Of the 19 parents, teachers and concerned citizens who spoke at Marietta High School, only three were in favor of Common Core.
Some suggested the Common Core material was “filled with propaganda” and as one parent put it, “flat-out sucks.”
Georgia Board of Education member Scott Johnson sat on the stage and listened as they voiced concerns.
About 75 people were in attendance.
“From what I understand, this is one of the best, if not the best attended as well as the speeches,” Johnson said.
Cobb resident Jan Barton said Common Core “is not rigorous and is dumbing our children down.”
Robin Dye, a parent of elementary school students, began her remarks by reading an excerpt of a book she said was on the reading list for high school juniors.
The passage began with “a bolt of desire” and the following sentences read as an adult romance novel, with explicit content and profanity.
“It is time to do the right thing, and the right thing is to understand what is in this material and how bad it is,” Dye said.
Tiffany Fanin, a special education social studies teacher at South Cobb High School, also criticized Common Core. Fanin said while she has a passion for teaching, “it’s really hard for me to do that when I’m looking down the barrel of a test that I don’t even know what it looks like.
“I’m banging my head against the wall here,” she said. “It’s not fair to the kids, and it’s not fair to me.”
First to speak in favor of Common Core was Charlie Harper, editor of the political blog Peach Pundit.
“We’ve been 49th in education my entire lifetime,” Harper said. “We’ve got to do better. Change scares us all, but there’s a reason for it.”
When another supporter stated “there wasn’t an outcry before,” a woman in the audience interjected, “That’s because we didn’t know about it.”
Supporters of Common Core say the initiative creates a consistent set of education standards across the country, proving helpful, for example, to military families when they move from one state to another.
Critics view Common Core as a move to federalize education, taking away local control.
Among the speakers was Cobb Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci, who said during her remarks Common Core was an “absolute overreach of the federal government.”
After the hourlong forum, Angelucci said people are researching Common Core and drawing their own conclusions.
“I think you’re going to see this more and more,” she said. “There are more and more parents and citizens that don’t even have children that understand what this means to us in the long run.”
After listening to the commentary, Johnson thanked the crowd and spoke with attendees afterward.
“This has been a lesson in democracy tonight,” he told the crowd. “We’re all stakeholders in education.”
The Georgia General Assembly nearly pulled the state out of Common Core this spring, but ultimately opted not to. State school board members are holding public hearings across Georgia to hear what residents have to say about Common Core as part of the board’s evaluation of the standards.