Core Intentions: Deal in Limbo

According to the AJC, Governor Deal has requested the “State Board of Education to “formally un-adopt” a part of the [Common Core] program that includes sample English test selections that infuriated some parents” and has ordered a review of national guidelines. In requesting a thorough review, Deal also asked the State Board to prepare a model reading list for school boards across the state and a social studies curriculum that harps on civic and fiscal responsibility.

I see several key words that may lead some to believe that Governor Deal is attempting to appease a specific group. While this does appear to be some half-hearted attempt at compromise stemming from the public outcry over Common Core guidelines in recent months, it places the Governor more in limbo than anything else. After previously announcing his support of federal curriculum guideline implementation, proponents on both sides of the issue seem to be more concerned with who else is supporting or opposing the program. (Paging Cherokee County.) Meanwhile, Deal primary contenders (and possible contenders) simply continue to separate themselves from the Governor on Common Core specifics.

State Superintendent John Barge, who publicly supports Common Core but seems a tad confused on particulars (attendees of any of his meetings around the state are aware of said contradictions), seems to think Deal’s move is politically motivated. Barge said he began seeking teacher feedback on Common Core several months ago and the Governor is simply asking for measures already in place.

My issue with the letter?  Deal said the review was “prompted by concerns from several lawmakers and the results of several recent studies”. There is an understanding that conservative principles focus on local control. Top-down policies and concerns from legislators certainly do not reflect local control. Have we taken the time to assess where we are as a state with Common Core? Then there is the ‘Common Core doesn’t reflect Georgia values’ elephant in the room. Georgia is very diverse. If we are seeking to reflect the values of all Georgians, we’re going to need about 9,919,945 different books.

You see where this is going? Georgia is not a trailblazer in education and almost weekly we see studies that show students are slipping. As voters, we should be looking at the bigger picture instead of bouncing from one thing to the next and then wondering why nothing ever changes. How much time should we really spend focusing on what caused a change of heart or who is dangling puppets behind the scenes? And maybe it’s time to stop thinking one program can revolutionize our children or that one person “did this” to our education. There may be 99 things wrong but we’re in this for the long haul. One piece at a time. Progress, not perfection.


  1. Matt Stout says:

    If we are seeking to reflect the values of all Georgians, we’re going to need about 9,919,945 different books.

    The question remains, “I wonder if you believe what we believe?”


  2. Jackster says:

    Gainesville Public Schools and Hall County piloted the teacher evaluation component of Common Core – I’m willing to bet the “concerns” and “feedback” was from his home district. Which means, it’s politically motivated, does not apply to the rest of georgians, and probably was skewed from the get-go.

    Why can’t this governor just pick a policy, implement it, AND THEN make changes? I find it very ironic this same Governor faults the Obama administration for constantly changing its implementation of Obamacare, yet there is no steady hand here.

    Oh, that also means he should leave it to the state super to put it in, since the policy is decided, and now it needs implementing. Leave it alone – stop campaigning.

  3. MattMD says:

    I’m a bit fuzzy on the whole “values reflection” idea with respect to secondary education. I think schools should encourage basic values but I think we start going down a very twisted road if we start getting into specifics.

    For instance, just because some parents choose to be willfully ignorant about evolution that doesn’t mean schools should be forced to kowtow to this (and the courts have made sure that schools will not).

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