Common Core Reform Codifies Georgia As Anti-Science

This week’s Courier Herald column:

Senate Bill 167 passed the upper chamber last week and will likely be considered – and passed – by the House before this year’s installment of the Georgia General Assembly reaches adjournment.  It is the compromise bill to keep Georgia in Common Core, but curtail expansion into additional and more controversial areas such as Science and Social Studies while allowing an independent review of existing standards.

There are real problems with Common Core as currently devised.  Educators question the approach to mathematics, especially in lower grades.  More importantly, the time and training needed for teachers to fully understand this highly revised approach to demonstrating basic mathematical concepts has been noticeably absent.  Educators and parents alike have been frustrated by the implementation.

It’s important to note that this is a process that has been underway since Math curriculums were revised under former State School Superintendent Kathy Cox, and predate Common Core.  It was Governor Sonny Perdue who, as head of the National Governor’s association, used Georgia’s revamped curriculum when setting the national standards on a voluntary, state led basis.

In addition, the Federal Department of Education’s endorsement of Common Core and, more pointedly, tying “Race To The Top” dollars to them, has fueled additional fears that these standards are no longer voluntary.  It is easy to understand how those who value “local control” want to tap the brakes.

And yet, SB 167 doesn’t so much address the concerns of educators or delineate a voluntary program from mandatory national ties.  It speaks to those who believe Common Core is a creation of an Obama administration’s Department of Education.  As such, the problems Georgia’s teachers are facing in the classrooms are skipped over in lieu of placating a small but noisy and paranoid faction within the GOP base. 

If the bill merely repealed Common Core standards for Georgia, it would only be an acknowledgement that a decade of Republican-led education reform initiatives has failed.  Instead, it handcuffs the State Board of Education, adds restrictions beyond the scope of Common Core standards, and politicizes education policy with a stance that is decidedly anti-science and anti-technology.

The bill forbids Georgia from adopting “any national content standards established by a consortium of states, or a third party”. That’s a fairly broad handcuff to the State School Board to continue to adopt science standards that match national and international benchmarks.  At a minimum, it ensures Georgia will have to start from scratch when addressing future standards, and won’t be able to partner with any others – including states will similar political ideological majorities.

The bill also calls an appointed board to review the actions of the appointed State School Board. 15 members will be appointed to an “advisory council” in order to oversee the decisions of the 14 appointees of the State School Board. Nothing says “creating political cover” than to form a new group of political appointees to review the work of other political appointees.

As for testing, the refusal to participate in other states or third party tests leaves overly broad language that may have unintended consequences.  The bill requires “All Statewide K-12 tests and assessments shall be controlled by the State of Georgia” and not be “based on any standards established by a consortium of states or a third party”.  Advanced Placement tests, The PSAT and SAT, as well as the Military’s ASVAB are all tests offered statewide controlled by third parties.  While not the subject of the bill’s intent, the wording leaves those who wanted to keep those tests from being offered in Georgia’s public schools a basis to proceed.

The language restricting technology and data collection goes well beyond what is necessary to ensure that confidential student information does not end up in the hands of third parties, either by sale or by theft.  Use of Google Apps for Education and most other online learning tools may be one of the first casualties of this section.  In trying to protect data, doors for innovation in content delivery are being slammed shut.

Georgia has amazing institutional assets for Science and Mathematics such as the Centers For Disease Control, Georgia Tech, Emory, the University of Georgia, and Georgia Regents University.  We, as a state, should be looking for ways to leverage these and attract science based industry.  Instead, we capitulate to those who deny science and institutionalize their fears with SB 167.

On both Georgia’s education reform and on positioning Georgia as a home for next generation technological employers, this bill is a major step backwards.  But for incumbents only looking forward to the next primary, it’s apparently worth a pass.


  1. Harry says:

    You have yet to convince us that Common Core is not a “one size fits all” approach to education. “One size fits all” is detrimental, doesn’t deal with an individual student’s specific abilities. Why do they not address this concern?

    • Charlie says:

      Under Common Core, Georgia has implemented career academies with about 17 different tracks for achieving a diploma. That’s more sizes than I usually choose from at Macy’s, and only Snuggies and socks are one size fits all.


  2. Charles4Truth says:

    Don’t fool yourselves!!!!
    He who controls the tests – controls the curriculum. Common Core is just another step towards federalizing the educational system…


  3. John Konop says:

    This bill misses the target…..We have test already that have state and national recognition…we also have test that not only certify credit for classes, but also certify completion for certification. Elimanting test that certify people for cutting hair, welding……seems rather irrational….the same is true foe AP, SAT….

    What we need to do is use the above certfied testing system to elimantes unneeded end of year testing….this is the point I have made about the Common Core meeting I went to months ago…The anti Common Core meeting I saw proposd we replace unneeded national testing with local end of the year testing…We need adults discussing solution not a turf war….the best education system in the world use way less end of year testing than us…..and use what I recommended….

    • Charles4Truth says:

      The best educational system is a system where the parents are engaged and involved.

      The system we have today along with common core focuses on those who do not have parental involvement. This drags down those who have parental involvement and attempts to make everyone equal by replacing parental involvement with governmental involvement!

      • John Konop says:

        I use facts not what I feel….do some research….obviously patents are a key….we are talking about education system…..not what we hope….

        • Charles4Truth says:

          John – What facts did you speak of?

          You seamed to have left facts out of your original post? I didn’t see any facts; only oppinion…
          Just as mine!

          So, you dispute the fact that Kids exceed at a higher rate when their parents are involved in their education?

          • John Konop says:

            We are talking about testing not parents….just use google and you will see what I posted is right….I have posted numerous times on this blog the links….if you want to post feel good stuf fine….no one would argue no matter what testing system patents involved would improve it…

                  • Charlie says:

                    There’s a lot of things you don’t get. I’m going to add one to the list.

                    You’re new here. You don’t assume the right to be rude. You can earn that occasional moment of privilege over time. You’re no where near that.

                    So, if you wish to continue posting here, you will apologize to Mr. Konop. He’s been posting here for years, knows quite a bit about education, and isn’t going to be subjected to your rudeness or your excessive exclamation points.

                    There is only one appropriate response to this comment. Don’t screw it up. #nopressure

                    • Charles4Truth says:

                      Charlie , I would be glad to apologize. However, I believe I was the target of his aggression. Look back at the posts. I would hope you could admit that he offered an equal amount of disrespect if not more. He only posted one comment where he actually expressed a position.
                      All the others were spent on belittling me. I even asked him what I should Google as he suggested and he didn’t answer. If he had answered, I may have learned something.

                      I do not know everything, but having spent plenty of time working in a boy’s home for trouble teens, I may have a different perspective.

                      I know I have many faults but I may not be the idiot you two think I am.

                      Parents are the answer, not the State or Federal Government.

                • Charles4Truth says:

                  Ok, John… Help me .

                  You agreed the best system is with true parental involvement.

                  Where does Common Core address this?
                  Can you get off your talking points?

                  • John Konop says:

                    Common Core is about end of year testing…..the anti common core people are proposing a diferent end of year test. Do you understand the debate?

                    My point for years is that we spend way to much money on redundundent not well thought out end of year testing. And that we coud increase quality and save money by using testing that is already in place for certification, class credit ie SAT, PSAT, AP credit, certifications……if a student is on a track that requires the above testing we do not need Common Core testing local or federal. You understand if you joint enroll you must take a SAT or ACT? You understand if you are in a vo-tech field they have standard test you must pass to get a licience?

                  • John Konop says:

                    BTW they way I fund out about this is with our own kids in school….Class time would be interrupted so they could study for an unrelated end of year test over focusing on the core classes…waste of money and time….If you need a gage we have all the other end of year test, certifications….to study…

                    I am not talking about elementary school….

  4. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    Just one point…the AP tests, ACT, SAT etc. that you are concerned about are in no way controlled by the state. The tests are by and large optional depending on your career path and needs. So I don’t think that is a concern. This would only come into play if the state mandated every child take the SAT to graduate or something like that.

    • Charlie says:

      You need to read the actual language of the bill, which is overly broad in almost every area written. Because of the paranoid pushing to capture every possibility of stopping any part of Common Core under different names, the bill overreaches with very severe unintended consequences.

    • John Konop says:


      Charlie is right….We use national testing system for certificates, AP credit, to get into joint enrollment, placement test….Once again details do matter….

      • bgsmallz says:

        I’m pretty sure it was compulsory for my child to take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills…I know I had to take it. I understand the ‘voluntary’ nature of the SAT, ACT, etc. for a high school student, but explain how it wouldn’t apply to ITBS.

        • John Konop says:


          The SAT/ACT is given as early as 7th grade for AP track students….If a student is on an AP track do we really need to spend money on a CC test? AP track students take end of year class test to get credit…..The CC test cannot be as good as end of year credit for class test?

          Same concept for vo-tech students….they must pass certification testing so why do we need a CC test? You get the CC test is not as good as the actually test to get certified?

          Also some students joint enroll by 9th grade, and must take a SAT or ACT to get into the college…why do we need a CC test from them? Do you really need a CC test for a student taking the classes at a college? If so should we CC test all college students and make them take finals?

          • bgsmallz says:

            I’m confused. I would say ‘no’ that we shouldn’t need a separate CC test and I’m frustrated at the fact that the last two months of school will be nothing but CRCT test prep, it seems. Redundancy in testing is a terrible byproduct of trying to find a baseline with which to compare results.

            But my issue is that the bill seems to leave open the issue on whether we could require tests like the ITBS or AP exams at all. “The bill requires “All Statewide K-12 tests and assessments shall be controlled by the State of Georgia” and not be “based on any standards established by a consortium of states or a third party. ” (sic on all the improper quotation marks)…doesn’t this mean that a test like the ITBS would be off limits? If so, the bill is stupidity codified.

            • John Konop says:

              I agree…and further … will kill certification for welders, truck drivers, AP credit….not well thought out….btw this coming from someone as you know wants CC to be reformed,….this is what happens when ideology overrules logic….

  5. elfiii says:

    I have some questions.

    If Georgia were to drop Common Core completely, would y=mx+b still be the equation for a straight line? Would the square root of 144 still be 12? Would 1,3,5, etc. still be prime numbers? Would we still use Arabic numbers? Would A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y still be vowels? Would all the other letters in the English alphabet still be consonants? Would sentences still begin with a capital letter? Would we still use paragraphs to express a complete thought? Would English still be considered a Romance language? What about Spanish and Latin? Would water still be comprised of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom? Would the periodic table still maintain it’s current order? Would the Pacific Ocean still be the largest body of water on the Earth? Would Great Britain still be an island in the North Atlantic Ocean? Would all living things still be classified by Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Specie? Would meiosis and mitosis still operate the same way? Would George Washington still be considered our first President? Would Aaron Burr still have killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel? Would South Carolina still have fired on Ft. Sumter? Would Abraham Lincoln still have made the Gettysburg Address? Would Martin Luther King still have made his “I Have A Dream” speech? Would the Revolutionary War still have happened? Would Atlanta still be the capitol city of the state of Georgia? Would Georgia still be one of the original 13 colonies that formed the United States? Would the United States still have fifty states as opposed to fifty seven?

    Without Common Core would Georgia teachers still be able to teach these things? Without Common Core would Georgia students still be able to learn these things? Without Common Core, would the state be able to come up with a test to find out if Georgia teachers taught these things and Georgia students learned them?

    Talk about questions. Now those are some questions! Concern. Vapors!

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