficient scale, In 8th grade math NC is slightly above proficient, with NY and TX scoring higher.

DPI’s take from this report was, we have gotten to the point the General Assembly told them to go, with significant change in expectations from then to now. Kids achievement level is basic grade level, with

college and career ready goals, aligned to NAEP gold standard expectations directed by the General Assembly.

She continued her statement that it will take a generation of students to work through new standards. You will not see immediate student mastery with any change in expectations. If you significantly change the standards, You are basically starting over, and it will take a long time for expectations and NAEP to come back together. (Basically, she doesn’t want the commission to change anything I the current standards, feels that they are on track with the General Assembly expectations. What she didn’t say, is the John Hood report on the rankings, refers to NAEP ranking on the STANDARDS and ASSESSMENTS, and NOT the student scores. In other words, how well the assessments align with the standards they are testing. You need to take into consideration that NC is 3 years into Common Core, and many of the other states are behind the curve both in implementation and assessments) (The site to look at this information is: “mapping State Proficiency Standards onto NAEP Scales” This report is from the 2012 13 school year )

This can be up to a 20 year process. As long as standards are as rigorous as we have now, we will continue to improve, and commissions recommendations don’t disrupt the cycle.

Ann: To clarify that this report is on the standards and rigor of the assessments, not the student results. Every state says their assessments are sound, and NAEP goes in to see if the standards are rigorous, go in and rank them according to what they expect. The assessment of the assessment. The new math and reading (COMMON CORE) was implemented in NC was before most states, the assessments that we created to measure our standards were at a level that would be aligned with NAEP. This really has nothing to do with what standards we are using, whatever standard we used, would be submitted for your assessments score and ranking on the NAEP scale. 4th graders take NAEP test, and will show how the students performed. The alignment would lead you to believe that what they know and we say will be able to do will be close to what NAEP expects.

Ann: Follow up question; What is the correlation between NAEP and Common Core?

Rebecca: Answer; NAEP set out expectations that were higher than NC standards at the time was, by going with Common Core, we got closer to what NAEP expects. We are close to top of the nation now, whatever we do, we hope that the end result will be that the rigor will not drop.

Jeannie: Question; Understanding Common Core is standards that are common across the country, it seems that all the NAEP scores should be the same, how is it that NC scores higher if we are all doing the same thing?

Rebecca: Answers; We have already changed our assessments, other states are just getting there, we are 3yrs in, other states are one or two years in. (Begs the question, what will our results look like when all the states have been in 3 years?)

Jeannie: Comment: If everyone changes to equal rigor, they will be closer aligned, not just the standards, it is the assessments of those standards. Her schools’ scores have gone down, she says 50 to 60 % of the scores are down, they didn’t meet the kindergarten standards. She is anxious to see what rigorous standards are, and what the test scores are, and feels the rest of this is a mute point until we have test scores to compare to. We are one of a few states that have done the assessment part. This is not indicative of how wonderful we are, take this report with a grain of salt. It will have merit when we have some student result numbers to put with NAEP expectations on assessments.

Rebecca: Asks Jeannie; Why do you look at that, look at how we have raised student performance since 1995, based on the A-B-C’s of third graders, when we raise standards our performance goes up, that is how you move performance, develop assessments, give students time to learn what is on them. If you look at 3rd grade, every year, we have gone up. we will not do well on these for several years, but over time we will. (A bit defensive are we Dr. Garland?) We have 2 “A” scores in publications saying NC is on the right track. Unless we want to start all over with Rigor, we will fall behind again. (Statement is also contradictory, we do good,except when we make changes?)

Laurie: Comments; During this transition time where things look low, and gradually come up, is there a ceiling? She has never seen teachers so discouraged, and wonders, are they going to stick around for 10 years to bring up the students? Moral is low.

Andre: Analogy to describe different levels of assessment, he has a son with math homework of 10 questions, now, if he is in a lower state, the question is: did you do your homework? Ok, good. This is an example of a less rigorous assessment, a bit higher assessment would be, did you do the work, let me see. A better assessment would be to question if the work was done, to check that it was done, to see that the procedure used was correct and the answers are correct. States doing more rigorous inspections on the standards are being evaluated in comparison to other states.

Rebecca: Gives her own analogy, to raise standards, monitor achievement, think of gymnastics, gradually raise the bar, getting better all the time. (So, why did we change our CUT scores, and go from 4 levels of achievement to 5?)

Now we have achieved this level, we don’t want to drop the bar back down, assessments are based on the current standards (she didn’t ever use the word Common Core, but that is our current state standards.)

Laurie: what do we do with standards that are not accessed? Like writing. The fact that to get students ready for reading assessments, they are not getting the writing that they need, she is concerned about that.

Rebecca: Stated: They don’t access writing, but in peer review, she thinks they should be assessing writing. English 2 has some writing, we know that is a weakness. writing is a conundrum. Speaking listening, classroom, gives your teacher a form of student assessment. (is she saying that the teachers accesses the students ability to write based on their speaking?)

Ann: States that NC is in a recognized starting point for assessments, we are in a leadership position that we want to preserve and not lose by making changes that would lessen our rigor.

Jeff: Comments; All our tests are not good tests, NC final exams are awful.

Rebecca: Answer: Remember we have been doing end of course, end of grade tests since 1995, they have improved over time, statistics show, doing same improvement on the final exams, and if we continue, we will get better. Have to do field testing and item analysis over time. (Funny, Common Core was NOT Field tested anywhere in the NATION!)

Jeannie: Question; Is there a parallel in achievement? If we plotted the increase in the quality of the assessment and also plotted the increase in NAEP achievement, would we see a parallel?

Rebecca: Answer; The poorest performance is typically in middle school, some kids have never had some of the skills with increased rigor. If kids starting in Kindergarten, over time, gaps disappear since it is the same expectation all through school with the expectations of the NAEP.

Jeff: Comment; He doesn’t see how it is fair to hold teachers to level of accountability expected.

Rebecca: States that only growth is used for the teacher accountability. It is possible for all the teachers to grow and the proficiency not grow.

Jeff: States, from a pragmatic standpoint, parents don’t understand growth, what point in time does % of kids passing come in.

Rebecca: States; They could set a score, do a test where all the kids would pass, what would that do? doesn’t help parents to tell them their students are proficient when they aren’t. Expectations are higher now than before.

Tammy: Asks; What if a kid graduates with honors and had taken AP classes and did well, but their assessments had a low bar, the kids get short changed, because they score well on an easy assessment.

Rebecca: Answers: With a sound basic education, a proficient student, will successfully go to the next grade. Level 3 should be able to go to the next grade level and do well.

Rebecca: Reporting student achievement level of proficiency is different now. Since 1999, they always gave students within 1 point standard point of error, a passing score. When they went to A- F grading systems on the schools, the students were held to an accountability standard, a new level 3 was carved out of the old standards of measurement, that previously would have shown up in the standard of error, and still pass. (defends that how student proficiency it is reported is different, not how they process the pass or fail to the next grade.) NC does have exit exams that kids have to pass.

Andre: new business:

August 17th meeting, Denise, Laurie, and Olivia, all have a conflict with August meeting.

No new business

motion to adjourn.


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