ROCKINGHAM — Common Core’s days are numbered in North Carolina’s public schools after a compromise bill to replace the curriculum standards passed in the state House over two local lawmakers’ objections on Wednesday.
House Republicans advanced Senate Bill 812 on a 71-34 party-line vote, with just three of the chamber’s Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with the GOP majority. Reps. Ken Goodman, D-Richmond, and Garland E. Pierce, D-Hoke, voted against the bill to develop North Carolina curriculum standards that will take Common Core’s place.
Gov. Pat McCrory has vowed to sign the bill into law, clearing the way for state education officials to begin drafting a new set of guidelines for local school systems.
“I will sign this bill because it does not change any of North Carolina’s education standards,” McCrory said in a Wednesday afternoon statement. “It does initiate a much-needed, comprehensive and thorough review of standards. No standards will change without the approval of the State Board of Education.”
Though the compromise allows North Carolina to retain parts of the Common Core standards, Goodman said the 11-member commission tasked with drafting the policy will be stacked with Republican appointees who are likely to be aligned with Common Core’s staunchest conservative critics.
“Eight out of the 11 members are probably going to be anti-Common Core,” Goodman told the Daily Journal earlier this week. “I don’t see how Common Core as we know it can survive.”
Goodman and Pierce said two years of Common Core implementation didn’t provide enough time to meaningfully assess its impact and that a five-year trial period would produce more robust data.
“Two years is too soon to make an assessment that is valid,” Goodman said. “We’ve got the money invested. My view is to continue and see where it takes us.”
Three House Democrats — Reps. Bill Brisson, Joe Sam Queen and Ken Waddell — voted with Republicans to pass S.B. 812. Six Democrats and seven Republicans had excused absences from the chamber when the floor vote was held.
The bill was introduced as a middle-of-the-road measure after the House and Senate each passed bills to repeal Common Core. That legislation would have prevented North Carolina from retaining any vestige of the national curriculum standards.
Sen. Gene McLaurin of Richmond County was the sole Democrat to vote for the compromise bill in the Senate, where it advanced on a 33-12 vote.
McLaurin said the compromise would allow North Carolina to leave unchanged the parts of Common Core that are working while giving educators the freedom to replace problematic provisions. Rancor over the Common Core math standards has led to national backlash, with lawmakers in South Carolina and Oklahoma voting to jump ship on the guidelines entirely.
“I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” McLaurin said last week. “I just thought it was the prudent thing to do.”
Common Core will remain in place until the Academic Standards Review Commission completes the new scholastic guidelines. The bill sets a deadline of Dec. 31, 2015 for the commission to present its state standards to the General Assembly.
Reach Editor Corey Friedman at 910-817-2670 and follow him on Twitter @RCDailyJournal.