Anti-Common Core Bill Fails to Advance in the House

March 13, 2014 9:00 am

by Jon Richards · 15 comments

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.

Harry March 13, 2014 at 9:24 am

You can be assured Common Core is not a done deal.

notsplost March 13, 2014 at 9:29 am

Any “science” curriculum that teaches that a particular theory is ” settled science” is likely itself a form of religion masquerading as science.

Many theories that were accepted as “settled” in the past have been modified or rejected over the course of history, with the benefit of more data or better understanding. The classic error is to assume that recent knowledge has more value that knowledge that has stood the test of time.

While I am not suggesting that we teach kids young earth or creationism in a science classroom, as that would be ridiculous, I would suggest that some proponents of common core are starting to resemble the religious zealots that they denounce.

xdog March 13, 2014 at 9:47 am

“Any “science” curriculum that teaches that a particular theory is ” settled science” is likely itself a form of religion masquerading as science.”

Agreed, but you’re quoting the CWA spokesman who doesn’t give a rat about science. Rather, CWA wants to shoe-horn its version of religion into science instruction.

Scientists don’t start from first principles every day but skepticism is part of their job description.

griftdrift March 13, 2014 at 10:07 am

No science is “settled”. However, using that term of convenience used to communicate a near certainty to the general public to cast doubt on theories that are backed by literally mountains of evidence is a far greater disservice.

That’s not skepticism. That’s know-nothingness.

Will Durant March 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Yanno’, I’m pretty settled on that gravitational theory thing.

objective March 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm

it’s a relief to hear that we can teach science in science classrooms- like um, duh- what else would you teach in science class? and as a religious school teacher for over 15 years, it’s also a relief that religion will continue to be taught at religious school and at home.
but the science curriculum should include discussion of skeptics- as long as the skepticism is based on science. it will just be difficult to find such scientific evidence or support, esp for evolution.
so next we’ll be teaching global warming and evolution? boogedy boogedy boo!
education might grab your child and teach it things!

Harry March 13, 2014 at 4:16 pm

One person’s evidence is another’s propaganda. Education should fit or at least relate to prevailing community standards; otherwise it will prove practically unacceptable.

GreyFreeman March 13, 2014 at 3:29 pm

This is nothing but great news. Our kids will be competing with kids from LA, NYC, and NOLA (and Beijing and Bombay and Budapest). Being good enough for Georgia isn’t good enough.

Harry March 13, 2014 at 4:13 pm

As long as we’re not even further dumbed down; which I fear is the result if Common Core morphs into “one size fits all.”

Charlie March 13, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Again with the “One size fits all” nonsense.

Here’s a link to Georgia’s 17 different Career tracks:

https://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/CTAE/Pages/CTAE-Georgia-Career-Clusters.aspx

It continues to amaze me how the opposition to Common Core continues to speak of the “misinformation” from the supporters, but – as in Senator Ligon’s very public examples – can’t cite actual standards they are opposed to, but continues to say soundbites like “one size fits all” which is demonstrably not true.

Harry March 13, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Yep, I did see your posting from several days ago. There are two problems as I see it. These Career Tracks do not provide for AP courses, which means that everybody is apparently expected to learn at the same rate within the track, which is not reality. There’s no separate AP track. Secondly, there’s no guarantee that once curriculum control is removed from the school districts and state, the specifications will not change to meet “Changing Needs”. Color me skeptical, but still I’m willing to be convinced this approach can work for all students.

Charlie March 13, 2014 at 10:26 pm

If you’re going to tell me that we no longer offer AP classes because they’re not listed as a “track”, then I’m going to throw in the towel and assume you’re not here for rational conversation.

Secondly, at no point, under this Common Core or any proposed standards, has curriculum control been removed from the state. Period. Now or ever.

Standards are not curriculum. Standards are the clear benchmarking of concepts that must be learned.

Curriculum – how those concepts will be taught and what materials will be used to teach them – are now and forever have been under State and local control. There is nothing in common core that tries to change that. Any claims to the contrary are blatant attempts to misinform, or are by people who themselves have been misinformed.

Harry March 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm

OK, I’m here to learn and shouldn’t be so suspicious. Let’s hope you’re right and there are no blatant attempts to misinform. Am I correct to assume that students don’t have to limit themselves to just one of these tracks if they choose not to do so?

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time my wife was a secondary school student in the former Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately, both sides of her family were not considered politically correct and although very smart, she was obligated to be in a vocational high school track whose purpose was to train students to work in the post office – no kidding. She learned the zip code of every small town in the country. She had no chance of going to university in that country. Later on, when she married me and came to this country, she attended one of the leading universities, graduated with high honors, and today is a responsible and well-compensated professional in her field. She could have never accomplished it in the Czech system at that time. But such a thing can never happen here, right? I hope not.

Charlie March 14, 2014 at 8:41 am

I believe the student picks one track, and there is some opportunity to change tracks though the farther along the track the harder it is to get enough credits for a different track. High school isn’t like college where you can change majors and just tack on the fifth year to graduate.

That said, this is a post about “national standards” versus “local control”

The career tracks aren’t part of the national standards, they are a Georgia initiative. I use them as an example to show the national standards movement is neither “one size fits all” nor does it stop state level innovation.

More directly to your question, the tracks aren’t chosen by the school, but by the student and their parent. So again, it’s not the state deciding who goes to college and who becomes a ditch digger. It’s about trying to match the student in classes that match their interests, abilities, and most importantly, preparing them for their work/school that they will be in immediately after high school.

seenbetrdayz March 14, 2014 at 12:50 am

Georgia’s kids will probably continue to be last so long as parents continue to put all their hopes and prayers on politicians to fix their kids’ brains.

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