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News Tip: N.C. House Wrong to Replace Common Core Education Standards, Expert Says

Associate professor Kristen Stephens calls move 'frustrating' and 'wasteful'

The North Carolina House of Representatives voted Wednesday to repeal and replace common standards for K-12 education.

Kristen StephensAssociate professor of the practice, Duke University Program in Educationkstephens@duke.edu' research focuses on educational policy and assessment. She is the director of the North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented.Quotes:"The decision by the North Carolina House of Representatives to replace the Common Core curriculum is ill-advised. Considerable time, effort and resources have been devoted over the last several years to align curriculum and assessments with these new standards. To think N.C. will be in a position to start from scratch, yet again, is not only frustrating, but considerably wasteful of already limited financial resources.""In addition, our teachers will certainly feel that the slew of professional development sessions attended and the countless hours spent developing and revising lessons plans to align with the Common Core were fruitless. Combine this frustration with the current status of teacher pay in North Carolina, and there will certainly be an exodus of teachers from our state.""Unfortunately, the implementation of the Common Core standards coincides with an intense focus around high-stakes testing to measure student progress and teacher effectiveness. It is imperative that our legislators and other stakeholders decouple Common Core from these other heated debates. Instead of focusing on replacing the Common Core standards, we should be focused on reforming our current assessment system. Presently, students statewide are engaged in end-of-grade and end-of-course testing. They are being forced to sit quietly and engage intensely for more than three straight hours across several days. This practice is not only developmentally inappropriate for most students, it is inhumane.""Last month, public schools across N.C. were seeking volunteers to serve as proctors for the testing period. Our legislators should be required to serve as proctors in their respective districts, so they can see firsthand the implications these lengthy exams are having on children. It is time for all legislators to realize the full implications of their policies on schools, teachers, and students. Replacing the Common Core is simply the wrong place to focus our efforts."