Superintendent defends new standards

May. 13, 2014 @ 11:22 AM

Superintendent Steve Stone defended Monday night the controversial Common Core standards and curriculum, which some legislators have proposed scrapping.

Stone told the Caldwell County Board of Education that quickly abandoning the Common Core standards, which the state formally adopted in 2010 and only went into effect last year, would be a disaster. The standards were created by the National Governors Assocation and were intended to make sure states have a common frame of reference for evaluating their students’ performance, but they have critics for a range of issues, from an over-reliance on testing to a perception that they eliminate local control.

“We feel like (Common Core) is really going to get us to where we need to be,” Stone said. “In my humble opinion, I believe that (changing the standards) would be a disservice to our children and the staff of this great state. We just need to stay the course, and I think in the long run our students will be better prepared for the future, which is certainly a goal for North Carolina.”

Stone also announced that a Guilford County judge limited his ruling in a lawsuit about teacher pay to just Guilford and Durham counties. The law, passed last summer, requires school districts to designate a top 25 percent of their teachers to be offered raises if they will give up their tenure protections against dismissal. Guilford and Durham sued to block the law, and the judge issued an injunction but did not expand it beyond those counties.

Stone said he would have preferred that the injunction applied to all school systems.

“I was very disappointed that the order did not extend to the entire state,” Stone said. “I think there are still a couple of lawsuits that are making their way through the courts, so it still may happen.”

Caldwell County has created a plan to comply with the law to offer raises to 25 percent of teachers. It is now available for public review and comments, and after the 30-day public comment period passes the plan will be presented to the board in June for approval.