'Common Core' opposed in Senoia
by SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Editor's Note: State education officials have responded to this story, which they say contains several factual errors in regards to Common Core, especially that it comes from the federal government. You can read the state response HERE.
A Georgia organization has been formed to oppose the implementation of the federal "Common Core" educations standards, and a representative from the group spoke Thursday night at the town hall meeting in Senoia.
Common Core will eradicate all school choices, said Angelia Bean, because students in charter schools and home schooled students will still have to take the same standardized tests based on common core, known as PARCC tests, Bean said.
The federal government has already released the math and English/Language Arts common core standards, with more on the way. So far, 46 states have signed on to the standards, including Georgia, according to Bean.
Last month, the Coweta County Board of Education voted to move forward with the purchase of new math textbooks for all grades — books that are aligned with the new Georgia Common Core Performance Standards.
Bean and the Senoia Tea Party Patriots are hoping to get a group together to go to the school board's June 11 meeting to convince them to back off on that purchase.
"There is a battle going on, but it is a battle we can win," said Joe Cannin of the Senoia Tea Party Patriots. "We are looking for people to stand up and talk about this to the board."
"There is a movement and we need to be involved and we need to have local people speaking up," Cannin said.
State School Superintendent John Barge will be in Fayette County Monday, June 10 at Sams Auditorium in Fayetteville. The event begins at 7 p.m. Bean encouraged those interested to come and "learn the truth about Common Core."
In Cobb County, concerned parents defeated the purchase of the Common Core math textbooks. A hundred citizens turned out to the school board meeting, Bean said.
States got stuck with Common Core when they accepted federal Race to the Top funds, which were part of the stimulus package in 2009, according to Bean. As part of the program, "they would have to give up their state education standards and agree to adopt the common national standards."
Several states "decided it wasn't worth it," Bean said. Especially since the standards hadn't even been written at the time.
And it all happened without a vote from the state legislature, which she said is unconstitutional.
"Are they great standards? Unfortunately, no," Bean said. "We have discovered… that they were actually lower standards than what Georgia was using prior to giving up the Georgia Performance Standards. We had just created the Georgia Performance Standards."
Common Core is "the nail in the coffin for local control and parental control," Bean said.
A bill was introduced in the 2013 Georgia General Assembly session to withdraw Georgia from Common Core, but it never got out of committee, she said.
There are also concerns about the longitudinal data system that goes along with Common Core. The system is designed to collect up to 400 data points on each child, which can include personally identifiable data, she said. The data will be collected by a company called inBloom, created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Coweta school system purchase approved last month totaled $1.86 million in math textbooks for grades K-12.
It was past time to buy new math books, said Dean Jackson, public information officer for the Coweta County School System. A committee made up of teachers and parents chose the new books from among all books that aligned with the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards.
In previous years, the school board tried to follow a six-year replacement cycle. In recent years, due to budget constraints, they haven't bought as many new books.
However, 2013 was a math year. The current stocks of math textbooks are very low or in disrepair and all the existing tests were "very far out of alignment with state curriculum following the changes to the state's math curriculum over the last six years."
The committee focused on the rigor and pedagogical approach, whether the texts met the system's college and career ready goals and whether or not they matched the "standards-based mathematics curriculum required by the state of Georgia."
"There have been significant changes in the state’s curriculum over the last several years, first to a standards-based approach (the Georgia Performance Standards), and then recently to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, which uses the standards of the common core," Jackson said. "The textbooks recommended by the committees, and adopted by the board, align with these standards, and provide the system flexibility, with digital resources, to make adjustments to those standards if needed."
Bean's organization has a website, www.stopcommoncore.com .