Common Core makes sense, says governor
by Jon Gillooly
April 26, 2013 12:43 AM | 9528 views | 27 27 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Nathan Deal
Gov. Nathan Deal
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Gov. Nathan Deal, who was in Cobb County on Thursday for a bill-signing ceremony, was asked to explain his support for the controversial Common Core school curriculum.

The Common Core State Standards are a national effort to provide a consistent understanding of what students are expected to learn.

But the standards have recently been denounced by the Republican National Committee, and a groundswell of local Republican leaders are now coming out against the program. They say they fear it will lead to the federalization of education and loss of local control.

“I think the misconception is that this was federally imposed on the state of Georgia and on the other states, and I think all but maybe one or two actually have subscribed to the Common Core,” Deal said.

The governor said he was aware that some states were considering withdrawing from the program, but noted that Common Core was an effort developed through the states.

“The federal government did not mandate it, they did not control it, they did not dictate its content,” Deal said. “I think there is also a misunderstanding between the Common Core standards, which simply says these are the things that a student needs to know or be able to do at certain grade levels in their school progress, as opposed to a Common Core curriculum, whereby you dictate what is taught. That is not the case here, so I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about what the Common Core does.”

Put simply, Common Core is an effort that recognizes if Georgia students are going to be compared with students in other parts of the country, Georgia should be teaching to the same standards of what students are expected to know and be able to do. Deal said that makes good sense. It also makes testing more meaningful since test scores of children who have been taught one thing can’t be compared with test scores of children who have been taught something different.

“And we have been somewhat the victim I think in the past of our textbooks, and our material has generally all been dictated by the three large states that had the most student population, the New York, and the Texas and the Californians, and each of those states had standards that were different than the state of Georgia,” Deal said. “So what we are currently doing with (Criterion Referenced Competency Tests) is testing them to a standard, and many times the material that has been available to the teachers and to the students is material that is written to the standards of another state. So this is an effort to try to get it all on the same track. I think that’s the effort that we should continue to follow.”

Federal involvement

Deal said he wasn’t sure why the Republican National Committee had denounced Common Core.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I really haven’t had any communications with them.”

Deal said he intended for Georgia to continue with the Common Core initiative.

“Until somebody can show me a reason for deviating from it, and I think anytime you take major action like that, you have to have a good justification for it,” he said.

Deal acknowledged, however, that the federal government does have a strong role in the funding of Common Core.

Georgia was awarded $400 million as part of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program. And part of the state’s Race to the Top application required a commitment to the Common Core standards.

“So if there’s any federal involvement, I suppose that would be it,” Deal said.

State Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb), chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a former chairman of the Cobb Board of Education, said he has concerns about Common Core.

Tippins said he favors having uniform standards as to what represents excellence in instruction and learning.

“The problem is the process I feel like has been hijacked by the federal government,” Tippins said. “And I think there’s been a very liberal line of philosophy that will be driven through the social studies and the English (curricula).”

He said he doesn’t believe the language arts and math standards are high enough.

“I think in principle what they say this is all about is probably sound, but the process I feel like has been hijacked, and I’m not real comfortable with the end project that I’ve seen,” he said.

States do have the ability to opt out of Common Core, Tippins said.

Yet, local school boards are placed in a dilemma. About 85 percent of the standards are dictated by the federal government, leaving 15 percent of “wiggle room” for local school boards to deviate from the national standards, he said.

“To me that’s not very operable, and it’s certainly not efficient,” Tippins said. “I do not believe that we need federally mandated curriculum standards or instructional standards because I don’t know of anything that the federal government has done that you could brag about. I’ve seen no projects that have ever come in on time and under budget that accomplish much to the taxpayers’ satisfaction within the last 20 years of government. So I’m very skeptical of a federal program in education.”

Finding solutions

Tippins is one Cobb Republican who believes Common Core federalizes education.

Expect the topic to come up next session in the Senate Education Committee if he remains the chairman, Tippins said.

Some have expressed opposition to Common Core, but wondered what to replace it with. Tippins said the solution is not a difficult one.

“I think one thing you need to do is look at the states that are acknowledged to have the best instructional standards in the United States and start with that,” he said. “One of the problems with education when you start to solve a problem I think quite often everyone feels that they need to start and reinvent the wheel. We need to find out what’s successful in different areas, and we need to implement it.”

As for a vote on spending millions to purchase Common Core math materials that the school board was expected to take Thursday evening, Tippins said the board has the right to do what it wants.

“Probably if I were sitting on the board, my opinion would be if I was faced with this and the pushback had arisen that has arisen on this I would probably vote to table it and discuss it for either two weeks or four weeks,” Tippins said. “I think if there are questions in the public’s mind, I think the questions ought to be answered.”

 

Comments
(27)
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Dear Gov. Deal,
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May 13, 2013
If Georgia wanted Race to the Top money or a NCLB waiver they had to adopt the CCS. Common Core was being pushed above any other standards as you can see below from this excerpt in the Race to the Top application:



Reviewer Guidance Specific to (B)(1)(i)(b) – Significant Number of States:

“High” points for significant number of States are earned if the consortium includes a majority of the States in the country."



The PARCC consortium that Georgia is a part of is funded by the Feds. They’ve also set up a review committee for the assessments. That is federal control - assessments and standards drive curriculum. No one dictated to Georgia what text books are available; we could have purchased any textbooks we wanted. The most ironic thing Georgia/you are complicit in is helping to create a text book monopoly which will make it difficult for states that do not implement the Common Core, private schools and even home schoolers to find materials not aligned to the Common Core.



The good justification? How about these standards were never field tested.



You are complicit in saddling Georgia with an additional $30 million per year to implement the PARCC assessments if we do not withdraw.



The Georgia legislature was bypassed in the decision-making or even input process; surely your belief in republicanism and the constitutional system of checks and balances where the citizens conduct their affairs for their own benefit rather than for the benefit of a ruler is still within you.

Please reconsider your support of CCSS.
Matt Shultz
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May 02, 2013
The GOP is missing a real opportunity in this Common Core debate...

http://www.mattshultz.org/?p=1449
BillinGeorgia
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April 29, 2013
A Republican Governor that is in for Big Government to destroy our schools.

Why can't we make our own standards at the local level?

Why do we need some bureaucrat in Washington DC, polishing their fingernails all day making these decisions?
Randolph Phillips
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April 29, 2013
The Common Core Standards are part of the curriculum, and there is no way around that, even if classroom content is not specifically set forth.

We need to abolish the US Department of Education in order to end the federal control of local and state education systems. Ronald Reagan tried to do it, but failed.

Bush 1 got elected President in 1988 partly on a promise to end the DOE, but reneged. He appointed RINO Rockefeller Republican Lamar Alexander who partnered with Corporate CEOs and made the Dept. bigger. Clinton did the same. Bush 2 made it even bigger. Bill Gates, Obama, Obama's sent money to governors around the country to create thess standard in a federal, state, Corporate partnership to get the Common Core program in place.

Sadly, Bush 3 in waiting, Jeeebb--is already working "to improve education" with Obama Buddy Gates. So we know where education is going uder Bush 3--where it's going with Obama. Under Washington control.
No Deal
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April 28, 2013
CCS are all about money, and Deal is a businessman. He knows nothing about education, like many of his colleagues in politics, and yet he tries to talk about it as if he has the best interests of kids at heart. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am an equal opportunity critic, though; Race to the Top is also a junk program with nothing behind it other than making educational materials publishers filthy rich. People of all political persuasions have sold out our kids. It's all about what sounds good and makes money, and that is why we are at the bottom.
Anons Mate
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April 27, 2013
Quote: "They say they fear it will lead to the federalization of education and loss of local control." Well, blessed be. With the mess local control does in this state with education and the pea brains that run it locally, blessed be.

anonymous
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April 27, 2013
What cracks me up every day is that 99% of the haters out here provide something to hate, but none of them provide ways to get the state of education in Georgia out of the gutter...and it is way in the gutter. Can we say almost last place in comparison to the rest of the nation?

All I hear again is complain, complain, complain. If Georgia has so many brilliant educators that are being paid far below their worth, then why don't some of these educators come up with solutions instead of complaints?

I had a boss tell me once, "If you want to achieve success for yourself and you want to achieve success for this company, please don't bring me problems. I already know what the problems are. Bring me solutions. Problem providers are a dime a dozen; problem solvers are one in a million." Well, I took that advice and am successful.

I see hundreds of complaints. I have yet to see one solution offered to get Georgia out of the gutter in terms of education. Georgia students deserve far better than the leadership they currently have, which is leadership that makes them almost last in the entire nation as far as education.

The focus needs to be on this: What makes Georgia almost last in the nation? What can we do to better this? What are we doing wrong (and we are doing something wrong) that makes us almost last place? What can we do to make us first place?

Think about it. Deal says Common Core makes sense. Well, any alternative makes sense to look at to improve the quality of education in Georgia. We only have about one percentage point more to sink to last place in the U.S. What a horrid shame.
Randolph Phillips
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April 29, 2013
Anonymous. Most educators know what is wrong with the education system, but it is not politically correct to talk about fixing it. I know. I was a Georgia state Representative, and served on the House Education Committee 12 years.

$40 million schools with 2000 kids do not a good school system make, no matter how big the gym is nor whether or not it has an Olympic pool for "PE' purposes.

Good instruction and a real academic curriculum, not one as Zell Miller wrote, of "political correctness drivel", which offers hundreds of courses in the $40,000,000 building, many of which should have no place in an education system which does what schools should be doing. What should they be doing?

Dennis Gray, with the Council on Basic Education, once put it very simply: "Schools should concentrate on the intellectual development of children. Certain academic subjects are more important than others; All children can and should learn these subjects; Pupil progress should depend on pupil performance; teachers should be thoroughly grounded in the subjects they teach."

Instead we do not have a "common" within the classroom. We have individualized education programs for each child. Which means we have in theory a separate education system for each of the 2000 kids in the $40 million building. 2000 individual education systems. A system you can spend endless money on which still guarantees a failed education system, but boy is it expensive.

I could write you a fifty page essay but if you are interested in my 8 page version, email me at rphillips@windstream.net, call 706-846-2592. I'll send you a copy.
anonymous
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April 26, 2013
The DOE was deeply involved in the meetings that led to the creation of Common Core. It has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the two consortia that are creating the national tests that will align with CC. Most states that adopted CC did so to be eligible to compete for federal Race to the Top funding. To have a chance at that money, recession-racked states agreed to adopt the CC standards and the aligned national tests sight unseen. In addition, the Obama Administration tied NCLB waivers to CC adoption, making it very difficult for a state to obtain a waiver without agreeing to accept CC.

Most school districts believe that under Common Core, states will still control their standards – nothing could be further than the truth. A state that adopts CC must accept the standards word for word. It may not change or delete anything, and may allow only a small amount of additional content (which won’t be covered on the national tests). Just repeating that Common Core is only a set of standards, not curriculum is disingenuous at best .The point of standards is to drive curriculum. Ultimately, all the CC states will be teaching pretty much the same curriculum. In fact, the testing consortia being funded by the DOE admitted in their grant applications that they would use the money to develop curriculum models.

Randolph Phillips
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April 29, 2013
Anonymous, you are right, but you forgot one thing. Obama buddy and Corporate Hero Bill Gates and his foundation put up a lot of money and pressure on those Governors to take that bribe and put this horrendous system into practice. Obama, who is fighting for the feds to run our classrooms, loves it.

And JeeBB Bush is working with Gates in his Presidential bid, to "improve education".
bctman
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April 26, 2013
Governor Deal:

Because of your support of the common core, you have totally lost my support for you, I will not vote for you in the next election.
Kennesaw Resident
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April 26, 2013
That makes two of us! I cannot support him either. Governor Deal's record on education is appalling.
good republican
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April 26, 2013
I did not vote for him last time because of his shady dealings and now I will work hard against this RINO. Any politician who doesn't know the basics about a liberal program so huge, or whose staff can't figure it out after four years of Obama, isn't worthy of this office. My God man, how can you be so in the dark about an issue and be the governor?
Had To Laugh
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April 27, 2013
Governor Deal's record on education? When did Governor Deal sink Georgia to the bottom of the ocean? Governor Deal's record? What was the record before Governor Deal? What is appalling is how you loudmouths blame everything except the fact that the school system in Georgia is broken, yet all you people do is finger point and do absolutely nothing to improve it.
Terri LeGrand
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April 28, 2013
I agree
Kennesaw Resident
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April 29, 2013
@ Had to Laugh, I do something everyday to improve education - I teach. The standards I am handed are poorly written, but I do the best I can with them.

BTW, 100% of my students just passed the Microsoft Office Specialist Examination and will leave school with a professional certification in addition to their diploma. I teach in a Title 1 high school with 58% free and reduced lunch.

You owe me an apology.
MCS parent
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April 29, 2013
i agree, the CC Curriculum is unfair and unjust.. i have hope for our children to exceed, but a fair chance to all..rather rich, poor, advanced or special ed.. all children should be considered individuals. The world knows this take a look at a PBS. special..http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june13/broadband_03-22.html
Lunaville
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April 26, 2013
Aha! I knew that pinko Deal was an Obama supporter! :/
irate voter
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April 26, 2013
I am one person who is completely disillusioned by Gov. Deal. Common Core is just one more grab by the Fed. government to control the states. Every time the Feds stick their noses into our educational system, they make a mess of it. And one more thing, wonder if it has occurred to Deal and the rest of the pols who signed up for the internet sales tax that many small businesses are run from the internet. I will not vote for Deal or any other person who has gone for Common Core or the Sales Tax.
NO Deal
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April 26, 2013
It was always obvious Deal was going to go with anyone who offered him money. Absolutely no principles. With CC, the Smarter Balanced test will replace the standardized tests in all the states. It was designed by Linda Darling Hammond, a colleague of Bill Ayers, Underground Weatherman terrorist who believes the way to communist utopia is to give up on re-educating us...the goal now is to hijack our children. The Common Core has it’s beginnings in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge; Bill Ayers was one of it’s 3 co-authors. Arne Duncan and a whole host of other individuals are influenced by Ayers. Teachers are being taught strategies by Ayers proteges.
anonymous
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April 26, 2013
Since Linda Hammond knows Bill Ayers the obvious connection is he used Common Core to doctrinate children to his radical beliefs? Have you even read the common core? There is a basic outline of what children should understand in certain grade levels. Each year the understanding builds to more indepth knowledge. The only suggested materials come from each individual state, not the federal government. STATES developed the standards, not the feds. Your willingness to believe anything you read on a conspiracy website is frightening. Why don't you read the common core before you comment.
So very little
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April 26, 2013
Little kids take "the test" all over the country, and they do far better than children do here.

What do the teachers in the 48 or 49 states ahead of us teach to? Could we perhaps try teaching to whatever they are teaching to?

Maybe "our kids schools are failing because we are teaching to the test" is just a lame excuse given by a bunch of lazy entitled people?
Agreed
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April 27, 2013
You go. We couldn't have said it better. What ARE the other 48 or 49 states ahead of us teaching? Since there are so many Rhodes Scholars out here commenting, why don't these Rhodes Scholars come up with something about why we rank almost last in the nation in terms of education? Somebody is doing something right and it ain't us.
Deal is wrong
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April 26, 2013
In 2009, forty-six governors, (including Perdue) signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Governor’s Association committing their states to the development and adoption of new education standards within three years. States then had the option of adopting Common Core standards or creating their own equivalent standards. At the time, Common Core standards were simply an idea where states would collaborate to create uniformed education standards. Details about Common Core were not only unknown to the states, they did not exist! From there, Race To The Top (RTTT) grants and NCLB waivers were granted to states under the condition that each state would implement “college and career ready” standards. At the time, the only “college and career ready” standards with the DOE’s approval were Common Core.

In addition, the serious concerns regarding the DOE’s coercion of states to opt-in to Common Core standards, many of which were and continue to have serious budgetary issues and specific issues with existing education policies, was over the development of the Common Core standards themselves. Though initially promoted as state-based education standards, Common Core standards, as they have been developed over the last few years, are far from it. In just one very troubling instance, Common Core standards will replace state-based standardized testing with nationally-based standardized testing, the creation and initial implementation of which will be funded in full by the federal government. The long-term, annual administering of the exams, the cost of which has not been specified by the DOE, is to be funded by the states. GA already implements austerity cuts every year since 2003; where are they going to get the money for the assessments? State superintendent Barge says GA doesn't have the money. What do you think that will mean to local school districts?

Cobb School Advocate
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April 26, 2013
What a mess - Perdue, Deal and the Georgia Legislature are responsible for this mess !

Race to the Top federal funding was not applied for nor flowing to Cobb District. Ok, Senator Committee Educations Chairman Lindsey, you need to lead the discussions for the next few weeks and make a recommendation/conclusion for math books for Cobb - and then some recommendations for all of the misdirected wisdom under the Georgia Gold Dome ! Step up or out Cobb Legislative delegation ! It's your game !!!
anonymous
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April 26, 2013
The Common Core standards were initiated by private interests in Washington, DC, without any representation from the states. Neither the National Governors Association (NGA) (a trade association that doesn’t include all governors) or the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), another DC-based trade association - had a grant of authority from any particular state or states to write the standards. The bulk of the creative work was done by Achieve, Inc., a DC-based nonprofit that includes many progressive education reformers who have been advocating national standards and curriculum for decades. Massive funding for all this came from private interests such as the Gates Foundation. (Achieve, Inc., was subsequently purchased by InBloom who is Gates Foundation driven) Deal made a 'deal' with InBloom to bring jobs to Atlanta... so where do you think his allegiance will lie?
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