Georgia Association of Educators: Move Forward with Common Core for Georgia

March 7, 2014 14:23 pm

by Jon Richards

Editor’s Note: The following guest editorial in support of the Common Core Educational Standards was submitted by the Georgia Association of Educators.

As the premier education association in Georgia, the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), has watched, and when appropriate, weighed in on Common Core Standards for Georgia. We value the concerns that people have around Common Core, but what GAE believes, is that the Common Core State Standards have already shown the potential to provide access to a complete and challenging education for all children in our state. The broad range of cooperation in developing these voluntary standards provides educators with effective curriculum goals and greater opportunities to use their professional judgment in ways that promote student success. That is what educators care about….student success. It is why we have chosen this profession.

Today’s students are entering a world that most of us would have found hard to contemplate just a few years ago. What today’s students need to know and be able to do in order to be successful both in college and in their careers was fundamental to the development of the Common Core Standards. Teachers have worked in collaboration with education and business leaders to develop a set of standards for students that are transparent, coherent, contextual and comprehensive.

These “common core” standards can lead to better assessments for Georgia’s children across systems and can allow us to ensure we are preparing our children to compete successfully wherever they are in the world. Through these standards the goal is to equip children with the ability to execute complex tasks and develop deep understanding in all subject areas. Most importantly, they develop critical and analytical thinking skills that they will utilize throughout their lives. These standards are focused and coherent; have been benchmarked internationally; are anchored in college and career readiness and are designed with evidence and research at its very foundation.

It should be pointed out that in Senator Ligon’s testimony before the Georgia House Education Committee on SB 167 mischaracterized the position of the National Education Association (NEA). The NEA supports the Common Core State Standards and believes each state, including Georgia, should infuse the Standards with its own state specific content. NEA remains committed to the Common Core State Standards. There is strong support among NEA members for the standards and NEA members are committed to seeing the promise of the standards fulfilled. There’s too much at stake for our children and our country to risk getting this wrong.

It is important that Georgia makes a concerted effort to raise the quality of the education delivered to children across the state. This is an opportunity to ensure the standards for children are the same in Telfair County as they are in Fulton County and that parents do not have to worry whether or not they are the same. Also we must remember that these standards are the minimum, which leaves room for growth and adjustments. Calculus and Statistics will still be available but the minimum math level will be Algebra II.

Another vital component of success in the classroom is teacher training. The Georgia Department of Education and GAE have made steady investments in assisting with preparing educators for Common Core. Professional development and coaching of teachers to convey these quality standards to students are ongoing and GAE will continue to do its part in ensuring educator success translates to student success.

What we can’t have is uncertainty in our educational future. Uncertainty is bad for our educators, our students and our state. Educators, school systems and students have already made significant investments in Common Core. Now let’s move forward.

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