Policy experts, officials ‘confront’ Common Core
by Rachel Miller
June 23, 2013 12:12 AM | 5954 views | 7 7 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Concerned Women for America of Georgia and the American Principles Project conducted a panel discussion Saturday morning about Common Core curriculum in Georgia schools. Above: Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform — Pioneer Institute, addresses the guests of Saturday's panel.
The Concerned Women for America of Georgia and the American Principles Project conducted a panel discussion Saturday morning about Common Core curriculum in Georgia schools. Above: Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform — Pioneer Institute, addresses the guests of Saturday's panel.
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MARIETTA — Residents, elected state and local leaders, and policy experts from around the country spent Saturday morning “Confronting the Common Core.”

A local coalition dedicated to preventing Common Core national education standards from being implemented sponsored a panel discussion Saturday in the Roswell Street Baptist Church gymnasium.

On May 15, Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order saying the federal government could not force a set of standards upon local school districts, and a coalition that has formed to block the standards is hoping to get the state Legislature to take up the issue during its upcoming session.

The leader of the backlash against Common Core is Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), who was one of the speakers at Saturday’s rally in Marietta.

Two rounds of presentations, the first Friday in Gwinnett County and the second Saturday in Cobb, focused on giving the public more information in hopes of furthering a grassroots initiative to keep Georgia from implementing Common Core.

Other states, such as Indiana, Texas and Alabama, also have seen grassroots movements against Common Core in recent months.

Jamie Gass, from the Boston-based Pioneer Institute, warned the audience that teaching uniform standards, and more specifically the requirement to test that students have learned the dictated material, comes with a heavy price tag.

He said Common Core will cost $16 billion nationally, and $685 million in Georgia.

The federal government “doesn’t do things on the cheap,” Gass said.

Not in session

Ligon, the only elected official on the panel, is the sponsor of legislation to withdraw Georgia from participation in Common Core and national testing tied to the program.

Ligon, rallying the crowd of at least 75 to its feet, said he lives on St. Simons Island with his five children and wife, Kim, who is a former educator.

He told the crowd that Common Core is one of greatest shifts in education policy and was pushed forward with little review in the public arena.

Fellow panelist Emmett McGroarty, director of Preserve Innocence Project, an organization that defends parental rights, said the dramatic change was done without much public knowledge.

He said there was a stunning lack of input from parents, who “are the real bosses” of the education industry.

Each of the speakers emphasized that the uniform education standards were forced onto Georgia by former Gov. Sonny Perdue and his successor, Deal, along with special interest groups in order for the state to receive federal “Race to the Top” grants.

“We sold our children for a pocket full of change,” Ligon said.

Ligon said his proposed legislation will be more transparent and have greater accountability by reaching out to teachers, businesses and area universities.

“We don’t want a seat at the table, we want to own the table,” Ligon said.

Top of the class

Bill Evers of the Hoover Institute, a conservative thinktank, cited evidence that he said show a lack of rigor in the Common Core standards.

He said the curriculum does a poor job of teaching percentages, fractions and decimals, as well as how these fundamentals are interconnected.

“They are missing topics,” Evers said about the benchmarks that are outlined at various stages in a child’s progression from kindergarten to graduation.

Evers said that high school English classes will cut lessons on classical literature in half, and devote that time to reading “informational texts and technical manuals.”

Before the first speaker took to the lectern, local elected and appointed officials were asked to stand.

Representatives from the State Board of Education, Cobb and Cherokee County school boards, and Marietta School Board were sitting in the audience at Saturday’s event.

Tony Fasola, who has served on the Marietta School Board for eight years, said he attended the meeting to gain perspective.

Fasola said he has taken no hard stance, but that if he felt the federal government was jeopardizing the district’s successful history of educating students he would be campaigning against Common Core.

The new national standards are very close to the state-wide performance standards Georgia approved in 2010, according to Fasola.

In fact, Fasola said heads of the Marietta School System’s math departments have told him the new curriculum is rigorous, and matches 90 percent of what is currently being taught.

English is at 81 percent, Fasola said.

“Student achievement is everything we live for,” Fasola said about the Marietta School Board.

Problem solving

Emmett told opponents of Common Core that Georgia does not need to accept the mandate by the federal government, and there is always a chance to overturn the former commitment to the program.

“Senator Ligon has raised the shield and sword against this fight,” Emmett said.

He said the effort will require a citizen movement to stop the federalization of education and preserve local control.

“We have to push to victory,” Emmett said.

Organizers of Saturday’s discussion encouraged everyone to attend Thursday’s Cobb County Board of Education meeting to show support for the board’s vote against purchasing Common Core teaching materials.

Comments
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Larry King
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June 24, 2013
One expression that I have heard from a colleague who is a professor at Ga Tech is, the "common core" can be a key education building block. When a young engineer can't add 2 2, without their HP, express their thoughts orally or written, something is wrong with the current foundational basis. When students are "googling" answers for a test or taking pictures of a test, and emailing them to friends, taking the test later, somewhere the foundation in civics & ethics is missing.

This is my recent blog on the meeting at Roswell Baptist Church.

http://southcobb.patch.com/groups/larry-kings-blog/p/confronting-common-core

Mr. King
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June 24, 2013
One expression that I have heard from a colleague who is a professor at Ga Tech is, the "common core" can be a key education building block. When a young engineer can't add 2 2, without their HP, express their thoughts orally or written, something is wrong with the current foundational basis. When students are "googling" answers for a test or taking pictures of a test, and emailing them to friends, taking the test later, somewhere the foundation in civics & ethics is missing.

This is my recent blog on the meeting at Roswell Baptist Church.

http://southcobb.patch.com/groups/larry-kings-blog/p/confronting-common-core

Maths R teh Devils
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June 24, 2013
Those Maths and Sciences in the Common(ism) Core (Socialism) might teach our children to think critically (becoming terrorist like that Snowden) and behave rationally (known as infidels). We cannot allow that!

To save our Nation we must Replace These Common Books With More Bible Based Texas Books that have served us so well up to now. Texas put the TEX in TEXTbook after all. We need more study of Jesus and how HE helped us win the Civil War. We put the US in USA of course.

If we are to be True Conservatives, Church revenues should be headed up, test scores should be headed down, and Paula Deen dishes should be on EVERY table. After all, since change is scary, you can keep the change.
Poorly Done
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June 25, 2013
Sarcasm is only funny when done properly. You're misspelling of "the" right out of the gate only lead to more egregious errors which WOULD have been clever if intentional but sadly only confirmed your pedestrian writing skills. Stick to the witty Facebook posting your "friends" all like so much.
No way!
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June 23, 2013
75? This means that the reporter can't count or is under reporting for her own purposes.

I was there; there were 16 chairs on both sides of the aisle, six rows; almost every seat was filled - even using Common Core Math, (joke), that makes 192. Even conservatively, half that amount is 96; so why the under reporting? Perhaps to down play the anti-Common Core support? Nah. The Marietta Daily Journal would never do that.

(I physically counted the people; 178. That didn't include the speakers or the table workers at the entrance.)
caithol spirituali
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June 24, 2013
Was there too... You must have been counting Jimmy Stewart's invisible rabbit family... half the seats were empty.

Since when did we start counting panelists to boost numbers... NEW MATH?
Just Wait
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June 23, 2013
Wonder why they didn't invite those in favor of "Common Core?" Guess anyone talking sense would jeopardize their positions.
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