August 2, 2013

The Honorable Dan Forest Office of the Lt. Governor 20401 Mail Service Center Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-0401 Dear Lt. Governor Forest: In your 20-page letter dated July 18, 2013, you requested that I answer 67 questions with multiple subparts. Except for the opinion questions you posed, the answers are found on one or more websites, which I have listed on the pages that follow. However, at your request, we have made hard copies for you to read. I am also providing you with a flash drive, which contains feedback during the development phase of the Common Core. In a few cases, I am unable to answer the questions because it would violate the privacy rights of students, parents, or teachers. The answers are organized by the following topics on the attachments.  Development of Standards  Cost  Technology  Standards and Student Impact  Federal Government’s Role  Data Collection  Contracts and RttT Grants As you review the multiple websites and the materials I have provided, please keep the following in mind: 1. The State Board of Education spent many months deliberating about what students should know and be able to do as a result of attending public schools. They, in good faith and with extensive input, adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010. 2. Standards, by themselves, are just one part of the journey to ensure that students are career, college, and citizenship ready. 3. The 2012-13 school year was the required year of implementation of the new standards in all 115 school districts although many districts transitioned to the new standards over the past couple of years. Regardless of the standards a state uses, whether they are those in place during 1995, 2000, or 2005, schools have the same type of fixed costs - - teacher support, instructional support materials, and assessment alignment.
June St. Clair Atkinson, Ed.D., State Superintendent | 6301 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-6301 | (919) 807-3430 | Fax (919) 807-3445

Lt. Governor’s Response August 2, 2013 Page 2

4. Admission to most colleges and universities requires students to take the ACT or SAT. The ACT and SAT tests are aligned to the Common Core (see their websites). You may want to review 5. An essential provision of the first bill Governor McCrory signed into law requires the use of Common Core for students to receive career, college, or both endorsements on their diplomas. 6. The State Board of Education has statutory authority over the state’s standards, not a federal or national entity. The General Assembly may also address standards to be taught in schools as evidenced by three recent bills passed by the General Assembly that set specific details to the Standard Course of Study. 7. The conversation about adding 15 percent is irrelevant now. As I explained to one of your staff members, the 15 percent clause was included at the beginning to ensure that a state did not indicate it had adopted the Common Core, and yet make extensive changes. North Carolina teachers have the flexibility to add more content, and the State Board of Education’s adoption of mathematics went beyond the standards in the Common Core, for example, with the inclusion of a high school math advanced functions and modeling course and other mathematics opportunities for high school students. Thank you for your interest in the history of State Board of Education policy development. Sincerely,

June St. Clair Atkinson JSA:mw Attachments c: SBE Members and Board Advisors

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I. Development of Standards For answers to questions 1-4 and their 32 subparts, please review the following websites. (Also, read materials in the boxes.) 1.  ACRE – Reports 2009, 2010, 2011  2008, 2009, 2010 NC Standard Course of Study  Superintendent’s Advisory Committees (principals, teachers, superintendents – 2008, 2009, 2010)  State Board of Education agendas, meeting materials, and minutes for Globally Competitive Students (GCS). Read ACRE summary – 6/2/10 – See boxes of SBE materials. (Please return the Board materials, which are the Department’s file copies.)  State Board of Education policies – Globally Competitive Students (GCS)  Curriculum Reference Guides North Carolina General Assembly and review Education Oversight Committee summaries for 2008, 2009, 2010. Also review G.S. § 115C-81. – review webinars and business committees – Common Core – See appendix list of research citations – Common Core – Common Core and ACT – Common Core and SAT, AP 115 school district websites – See NC History of Archives for historical items transferred for 2008, 2009, and 2010. Typically, we transfer historical documents after two or three years. (The 2007 data you quoted is not the most recent.) Virginia Department of Education and refer to the Common Core alignment with Virginia standards


3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

11. 12. 13.

II. Cost

For answers to questions 5-10 with 41 subparts: 1. Refer to State Board of Education agendas, minutes, and attachments for meetings occurring in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. Please see my superintendent’s report to the State Board of Education July 2013 for costs associated with implementing new standards. ( Board materials after June 2012 are located on the State Board’s eBoard at

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2. Refer to the General Assembly budgets for 2010, 2011, and 2012. Upon examining those budgets, you will see that no state funds were allotted for the implementation of the new standards. The General Assembly did allow school district waivers to use at least five days for each of two years for standards’ professional development. These days were within the existing teacher contracts; therefore, extra costs were not incurred. You may also find additional information by going to and clicking on RttT. Please review budgets for projections and analyses made in 2010-11. North Carolina’s strategies are not the same as California, Florida or New York. Please go to their websites for a comparison. Your statement about Texas is incorrect. See boxes for districts’ plans. See for local school district plans and their use of federal RttT allotments.






8. 9.

North Carolina also already developed its own tests for mathematics and English/Language Arts with input from teachers and testing authorities. They were administered at the end of the 2012-13 school year. They were not the same tests that New York administered. Please go to and click on accountability. Then go to the test specifications, which include weight distributions for each test, sample items, cognitive rigor and item complexity, types of items, delivery mode, NC test brochures, resources, etc. Review the State Board of Education’s testing policies found on our website, and click on the Globally Competitive Students’ (GCS) section. For Smarter Balanced questions, refer to its website, and as well as the materials sent to you separately.

III. Technology

For questions 11-16 and the 22 subparts, please refer to the following websites: 1.  RttT, state and school district plans  Instructional Technology  Budgets

Lt. Governor’s Response August 2, 2013 Page 5 Instructional Technology  Performance management plan for 2011-14 technology  Impact research funding  Funding  NC Wise Owl  Staff  Archived presentations  Agency roundtables  K-23 Connectivity initiative  Annual Media and Technology Reports and refer to G.S. § 115C-102.6 2. General Assembly – and review G.S. § 115C-102 3. MCNC website – and review the ConnectED initiative and the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program 4. NC Information Technology Services (ITS) and refer to the ITS plans, including DPI’s plan 

IV. Standards and Student Impact

For questions 17-31 with 31 subparts, please review these websites: 1.  RttT professional development  Accountability  Teacher Effectiveness  Educator Evaluation System  Exceptional Children  State Board Policies  ESEA Waivers 2. Education Week rankings of states - refer to 3. National Assessment of Educational Progress – Nations Report Card – and, and do related searches about  tests  sample questions  NAEP results – 2009, 2012, 2013  state rankings 4. and the RttT materials you received at the July 2013 State Board meeting. Also review the State Board minutes for the 12 months of 2011.

Lt. Governor’s Response August 2, 2013 Page 6 5. See State Superintendent’s blog and presentations about personalized learning and 20th century artifacts that should be discarded. 6. Please refer to the Department of Education’s websites in Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Alabama.

In your letter, you stated that parents have encountered problems. Unless you give me the details or the emails, I do not have enough information to respond.

V. Federal Government’s Role

A. For answers to questions 32-38 with 10 subparts, please refer to: 1. (These materials were given to you in hard copy at the July 2013 meeting.)  RttT plan and reports  State Board of Education agendas, minutes, materials at least 30 monthly reports 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013  ESEA waivers 2. NC General Assembly, for requirements related to standards development  G.S. § 115C, Article 8B 10A  G.S. § 115C-81  G.S. § 115C-361  G.S. § 115C-174  G.S. § 115C-153 B. In this section, you asked opinion questions pertaining to the federal government’s role in education. For answers, please contact the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Arne Duncan. Also refer to U.S. Department of Education’s website for answers about flexibility, waivers, etc.

VI. Data Collection

Answers to questions 39-62 and the approximate 22 subparts follow. 1. The Department of Public Instruction and Guilford County Schools are no longer participating in inBloom. See materials in the boxes for additional information.

Lt. Governor’s Response August 2, 2013 Page 7 2. The situation in Guilford County that you cited was a human error, not a technology breach. 3. See U.S. Department of Education website and the Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) for the data elements to report summary data. A hard copy of our report is included in your materials. 4. Go to website for reports about public education, including North Carolina (Digest of Education Statistics). 5. Go to our website, management and review data, research, and federal policy for information about data collection. Go to our website and Google “FERPA” and ”parents” for the information provided online for parents, clarification and policies about personal identifiable information protection and procedures for obtaining parental consent. Parental information on website includes:  Toolkit for parents  Students with disabilities rights  Parent resources and people to contact  Podcasts  Laws and Policies 6. See your materials for a copy of the longitudinal data system plan, which is required by General Assembly state statutes. Refer to the CEDARS section of our website for the data points. 7. Please direct your questions to Dr. David Coleman, President of the College Board, for the questions regarding his presentation at Harvard. For many years, the College Board has collected data from students when they register and take SATs. Go to the College Board website to find your answers. 8. Refer to the NC General Assembly’s state statutes regarding SAT requirements and data collection. 9. You will need to refer your questions to the U.S. Department of Education about your perception of contradictory language dealing with privacy issues. 10. Each technology system purchased, adopted, and developed requires a review and approval of ITS, the Attorney General’s Office, and Purchase and Contract to ensure appropriate protocols are being followed.

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VII. Contracts and RttT

A. Answers to questions 64-67 (no subparts) are found on our website,  ARRA/allotments, expenditures by category and objectives  Review public notices section about contracts for non-profits and for-profits.  Refer to the RttT hard copy materials that were distributed at the July 2013 State Board of Education meeting. Another source is to review the contracts included in the materials for every State Board meeting. See your boxes of materials.  Go to website of the NC Department of Administration, Division of Purchase and Contract,, for listing of vendors. According to state law, state agencies cannot process contracts unless they are registered in E-Procurement. Look for agency-specific contracts.

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