By: Nancy Jester
Depending on who you ask, Common Core is described as something from voluntary national standards to a federal takeover of education. So, what is it and what’s really going on?
Common Core is an initiative of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn … reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.”
No one would argue with these groups developing a set of voluntary standards that are rigorous and helpful for students as they prepare for college or the workforce.
The NGA and CCSSO may have had the best intentions, but as the process unfolded, political motivations and agendas took over. A recessionary economy and falling property values created budget crises in school districts across the country.
In the category of “never let a crisis go to waste,” those with agendas saw an opportunity to leverage school districts’ need for money with their vision for education.
Into this situation, President Obama’s Race to the Top grants offered a much needed infusion of federal money conditioned on adopting Common Core. At that point, Common Core ceased being voluntary and was no longer an effort to define rigorous standards with broad acceptance.
Once linked to grant money, the power over education standards shifted from states and districts to the federal level. Even though the NGA and CCSSO were responsible for the initiation of common standards, the use of federal grant money changed the nature of this effort.
Those who favor Common Core in Georgia still see it through the original lens of good intentions and dismiss or ignore the political appropriation of their efforts. Their reticence to acknowledge the usurpation of Common Core by the federal government is understandable given that most of the advocates invested their time and reputation into the initiative.
With states adopting Common Core under the lure of federal money, groups with political agendas regarding K-12 curriculum can target and obtain influence or control over the standards.
For example, Common Core displaces some traditional literature with informational texts to prepare students for workplace and technical writing.
That sounds innocuous enough, but what informational texts will they read? Perhaps they will be given EPA regulations on carbon emissions, DOJ writings on hate crimes or Department of Labor surveys on workplace diversity.
The politicization of learning is embedded in this standard. Centralized control also curtails innovation. It’s like going back to Ma Bell and doing away with the communications revolution brought to us by a competitive marketplace.
With Common Core in Georgia, we’re told that the standards are closely aligned with Georgia’s existing standards, as if that should make us all feel better.
In the early 2000s, the Georgia Department of Education adopted a social studies curriculum that is almost completely devoid of education on The Bill of Rights in elementary school. Yet, in third grade, we teach our children about the nine important people who “expanded rights.” Those nine people are: Paul Revere, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Mary McLeod Bethune, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Lyndon B. Johnson, and César Chávez.
The same Georgia Department of Education asks us to trust them on adopting Common Core standards. The Georgia DOE that has been at the helm as we performed so poorly as a state on most education metrics. When some of our elected officials say they are being informed about Common Core by the experts from our DOE, I’m concerned about the advice they are receiving.
Our state spends in the top 10 nationally on education, yet, most of our education metrics hover in the bottom five. We have to admit that we need a change in leadership on educational issues in Georgia. Rigorous standards need to be adopted, but they must be part of a process that continues to innovate and is not beholden to a central authority. Georgia has a long road ahead but Common Core is not a path to prosperity.
- DeKalb Schools 2020 Graduation Rates
- Black Lives Matter in DeKalb Schools
- Giving Grace Network – Hardships For Children
- DeKalb Schools 2018 and 2019 Independent Auditor’s Reports
- Sept Survey Results – Updated Input on Returning to School
- Teacher Town Hall – My Notes
- Football Spectators – Billboards – Teacher Town Hall
- DeKalb Schools Is Returning to Face to Face Learning
- Re-Open Athletics & Schedule
- Booster Club Policy Townhall
- Formula To Calculate Moving To Hybrid
- COVID-19 Cases Trending Down
- Divisive Statement By Dr. Joyce Morley
- Conditions To Move To Hybrid
- Sports – DeKalb Schools Delays Athletics
- School Virtual Opening Update
- Professional Development Institute
- DeKalb Schools Approved 2020-2021 School Calendar
- Micro-Schools – Students & Teachers Coming Together
- DeKalb Schools New 2020-2021 School Calendar
- Results – School Re Opening Survey
- DeKalb Notice of Property Tax Increase
- Opening Schools in Metro Atlanta
- DeKalb Schools Re-Opening Update
- Survey Results – DES 4/5 Academy Site Name
- DeKalb Schools Re-Opening Framework
- Public Input on Name of DES 4/5 Academy
- DeKalb Schools – FY2021 Budget Considerations
- Meeting 2 – Naming Committee – DES 4/5 Academy
- DeKalb Schools Approves TSA Settlement
- Cheryl Watson-Harris – DeKalb Schools Superintendent – Sole Finalist
- Meeting 1 – Naming Committee – DES 4/5 Academy
- Officially Naming the DES 4/5 Academy
- CDC’s Considerations For Schools
- Virtual Classrooms – The Future of DeKalb Schools
- Superintendent Search & Anna Hill, CPA, For Board of Education
- Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremonies
- FY2020 Metro Atlanta Teacher Salary Comparison
- Superintendent Crew – Positive Public Feedback
- Rudy Crew – DeKalb Schools Superintendent – Sole Finalist
- 2020 Graduation Ceremonies – Superintendent Student Advisory Council
- How Do I Claim My ‘A’ And Call It A Year
- DeKalb Schools – End Of Year Guide For Students And Families
- DeKalb Schools Closing – Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Central Office Reorg
- 2021 Utilization Matrix
- DeKalb Schools Audit Policy Debate
- FAQ – Fall 2020 Redistricting Plan
- E-SPLOST V Revision Plan
- Fall 2020 Redistricting Elementary Schools
- Trailer Count Across DeKalb Schools
- Nancy Creek Elementary – Immediate Relief For Dunwoody & Chamblee Clusters
- Dunwoody Elementary School Redistricting & Utilization
- Removed SPLOST Projects & GO Bond
- Redistricting Round 4
- Correcting Operations Austin Redistricting Guidance
- DeKalb Schools Volunteer Policy
- New CFO – DeKalb Schools
- Dunwoody Cluster Redistricting – Round 3
- Doraville United Redistricting – Round 3
- 2019 – 7 Year Enrollment Forecasts – Dunwoody Elementary Schools
- 2019 Enrollment Forecasts For Chamblee & Cross Keys Elementary Schools
- Dunwoody – Elementary School – Growth Projections
- Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson
- DeKalb Schools 2020-2021 Approved Calendar
- Tomorrow Vote Yes-Robert Miller And NO-Revised Ethics Act
- DeKalb Schools 2020-2021 Calendar
- New Visitor and Volunteer Policy
- DeKalb Schools Calendar FactChecker Poll
- Austin Elementary School Redistricting – Round 2
- 2020-2021 Calendar Options
- DeKalb Schools Calendar Update
- Jester Community Town Hall
- Doraville United Redistricting – Round 2
- DeKalb Schools E-SPLOST Project Recommendations
- Public Feedback Results – GO Bond & E-SPLOST Projects
- News & Updates – 10/7/2019
- AP Exams – Return on Investment
- Capacity Determination Guide
- Redistricting First Round Summary – Austin and Doraville United
- Meeting Tonight – Redistricting Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools
- Coffee Talk With Stan Jester And Friends
- IEP Accommodations Neglected
- DeKalb Schools 2019 Graduation Rates
- Redistricting – Geographic Proximity – Austin And Doraville United
- DeKalb Schools 2020 Graduation Schedule
- Air Conditioning at Chamblee Charter High School
- Not Fans of the GO Bond
- E-SPLOST/GO Bond Discussion Materials
- 2019 Chromebook Rollout Update
- Cross Keys HS – 2019 Milestones Results
- Redistricting Dunwoody Cluster Elementary Schools
- Chamblee Charter HS – 2019 Milestones Results
- Dunwoody HS – 2019 Milestones Results
- DeKalb School Calendar 2020-2021 Update
- New Principals And Assistant Principals
- Functional School Restrooms By Law
- Smaller Schools Are Better Schools
- Public Meetings – GO Bond & E-SPLOST Projects
- Racially Insensitive Hairstyle Ban at Narvie Harris Elementary