Common Core: It’s a Republican thing

I read Jessica’s post on Common Core and that got me thinking about the perceptions of Common Core, especially here in Georgia.

Some of the concerns of common core are legitimate and are based in fact. Others, however, are based in an alternate reality that is not the one we currently occupy.

As a product of public education (grade school through graduate school) and the son of a public school teacher, I think it’s important that we get this right. We can’t have schools fail our kids and then expect those same kids to be able to succeed. You can’t build a skyscraper without the proper foundation.

The really strange thing to me about the outrage against Common Core is that it was a Republican governor’s lead initiative as a response to No Child Left Behind. Our own Sonny Perdue was pivotal in the design. Consequently, Common Core is based off of Georgia’s own educational standards.

To say Georgia isn’t a trailblazer in education is disingenuous.  Common Core is the result of what other states (starting with Republican Governors) wanted to do in response to failing education at the state level.  It was modeled on Georgia’s aggressive curriculum re-write undertaken to address our perpetual bottom of the barrel rankings.  In short, we started this.

To say that Common Core doesn’t reflect Georgia’s values is equally disingenuous. Georgia may not perform as well as we would like or as well as other states (I’m not arguing the contrary) but Common Core is what it is because of Georgia and our values.

Local control. I’m not sure how addressing the concerns of some lawmakers is not indicative of local control. Are those lawmakers not elected to represent their districts? Did we abandon the principles of elected representation in the last couple years and I missed something?

Local control is a great and wonderful thing, up until the students can’t write a proper sentence, or do simple mathematics. At that point local the local school or school board has has failed those children and the next level needs to pick up the ball.

Jessica brought up John Barge and his public “support” of Common Core. Though he is the only politician I have ever seen start a talk with one opinion and by the end of the talk, he had convinced himself that he should be opposed to the policy he started advocating. I don’t mean start with an opinion one day and change his mind in a few weeks or months time, but over the course of about 35 minutes as he did before the Cobb GOP in May.

Because of our slipping placement in comparison to other states, we should be looking at the bigger picture and we should be concerned. If our students are not properly prepared then they will fail. I saw many students struggle over three semesters as a Supplemental Instructor at Georgia State. Common Core is one way to ensure that our students are properly prepared.

27 comments

  1. Nick Chester says:

    This is all pretty interesting but at some point the State will need to stick to some sort of plan. It is a little hard to make five and ten years plans for your community when your alleged partner in education (the State) can’t decide where we are going.

    And oh, who decides what level picks up the ball and when? Education+Local fail= State steps in?? But Healthcare+State fail= Feds step in?? I guess it all depends on who your asking.

    • UpHere says:

      Let’s be honest though, Nick. Most school boards just want state money and that should be the extent of their reach or influence.

  2. John Konop says:

    Math professor: Common Core “will set our children back one to two years.” Governor in retreat.

    ……….. Algebra — inadequate readiness in the elementary grades and pushed back one year (from middle school – 8th grade – to high school – 9th grade). This means most Georgia students will not reach calculus in high school, as expected by selective universities. And because algebra is the gateway to higher mathematics, Common Core’s approach reduces the likelihood that students will be prepared for university-level math…..

    http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/get-schooled/2013/aug/21/math-prof-common-core-will-set-our-children-back-o/

    Interesting from AJC:

    If true this is very bad! The program that allows AP level students to take algebra 1 in 7th grade has been top notch in many of our schools…..I know in Cherokee County this has been very successful. Would this change that track option?

    • MattMD says:

      I now it’s anecdotal as hell but I didn’t take calculus in high school and I got out of GT with a B.S.E.

      IMO, it’s much more important to have a solid algebra and trigonometry foundation for calculus rather than taking the class itself in high school. Integral and differential calculus is a relative breeze once you get that down.

      • John Konop says:

        Matt,

        In all due respect, you would not get into GT today without having AP calculas, AP physics……..most students have numerous AP math and science classes to be even be considered today….It is extremely competitive….Also my oldest is a second year ME and he tells me without a very strong background…from good high school the kids really struggle…….AP classes are not al the same depending on your high school…….

        • MattMD says:

          John–

          With all due respect what makes you qualified to tell me whether or not I would get in today? Are you on the admissions committee? Do you have any affiliation with GT whatsoever besides your son? Everybody struggles at Tech, incidentally. I was class of 2005 in Biomedical Engineering which wasn’t all that long ago. The thing to understand about Tech is that they don’t offer remedial math classes, you pretty much have to be ready for calculus from the get-go.

          I took AP classes and yes, not all AP classes are the same hence the reason why students take AP exams. AP Bio and Chem are not anything to sneeze at.

          Sorry, you do not know what you are talking about if you think AP Physics and AP Calc are requirements. Many high schools don’t even offer AP Physics. Anybody is eligible to take the AP exams so students can do this after or during any calculus class, AP or not.

            • MattMD says:

              John-

              How can a requirement be “average”? Either something is a requirement or it is not, correct?

                • rightofcenter says:

                  John,
                  With all due respect, Matt is correct here and you are not. It is not semantics. People get into Tech without taking AP Calculus and AP Physics (I know some who are freshmen now that fit that category) – thus you’re statement is incorrect.

                  • John Konop says:

                    rightofcenter,

                    This is a link from the GT website……The low end is just a 4 unite requirement….As I said the average student completes 8 AP courses in high school …..The requirements have gotten tougher every year…..

                    If you did not take AP calculus or something equivalent, your chances of getting into tech would be very low…..

                    ……….MATHEMATICS
                    Which math classes should I take in high school?
                    Students on a discrete math curriculum should complete 4 units of math which should include Algebra I and II, geometry and a fourth year which should consist of advanced algebra and trigonometry, algebra III, pre-calculus, discrete mathematics, calculus, statistics, IB mathematics or analysis, or equivalent courses……….

                    http://www.admission.gatech.edu/apply/freshman-application/gpa

                    http://www.usg.edu/student_affairs/documents/Staying_on_Course.pdf

                    • MattMD says:

                      You contradict yourself in your own post. Go re-read it and see if you can spot the error. Hint: It’s in the information you cut-n-pasted.

                      Anyway, I have my GT degree so that’s really all that matters in the end. It’s much harder to get out that to get in; I can promise you that.

                    • John Konop says:

                      I read and post facts, not what I feel about the issue…..I get attacked from the right and left…..because you guys are tribal in your views….I am a pragmatist….

                      Ironic on this post I get attacked from Matt from the left because he does not like the facts….and you on the right for using facts…..

                      It is very clear from any rational person reading this post, if CC does not include the track to allow students to take algebra 1 in 7th grade it will put Georgia public schools students at risk of being accepted at top level math/science schools…agree or not….?

              • John Konop says:

                The average student now accepted at GT have AP calculas, they also had 8 AP level classes majority in the math/science area….Btw top notch schools have similar requirements……based on major focus…..

                  • John Konop says:

                    Matt do you have any issue with dealing with the core facts on this debate? Agee or not with my macro point, if we eliminate the track for students to take algebra 1 in 7th grade it would put our students and a disadvantage?

  3. Jessica S. says:

    -“To say Georgia isn’t a trailblazer in education is disingenuous.” We are not the best and the brightest, no matter how you cut the cake. I hear what you’re saying about the re-written curriculum but if we started it and it’s the same thing, why are we being promised this will change and better our school systems?
    -“To say that Common Core doesn’t reflect Georgia’s values is equally disingenuous.” — I didn’t say that. The original AJC article did.
    -As for the local control issue, I would argue that legislators do not always act in the interest of their districts and often times go on their own principles. And do you really think there is a one size fits all solution?

    • Eric The Younger says:

      1) We are not the best. But because of that we took the time to set higher standards. Those standards became Common Core. How is that not trailblazing? We didn’t like our situation so we attempted to make it better by innovating new and tougher standards that 45 other states have adopted.
      2) My apologies.
      3)Then it is up to those communities to hold their elected officials accountable. As for a one size fits all approach, the standards are there to ensure that the child has certain skills, the way to learn those skills is still up to the teacher. The concept is no different than the last 30 years of how we’ve been doing it in Georgia, just more rigorous standards.

  4. one voice says:

    These standards do not “ensure” anything. It is a valid point that Georgia’s prior standards were a close match to Common Core standards. But whether former Gov. Purdue led on creating these standards or not does not preclude today’s citizens & leadership in GA from closely examining the integrity & legal ramifications of these standards today.

    Georgia has already sunk a lot of funding into these standards & GA students will need to be prepared to excel on standardized tests/college entrance exams that are being pegged to these standard. Gov. Deal, please continue to stand firm on GA’s independent control of what stays and what goes according to the needs of Georgia students TODAY.

  5. KingRichard says:

    This is terrible on many fronts.
    1) No Child Left Behind created the Dekalb situation
    2) Georgia Educational Standards should not be a standard at all, it should be what not to do largelyu due to the Federal Governments intrusion.

    When are we going to wake up and realize that the Federal Government is to blame for this mess. Aboilish the Department of Education – they have utterly failed. When the Federal Government has students (employees) that can’t write a proper sentence, or do simple mathematics it is time to remove them and let States take back control….

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