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FEBRUARY 20, 2014! NCGA LRC STUDY COMMITTEE ON COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS! LT. GOVERNOR DAN FORESTS TESTIMONY! Good morning members of the General Assembly and guests." I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you about my thoughts on the Common Core State Standards.! As many of you know, over the past year I have raised many concerns and asked numerous questions about the details of Common Core - some from exhaustive research by my staff and many directly from constituents." Interestingly, very few of those questions have been answered directly. I have discovered though that this is not a republican or democrat issue, it crosses all political and ideological lines.! I have stated many times that I am not against standards, quite on the contrary. Weve had standards in North Carolina for years and I believe we should always strive for the highest standards for our students to equip them for the challenges of the global economy. ! Just over a year ago I placed my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution of North Carolina and The United States. I take that oath seriously as I know each of you do. Our state constitution is clear about providing a sound basic education to our children, and I know that each of you will agree with me that we want to go far beyond that and provide the best, most rigorous and competitive education in the world. Why would we stop anywhere short of that? Why have we not already attained that goal? After decades of standards that have all been penned as rigorous, career and college ready, how is it that Common Core the new silver bullet of educational excellence in America? !

The United States Constitution on the other hand is silent on education. The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Since education is not mentioned in the US Constitution, it is clearly one of those powers reserved for the states. Thus, states have plenary, or absolute, power in the area of education. I believe the beauty of federalism is that we have 50 states that we can call 50 innovation laboratories that will always nd more creative solutions to the education challenges facing their states than any bureaucracy in Washington DC.!

Why would we in North Carolina, or any other state for that matter, abdicate our responsibility to the federal government or to any unaccountable national trade association for the education of our students? Why would we endorse moving the power of educational decision making away from parents and local communities, and place it in the hands of Washington DC bureaucrats? How many of you know a single writer of the common core standards? How many of you know how the Common Core Standards were funded and by whom? Here in lies the problem. Not that common core is evil, not that common core has some hidden agenda to nationalize education; the real problem is that nobody is accountable for these copyrighted standards that we dont have the right to take and change to the needs of our children. Who do you call when something doesnt work? Who do you call when there is a real problem with developmental inappropriateness? Nobody is accountable.!

You have heard Dr. Atkinson and others say the Copyright on Common Core does not matter. Then I say why have the copyright at all. If these standards are not covered by copyright, then let the states exercise their decision making authority and alter the standards as they see t. Let us take what is good and keep it. Let us take what is bad and eliminate it. Let us take what needs improvement and x it. - this is called federalism, entrepreneurialism, competition and it is what has made America great. A one-size-ts-all

approach to educational standards is just plain un-American and just plain wont work in our diverse country.!

Bill Gates did not achieve success and help transform the world of technology because he was common. No, he was exceptional. As Malcolm Gladwell says, He was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of his exceptional gifts and his inquisitive nature. If he was forced into an education system of common standards, he might just have been ordinary, not extraordinary. Apples Steve Jobs, Dell Computers Michael Dell, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg, they didnt achieve their success as entrepreneurs and leaders because they were common, and certainly not because they followed a one size ts all educational program. They were all outliers, they were all innovators. This is what we must strive for in America, to celebrate our unique gifts, to push students to extraordinary excellence in whatever career they may choose. To allow those who can advance rapidly, to advance rapidly through their education. To prepare innovators and entrepreneurs to think, invent, design and create in order to meet the needs of the rapid pace of our global economy.!

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For the rst time in the history of our great nation, we have the ability to customize curriculum to the needs of each and every student in America. We are working on the infrastructure to make this a reality right here in our state. An infrastructure that can change the face of education for the rst time in history. An infrastructure that celebrates the uniqueness of each and every child, not one that tries to make each child common. There is no such thing as a one-size-ts-all approach to education. There is no such thing as a one-size-ts-all set of standards in America or around the world.! And when it comes to STEM, we are all anxious to prepare as many students as possible for the growing demands of STEM education in our Universities and workplaces. It has been brought to my attention on multiple occasions that the new math sequence of Common Core does not prepare our students for these demands. In the words of one of the common core validation committee members who did not sign on to Common Core,! Instead of being able to complete Algebra in grade 8, students will not be able to complete it until the 9th or even the beginning of the 10th grade. Common Core does not prepare students for a STEM career. There are not enough standards for students to accomplish Pre-Calculus, there is no way to get to elite Alegra 2 or Calculus 1 which would be the baseline for a STEM career. If we continue down this path the STEM Pipeline will shrink up. It is deliberately not preparing our students for STEM, and we dont know why? These standards cant be rigorous if they dont prepare our students for STEM. Sandra Stotsky! We can do better than Common Core. Lets do what is best for our students in North Carolina. Lets create North Carolina Standards that are the best and most rigorous in America; designed by our educators, our experts and our teachers, specically for our students.. Lets encourage other states to do the same. Lets learn from each other and adopt what is good and get rid of what is bad. This is the American way. ! If today we were debating whether or not to accept Massachusetts Standards, you would not hear any argument from me. They have been tried, tested and proven successful. We would know the costs. We would know the challenges we face. We would know how to train our teachers. We would have assessments already written, tested, rewritten and proven to get results. But we cant say the same for the common core.! The Common Core has had very little eld testing and no renement from what has been learned through eld testing. It has been rolled out in North Carolina across all grade levels, across all counties and across all schools to all students at one time without even knowing if these standards truly are more rigorous or whether they truly do prepare our students for jobs or college. ! You have all heard the term Internationally Benchmarked. - It never happened with Common Core. An international benchmark does not exist. Of course we benchmark our assessments with TIMSS and other international tools, we always have, but not the standards themselves.!

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You have all heard the term college ready standards. Perhaps if you are referring to a 2 year technical degree, but not for the requirements of our demanding Four Year North Carolina Universities or for elds of STEM education.! You have all heard the term rigorous standards. More rigorous? Perhaps, but how will we ever know? We have no baseline test to evaluate our students performance. A simple normed test (whether it be an Iowa, Stanford, or TerraNova) would solve that problem and give us real feedback for evaluation. ! And rigor, when it is continually pushed down to lower grades, will eventually become developmentally inappropriate. When these standards were released, over 500 Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals from around the country signed on to a letter that addressed the inappropriateness of these standards. More specically the standards conicted with compelling new research in cognitive science, neuroscience, child development, and early childhood education and this research did not support what Common Core was promising about how young children learn.! And a note about our teachers. We are demanding more from our teachers than ever before. With new standards, high stakes testing and performance measures, our teachers are being pushed to the limit. During one of the greatest recessions we have ever experienced, money is tight. At the same time we are trying to nd ways to increase teacher pay, the cost estimates for Common Core Implementation are $350 million on the low end. Imagine how far that money would go to supplement teacher pay.! I believe we need North Carolina Designed Standards. Designed by North Carolina educators and professionals for North Carolina students. Education is our responsibility. It belongs to our legislature, our school boards, our county commissions, our principals and our teachers, and especially to our parents. Lets not give that responsibility away. ! When we last designed standards in North Carolina, the General Assembly provided a review board called the Standards and Accountability Commission." This commission was an independently appointed board of North Carolinians that reviewed the standards of public education, along with associated assessments every two years." ! I would like to request that the General Assembly reconvene the Standards and Accountability Commission for the purpose of reviewing each standard in Common Core, to see if the standards meet North Carolina expectations North Carolina Goals North Carolina needs. Keep the ones that work throw out the ones that dont and re-establish North Carolina Control over education for our families and children.! In the end it will not be standards that change our education system, but a wholesale, fundamental shift in the way we educate. Mastery Based learning, removing excessive testing and unnecessary mandates from our classrooms, treating our teachers like professionals, customizing curriculum to our students gifts, needs and desires. These are things that are going to transform education. Lets put standards in their proper place and then get down to business.! Thank You.!