Common Core Answers Consume 40,000 Pages

Published September 17, 2013

North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction sent Lt. Gov Dan Forest 40,000 sheets of paper in response to 67 questions he asked about Common Core national education standards.

That’s not all. DPI also sent “links to hundreds of websites and thousands of individual pages, a cover letter with no answers, 320 separate reports, hundreds of original documents, one blog post, and a thumb drive. But no answers,” said Kami Mueller, Forest’s spokeswoman.

Common Core is a series of grade-by-grade learning goals 45 states have adopted. North Carolina adopted it in 2010. Upon hearing constituents’ concerns, in July Forest asked DPI to detail the costs, teacher preparation, technology requirements, and other implementation procedures for Common Core. He received an average of 597 pages of information per question.

“Lt. Governor Forest sent me 20 pages of questions to answer, and among them were questions about the Common Core,” said state Superintendent June Atkinson. “I answered them in a thorough manner and shared with him supporting documents.”

Opposition to Common Core has flared across the country since this spring when it began to roll out in schools. The education standards will change testing, teacher training, curriculum, and technology requirements.

Reasonable, or Make-Work?
Forest said DPI’s response exemplifies “government bureaucracy at its best.”

“Most of the questions required very short, very straightforward answers,” observed Dr. Terry Stoops, director of education studies at the John Locke Foundation. “Forest never declared his opposition to Common Core. He simply wanted a number of relevant questions answered before he made a decision. It was a reasonable request.”

Civitas Institute policy analyst Bob Luebke says the DPI’s response was “disrespectful and dismissive. Legislators and school board members should be made aware of how DPI responded, or didn’t respond, to legitimate questions from the lieutenant governor and a sitting member of the state Board of Education.”

Forest mailed a copy of DPI’s reply to every General Assembly member, all 115 school superintendents, all elected county commissioners, and school board members statewide.

In response, the New Hanover school board unanimously passed a resolution asking the state Board of Education and the General Assembly to clarify Common Core. Luekbe said other counties will likely follow their example.


Learn more:
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s letter to the state Department of Instruction regarding Common Core: