North Carolina Panelists Break Ranks with Standards Commission

Published February 9, 2016

After a year of study, the North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC), a government commission tasked with reviewing state education standards, recommended continuing the state’s use of Common Core.

As part of the recommendation, members of the math panel for ASRC criticized John Scheick, a former university math professor and the leader of the math panel, for his criticism of the state’s use of the Common Core math curriculum.

Reviewing the Reviewers

The commission’s co-chairwoman, Tammy Covil, agreed with Scheick and publicly dissented with the commission’s final decision to retain the Common Core standards.

Covil says ASRC ignored its duties by voting to stick with Common Core.

“I felt that some of those commissioners were not following their roles and responsibilities as appointed members of the commission, in failing to make appropriate recommendations,” Covil said. “I had to distance myself from the majority, who decided to politicize the commission’s work and abdicate their responsibilities back to the Department of Public Instruction and the [North Carolina State] Board of Education.”

Support from Teachers

Covil says North Carolina teachers support Scheick’s recommendations to end the state’s Common Core program.

“The teachers I spoke to in the field, the ones who came to me and spoke to me about the results and findings that the math workgroup produced, were wholeheartedly supportive of it,” Covil said.

Covil says North Carolina lawmakers are ignoring the effects of Common Core on education.

“They’ve done some great things, but I feel that our state leadership still doesn’t understand what Common Core is, what it is designed for, and what it is designed to do,” Covil said. 

Unequal Scrutiny

Terry Stoops, director of education studies at the John Locke Foundation, says the Academic Standards Review Commission was not looking for problems in the right places.

“Those leading the questioning did not feel the need to scrutinize the work of the English Language Arts group as they did of the math group,” Stoops said. “The fact that they zeroed in on the math standards and conducted what many considered to be an inquisition of Dr. Scheick suggests that there was a premeditated effort to ensure that there was not a recommendation that would allow North Carolina move to a different state’s standards or some other external standards.”

‘Disappointing Outcome’

Stoops says the commission wasted a great opportunity to make positive changes to the state’s education standards.

“I thought it was a disappointing outcome to a process and discussion that showed a lot of promise,” Stoops said. “The commission had been tasked to take North Carolina in a different direction, and the commission seemed to be moving away from Common Core, or at least having very serious discussions about making a substantive change to North Carolina’s standards. In the end, that did not happen.”

Andrea Dillon ([email protected]) writes from Holly Springs, North Carolina.

Internet Info:

John T. Scheick, et al., “Minority Report: Math Work Group,” North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission: