I spent the day and much of the evening Tuesday, October 21st, at the final meeting of the House study committee on the federal government's role in education in Georgia. While the scope of the committee was very broad, much of the discussion within the meetings focused on the Common Core standards and whether Georgia should reconsider our adoption of the CCGPS in math and ELA. I spoke on behalf of the Georgia Science Teachers Association and communicated our position that, not only should we stay the course with the CCGPS, but that we should move into a review and revision of our science standards to align those with the Framework for Science Education
and the NGSS. This is a much stronger position than the DOE is taking at this point, but we are trying to drive the discussion forward. My presentation
was based on GSTA's recently adopted position statement
on science standards. You can view video archives and presentation materials from all four meetings on the committee website
Speakers at the meeting where evenly divided among proponents and opponents of the Common Core standards. One theme from both sides of the debate was that we may need to reconsider our heavy reliance on standardized testing. Another big theme from Common Core proponents is that, regardless of the standards, teachers need support in the form of professional learning and instructional resources. Common Core proponents also emphasized that the CCGPS offer greater promise for supporting learning among economically-disadvantaged and minority students. Common Core opponents spoke about the virtues of traditional approaches to education, and some lodged highly political attacks on the standards. The educators (teachers, board members, and superintendents) on the committee were very supportive of the standards. They tended to challenge Common Core opponents and ask supportive questions of Common Core proponents. The legislators were not as enthusiastic, but still appeared to support the standards. The fact that the committee chairman invited speakers from Achieve and College Board seems to be telling. Even more telling is that Achieve's president led off the meeting and the College Board representative, Trevor Packer, was scheduled to speak after a critic of the new APUSH framework.
The committee will issue a report by December 1st. This committee will not take any direct action, but that report will influence any direction the legislature might take when they come into session. Following the publication of that report, GSTA will continue to use our standards position statement as a basis for communication with education policy makers from the legislature, DOE, SBOE, and Governor's office.
GSTA is also working with GCTM, GCTE, GCSS, and the Georgia STEAM Alliance Network to publish an op-ed related to standards and instruction in Georgia. We will share that as soon as it is published. We will also be running an exhibitor's booth at the Biennial Institute
in December. That event is a professional learning conference for legislators hosted by UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
GSTA Legislative Committee Chair