UPDATE: Brian Robinson, spokesman for Gov. Deal, is disputing the comments made by the MDJ’s sources at the Capitol, saying they are inaccurate. Here’s what Robinson said:
This has been our role in it. Last year he (Deal) signed an executive order that prevents any data sharing with the federal government, which is one of the major issues for opponents to Common Core. So that’s not going to happen. The Governor ordered a review by the Common Core standards by the state board of education and they’re going to do hearings around the state and we encouraged people to go and express their opinions on that. The governor’s caveat on that is that he will not support any changes to the standards that water down their rigor. We need to be competitive or more competitive than other states in this nation. That’s what we’ve done. Sen. Ligon has pushed this legislation and we have been engaged with him through this process to make sure that nothing lowers Georgia’s standards or rigor. That has been our interest in this. Sen. Ligon has said and will say that Gov. Deal has been a good faith partner who has worked with him throughout this entire legislative process and the governor has kept his word on what he would or wouldn’t do.
ATLANTA — The author of a bill that would allow Georgia to pull out of the controversial Common Core national standards announced Tuesday he would no longer support the legislation.
Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) had authored SB 167, legislation to gradually withdraw Georgia from the Common Core standards.
But after it passed out of the Senate, it landed in the House Education Committee chaired by Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth), a former Gwinnett County assistant superintendent.
Ligon said Coleman’s committee is releasing a substantially weaker substitute bill, which is why he is withdrawing his support. Ligon issued a press release saying the substitute bill “does nothing to stop our state from continuing its involvement in the national standards movement.”
Capitol sources tell the MDJ what has outraged Ligon and his supporters is that Gov. Nathan Deal “moved the goal posts.”
Deal originally promised to allow school districts to immediately pull out of the Common Core standards and return to the former Georgia Performance Standards once Ligon’s bill was signed into law.
But now that the bill has passed the Senate, Capitol sources say, Deal changed his mind and will not allow districts to return to Georgia Performance Standards.
Ligon has scheduled a press conference for noon today to discuss his reasons for withdrawing support from the bill. The meeting will be held in Room 203 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, located at 18 Capitol Square, Atlanta.
State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), who describes himself as a strong supporter of Georgia having independence over its own education standards, serves on the House Education Committee. Setzler said he’s reviewed a draft of the substitute bill and supports it.
“Anyone who really studies the differences will see that the House version has all the substance of the Senate bill and fixes some problems with implementation that makes the House version an even stronger version,” Setzler said. “It states very clearly that nothing the state of Georgia does represents giving up of our standards. Nothing we’ve done gives up control of our standards.”
Setzler said the bill also provides “an unprecedented level” of transparency and public involvement. It calls for a five-year process where standards are continually reviewed to make sure they are in line with what Georgians want.
“And then, lastly, it provides a very high level of protection of student personal data that’s maintained by the schools,” Setzler said.
The Georgia chapter of Concerned Women for America, a powerful conservative group that has lobbied hard against Common Core, also pulled its support of the bill Tuesday.