Georgia will begin integrating new K-12 English Language Arts standards beginning next year, eliminating the last traces of the controversial Common Core program.
On Thursday, the State Board of Education voted in favor of State School Superintendent Richard Woods’ recommendation to adopt the new standards. The next two years will be dedicated to teacher training on the new standards, officials say, with implementation to follow.
“Georgia’s new ELA standards eliminate the final remnants of Common Core in Georgia, fulfilling Gov. (Brian) Kemp’s and my commitment to Georgia-owned and Georgia-grown, clear, and developmentally appropriate standards for Georgia students,” Woods said. “Knowing that early literacy is essential to all future learning, the standards place a strong emphasis on the fundamentals in the early grades. I appreciate the Georgia educators and citizens who participated in this process and allowed us to shape the best possible academic standards for our state.”
As with the K-12 mathematics standards adopted in August 2021, the ELA standards were revised through a citizen-led, student-focused effort first announced in 2019.
Drafted by Georgia ELA teachers with input from educational leaders, parents, students, business and industry leaders, and community members, the standards are designed to be clear, understandable, and prepare students to meet future challenges and become world-class learners, state officials said.
The standards feature built-in learning progressions across grade spans and within grade-level concepts, allowing teachers to remediate or accelerate learning as needed.
“Georgia’s students deserve a world-class education worthy of the No. 1 state for business,” Kemp said. “These updated and improved standards – created to prioritize learners with the input of parents and educators – will give students a strong foundation for both literacy and success. I want to thank Superintendent Woods, his team, and all those who shared their time and insight throughout this process.”
The draft standards leverage the insight and expertise of thousands of Georgians to support ELA instruction that is Georgia-developed and age- and developmentally appropriate. The standards are intentionally designed to provide a strong literacy foundation beginning in the early grades, including the addition of a specific Foundations domain throughout the K-5 standards.
The standards were first posted for public comment in November 2022. Teacher committees were reconvened to make updates in response to public feedback.
GaDOE responded to public feedback by streamlining and strengthening K-12 learning progressions; cleaning up and standardizing formatting; emphasizing grammar, usage and mechanics; and providing additional teacher clarity.
The standards were posted for a second 30-day public comment period in March 2023.
Throughout the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 school years, teachers will receive training and professional learning, new resources will be developed, assessments will be aligned to the updated standards, and communication will be provided to parents to ensure a smooth transition, state officials said.