Why Local Elections Matter

It is a given that parents care about the education of their children. Currently, North Carolina has an Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC) which is looking at the Common Core standards to see if they are appropriate for North Carolina. The ASRC has heard testimony from people who support Common Core and from people who oppose it. I have attended a number of the ASRC meetings, and have listened to both sides of the story. I have learned that even the teachers who like Common Core talk about the difficulties in implementing it. I have also learned that two of the people involved in the creation of Common Core have refused to sign off on the program because it did not do what it was supposedly intended to do. I have also learned that there is some information gathering included in Common Core that makes the NSA look like amateurs. Common Core is a copyrighted program, making it difficult to alter, that includes millions of dollars in unfunded liabilities because of the software licensing and computers needed to meet the testing requirements of the program. These are just a few of the issues. On September 21, 2013, (according to The Washington Post), Bill Gates stated, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.” Just for the record, The Daily Caller reported in March 2014 that the children of Bill Gates attend a private school that does not use Common Core standards. Common Core for thee, but not for me.

So where am I going with this? I am looking at the way local school boards are not looking out for the students in their districts. On September 19, 2015, The New Bern Sun Journal posted a story about the Craven County Board of Education. The state has recently released the test scores for area schools for last year. Common Core has been in North Carolina since the 2012-2-13 school year, so these scores reflect the success (or failure) of Common Core.

The article mentioned that across North Carolina, 72.2 percent of traditional public schools received grades of C or better. The article also notes that in 2014-2015, the period covered by the grades, there is a 15-point scale used in the grading process. That means that a C is from a 55 to a 69. Meanwhile, the students are on a different grade scale–a scale which would consider those numbers as failing grades. What we have here is a different standard for the school than for the students. How convenient. Note that this shows that more than one fourth of the schools scored below a 55. Wow.

There is a very viable option to Common Core–it is called the North Carolina Education Plan, and is based on a successful program previously used in Greensboro. This is the website.

If you are a parent, there are a number of things you can do to protect your child’s education. You can begin attending Board of Education Meetings and speaking out when those in charge try to tell you that a failing grade is not a failing grade. You can also seek out people to run for the local Board of Education who will look out for your child’s education and not simply go along with what the state bureaucracy tells them. You have a voice in your child’s education. You have the option of speaking out or remaining silent and paying the consequences.