Senator William Ligon of Georgia led a recent press conference to discuss the reasons Georgia will do “everything in its power to release itself from the commitment of the Common Core and the P.A.R.C.C”.
Jane Robbins, Tish Strange, Sandra Stotsky, Ze’ev Wurman and others also spoke at this press conference.
Senator William Ligon explained more about SB 167 in his Facebook update from last week: “Capitol Update: Feb. 25 – March 5”
Review of Action on SB 167 (Legislation to Withdraw from Common Core)
Prior to last week’s hearing on SB 167 before the Senate Education Committee, Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) told members of the press that it was time to withdraw Georgia from its participation in the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
The Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) were adopted on July 8, 2010 under Governor Sonny Perdue‚s administration as part of the state’s efforts to comply with the Federal Race to the Top (RTTT) grant. The Common Core represents the first attempt at nationalized curriculum standards in math and English language arts (ELA) for grades K – 12. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is responsible for the development of assessments that will be aligned to the Common Core.
“Though I am sure the previous administration had the best of intentions when deciding to apply for Race to the Top, the lack of accountability to the parents and taxpayers of this state is stunning,” said Sen. Ligon. “First of all, there has been no thorough cost analysis of what the unfunded mandates will cost Georgia’s taxpayers at either the state or the local level to implement and maintain the terms of the grant.”
“Secondly, allowing a consortium of states to work with non-profits and other unaccountable parties to develop our standards without open public oversight is untenable in a country of free people, especially considering that Georgia’s taxpayers support K-12 education with approximately $13 billion of hard-earned dollars every year,” Sen. Ligon explained. “Georgia needs to have a transparent, democratic process of developing curriculum standards and a means to ensure more direct accountability at the local level. Our educational system should not be accountable to Washington bureaucrats, but to the people of this state who pay the taxes and to the parents who have children in our public schools.”
Lending his voice of support to the effort, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle stated, “The most important task we face each Legislative Session is finding ways to strengthen and reform the education of Georgia’s children. I believe that Georgians know best how to educate our children, not Washington, D.C. bureaucrats. I look forward to working with Sen. Ligon on this important issue to ensure that we‚re able to continue making decisions about the education of our children right here in Georgia rather than having curriculum standards enforced from Washington, D.C.”
During the press conference and at the hearing, Sen. Ligon was joined by Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core Validation Committee and as senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education; Ze‚ev Wurman, a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and former Senior Adviser at the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in the U.S. Department of Education; Jane Robbins, a Harvard-trained attorney and Senior Fellow with the American Principles Project; and Dr. Jim Arnold, Superintendent of Pelham City Schools, GA.
In addition, a number of grassroots organizations, parents, citizens, and K-12 as well as collegiate educators offered testimony in support of SB 167 at the hearing which took place before a standing-room only crowd. Groups included organizations such as Concerned Women for America, Americans for Prosperity, American Principles Project, Georgia Conservatives in Action, Citizen Impact, the Conservative Leadership Coalition, the Georgia Republican Assembly, the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leaders, among others.
Action has been deferred on the legislation due to the fact that time constraints and the dynamics of the Senate would prevent the bill from reaching the House this session even if it had passed the committee.
Sen. Ligon will take up the bill next January, as well as SB 203, the companion legislation to establish a transparent, democratic process for the adoption of curriculum standards.