A grassroots group of education activists in North Carolina has created an alternative to what they call the “failed Common Core standards.”
According to team leader Jerry Egolf of the North Carolina Academic Freedom Alliance, the North Carolina Plan is a set of academic standards that were “chosen from the very best alternatives to Common Core, exceeding those standards by significant measures and having been proven by testing results.”
Egolf informed Breitbart News that he and math standards lead Kathy Young and English Language Arts (ELA) lead Linda Harper developed the Plan over the past five years to meet “critical thinking standards.”
Their research involved reviewing some 3,000 pages of standards to find the “best of the best.” The final product consists of a remodeling of the Minnesota math standards and the 2001 Massachusetts ELA standards.
While Minnesota adopted the Common Core ELA standards, the state retained its math standards which, according to Stanford University’s Dr. James Milgram, are the only math standards that entirely address the “college ready” criteria.
Dr. Sandra Stotsky was one of the main developers of the pre-Common Core Massachusetts ELA standards that helped that state lead the nation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests.
“Both of these choices were remodeled using the Critical Thinking Competency Standards published by the Foundation for Critical Thinking,” explains Egolf. “The result promises to be a top-notch framework which could push North Carolina to the top among the states in academic excellence.”
North Carolina, states Egolf, has generally ranked low in K-12 education.
The Plan’s developers say it will provide teachers with additional training and support and invite parents to once again become active in their children’s education.
“Best of all, the North Carolina Plan is a grassroots development effort that comes at no cost to the schools of our state,” Egolf said. “Other grassroots organizations are welcome to examine our Plan and see if it might fit their needs.”
Egolf admits the North Carolina Plan will need the help of the General Assembly, and notes the opposition “has a lot of money to throw at stopping us.”
The Plan, however, debuted on March 7 at a forum sponsored by the North Carolina Academic Freedom Alliance in New Bern. The event, titled “An Educational Forum for the Replacement of Common Core,” was attended by Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity, and the John Locke Foundation.
Though Egolf states the groups and individuals who reviewed the North Carolina Plan were impressed, “the real test will come from the State School Board if the commission does recommend our work.”
“That is where the real money will come into play,” he says. “Our best chance may come as a result of legislative action.”
Last July, Breitbart News reported that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R)–a past supporter of the Common Core–signed a “compromise” bill that created a new state commission–the Academic Standards Review Commission (ASRC)–to review educational standards and recommend the replacement of defective Common Core standards or those that are inappropriate.
The Common Core standards were developed by three private organizations in Washington D.C.: the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and progressive education company Achieve Inc. All three organizations were privately funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and none of these groups are accountable to parents, teachers, students, or taxpayers.
June Atkinson, North Carolina superintendent of schools, also serves as president of the CCSSO.