While too many have been using the issue of Common Core standards to stroke their inner paranoia over Agenda 21 and the spread of Sharia Law, those who have tried to actually engage in a constructive debate have found a common enemy in Common Core – the required assessment tests.
There are two main problems with the test according to critics (and as articulated by State School Superintendent John Barge at the May Cobb GOP Breakfast). The cost to add the new test is twice Georgia’s current budget for assessment tests, and the ability to have state by state flexibility within the Common Core standards would likely be lost if the test is national and thus would not take into account any deviations to meet local needs.
Georgia has decided to remove the assessment test from the Common Core debate. Wayne Washington of the AJC has the details:
In rejecting the test, Gov. Nathan Deal and Superintendent John Barge cited its cost, which could have been as high as $27 million — slightly more than the state’s entire K-12 testing budget.
Georgia will offer assessments developed by education officials in this state, who will continue working with their counterparts in the region toward the goal of offering a regional test.
“Assessing our students’ academic performance remains a critical need to ensure that young Georgians can compete on equal footing with their peers throughout the country,” Deal said in a joint statement with Barge released by the state Department of Education. “Georgia can create an equally rigorous measurement without the high costs associated with this particular test. Just as we do in all other branches of state government, we can create better value for taxpayers while maintaining the same level of quality.”
Hopefully, the “debate” around Common Core can get serious now. The main valid objection is off the table. Those interested in ensuring Georgia students can compete on a national stage should re-engage in the process to ensure the standards chosen are proper. Those who stoke the same irrational fears using the issue du jour as Satan’s stalking horse should move on, and if not, should be vocally rejected by those with facts on their side.