By now, you have probably heard that SB 167, Senator William Ligon’s attempt to get Georgia out from under the Common Core standards for education, failed to pass out of the House Education Committee on Wednesday. Barring last minute shenanigans, legislative action on Common Core will not occur this session.
News of the bill’s demise brought some quick reactions. First, from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce:
The Georgia Chamber was pleased to see the House Education Committee take action today that allows for the continued implementation of the Common Core State Standards in Georgia. These standards, which the state began implementing in 2010, are more rigorous than Georgia’s prior benchmarks, emphasizing key skills including critical thinking and problem solving that are essential for college and career success.
“We appreciate the attention this issue has received as it is key to ensuring our children’s future success,” said Georgia Chamber of Commerce President Chris Clark. “The Chamber thanks the members of the House Education Committee for listening to the concerns of educators, parents, local school boards and most importantly, our students.”
From Georgia Association of Educators President Calvine Rollins:
Today the House Education Committee took an important step toward ensuring Georgia’s 1.6 million public school children stay on the current common core standards path by voting against the passage of SB 167, the “anti-common core bill,” by a margin of 13-5.
The House Education Committee’s vote fortifies educators current work in implementing standards that raise the academic and critical thinking bars for our children. Work on this bill took weeks and involved a number of communities, most notably educators who recognized early on the damage this bill would inflict. This bill had several versions that experienced in-depth evaluations, but the bottom line is the committee voted today to put our children’s educational needs ahead of political agendas.
A second killl [sic] vote was passed, which means the bill is dead in the House Education Committee for the remainder of the session. However, GAE will be diligent in monitoring the possibility of it being attached to another bill before the session ends.
And From PolicyBEST:
PolicyBEST wishes to thank the Georgia House Education Committee for their hard work and thoughtful consideration of Senate Bill 167. As it passed the Senate, SB 167 placed unnecessary restrictions on the State School Board, created unnecessary bureaucracy, and would have blocked Georgia’s adoption of rigorous new Science Standards.
Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman and Vice-Chairman Mike Dudgeon are to be commended for holding hours upon hours of hearings for debate and public comment. In the end, the voices of a very broad coalition of Education Leaders, classroom teachers, business, and civic leaders were able to demonstrate that SB 167 does not take Georgia in the right direction for education policy. The bill received a “do not pass” recommendation from the committee today, effectively ending consideration for this session.
“We appreciate the hard work of the members of the committee, and their commitment to ensuring that Georgia’s public school children receive the best education possible” said Charlie Harper, Executive Director of PolicyBEST. “Ultimately, the committee members were able to separate relevant facts from political noise, and make the right choice for Georgia’s students, parents, and educators.”
PolicyBEST is a member of the Better Standards for a Better Georgia coalition, promoting excellence in education through adherence to currently established Common Core standards.
Some weren’t so happy the bill failed, and Walter Jones of the Morris News Service found them.
Tonya Ditty, state director of Concerned Women of America, said the math and English standards that have already been agreed to by the states using the Common Core would soon be followed by history and social studies. And she said that would be a repeat of a similar attempt in the 1990s that stalled in the face of public outcry over its treatment of family values.
“Our concern has been that if we don’t stop this participation, that that’s going to be the next thing that will be brought in,” she said.
Ditty warned that global warming and evolution would likely be treated as settled questions in any national science standards without including the skepticism conservatives have for both.
While Wednesday’s Do Not Pass vote by the House Education Committee ends the legislative debate for this year, it likely will not end the discussion over the issue. Look for it to be brought up in the Republican Primary races for State School Superintendent and Governor.