Rep. Chris Malone: Common Core rollout too fast

amoody@newsobserver.comFebruary 4, 2014 

State Rep. Chris Malone makes a presentation at Zebulon Town Hall on Jan. 9.

AARON MOODY — amoody@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— State Rep. Chris Malone recently said he does not think the Common Core standards are a good fit for North Carolina schools.

He seemed more concerned, however, with the way the new and tougher standards were introduced into the schools than the fact that they exist.

“My view is simply from what I’ve seen as a father and from listening to people come to me and talk to me … who say this is causing their children way too much stress,” said Malone, a Republican who represents District 35 in the N.C. House.

“(Students) don’t have the reference material, they don’t have the books, and we rolled (Common Core) out before we fully had it all implemented and the training program done.”

The state adopted the standards in 2010 and they were put into practice for the first time for the 2012-13 school year.

Malone shared his views after a visit at Zebulon Town Hall last month, three weeks before the state released its new school report cards for the 2012-13 year. The report cards profile school conditions and academic status, including results from the state’s new READY accountability model.

The results compared to past years show significantly lower passing rates on end-of-year tests, which were based on the new Common Core standards.

That was particularly true of the East Wake schools of Engineering Systems and Integrated Technology, where the percentage of students’ End-of-Course math scores at or above grade level was less than 5 percent. At Knightdale High School, the passing rate was 8.8 percent.

The Department of Public Instruction acknowledges the 2012-13 school year as the baseline for data in the new model. But Malone, a former Wake County school board member, believes the initial effects of Common Core would not have been as grave had it been set in motion in a more gradual fashion.

“My argument would be if you’re going to keep it, you should start at the first, second, third grade and move it out that way in a nice, slow arc,” Malone said. “Not just slap it out in front of people and say, ‘You need to do Common Core now, we’re raising your standards, we’re going to make you think an all new way of thinking and you’re going to do it without the reference material.’ I just think that’s just haphazard and wrong.”

Malone said the intentions behind Common Core are good.

“But if you’re going to do something, you need to do it in a pragmatic, systematic and clear way,” he said.

Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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