Education secretary Betsy DeVos announced Friday she has appointed former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue to serve as chair of the National Assessment Governing Board.
Perdue, a Democrat and Common Core champion who served as North Carolina’s governor from 2009 to 2013, will lead the board that sets policy for the test known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the “Nation’s Report Card.”
The former governor, who was once a public school teacher, oversaw the adoption of the Common Core State Standards in her state.
“I am delighted to welcome former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue as the chair of the National Assessment Governing Board,” DeVos said in a statement. “Her years of experience and time spent in the classroom as a public school teacher will be vital to the work of the board as it continues its efforts to strengthen and advance education opportunities for students across our country.”
In 2015, Perdue penned an op-ed at the Hechinger Report, in which she defended her decision to adopt Common Core for her state.
“In a global economy, it doesn’t matter where you live but it does matter what you know, and children everywhere ought to know what other students across America and the world are learning,” she wrote. “It makes no difference whether you call them Common Core or whether every state gives them a different name.”
Perdue continued that the standards would be helping young people succeed in a “fast-paced world in which skills and jobs change daily.”
The former governor said she was particularly impressed with Common Core math:
I recently visited a second-grade classroom in North Carolina and watched a fabulous teacher help kids understand the concept of the number “55.” She used 12 addition and subtraction examples to show kids how many different math equations get you to 55.
She showed them how you can use five buckets of tens and five buckets of ones. Or you can use 11 buckets of fives — or six “fives,” two tens” and five “ones.” She taught these second-graders to think logically and to explore how many ways you can get to an answer.
“The Common Core standards encourage problem-solving and critical thinking skills – skills that were often absent in the classrooms of the past,” Perdue wrote.
The former governor expressed concern about “fears that, by adopting Common Core, the federal government is over-reaching into our schools and threatening to nationalize curriculum.”
“The state has even empaneled a commission to review and rewrite the standards, even though North Carolina has already invested over $66 million in training teachers and school leaders, updating curriculum and transitioning to the Common Core,” she wrote, defending the Core further and asserting that “standards” and “curriculum” are separate concepts.
“[T]he Common Core State Standards were not created, approved or mandated by the federal government,” Perdue wrote in opposition to grassroots parent groups.” “The standards were created by the states. And, they don’t dictate curriculum, which remains entirely under the control of local school boards, principals and teachers.”
However, even as early as 2014, the CEO of the federally funded Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) – a Common Core assessment consortium – confirmed the standards and their aligned assessments were intended to drive curriculum.
“High quality assessments go hand-in-hand with high quality instruction based on high quality standards,” said Laura Slover. “You cannot have one without the other. The PARCC states see quality assessments as a part of instruction, not a break from instruction.”
Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, also noted at the time:
The proponents of Common Core and PARCC continue to insist that tests and standards are not about curriculum, but that’s a ruse. Teachers already know that what is tested at the end of the year is what is taught in classrooms throughout the year. PARCC may not mandate one textbook or one pacing guide, but the CEO of the federally funded PARCC has admitted one thing: PARCC controls instruction and instruction is curriculum.
Since leaving office, Perdue has led Digital Learning Institute, an education nonprofit company that seeks to expand technology in the classroom. Perdue received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – the primary private source of funding for the development and implementation of Common Core – for her venture.
“Perdue also has served as a Resident Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy,” notes the education department.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board to close our nation’s achievement gap and ensure that all students, regardless of geography or circumstance, have access to a great education that prepares them for the jobs of tomorrow,” Perdue said in a statement.