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House Study Committee voices support of Common Core
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Parents, teachers, superintendents and state legislators are warily supportive of Common Core standards.

Such was the consensus at the end of a meeting of the House Study Committee on the Role of the Federal Government in Education.

The committee held its final meeting at the state Capitol on Thursday, when it discussed Common Core Performance Standards and heard a presentation from Helen Odom Rice, 3rd Congressional District member of the State Board of Education.

Parents, teachers, superintendents and state legislators are warily supportive of Common Core standards.

Such was the consensus at the end of a meeting of the House Study Committee on the Role of the Federal Government in Education.

The committee held its final meeting at the state Capitol on Thursday, when it discussed Common Core Performance Standards and heard a presentation from Helen Odom Rice, 3rd Congressional District member of the State Board of Education.

“I want to tell you that the state board has not been asleep at the helm,” Rice said. “We’ve had a plan, and we’re putting that plan into action.”

Rice discussed at length the state board’s recent review and evaluation process, which resulted in revisions to the standards in English language arts and mathematics.

The evaluation was a result of Gov. Nathan Deal’s executive order for a formal review of the standards.

Committee Co-Chairman Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, said, as a legislator and not an educator, he was glad to hear responses and comments from teachers and superintendents.

“Just listening to the debate and comments we’ve heard, I still have some concerns for the state board,” Rogers said. “... I hope you’ll be more transparent in the future.”

The survey results are part of the state’s efforts to remain transparent with Georgians when it comes to Common Core. Survey responses included requests for clarity of the standards themselves and the expectations they carry. More specific concerns were regarding math, specifically discreet versus integrated mathematics courses, and the concept of differentiated learning methods.

Teachers have also requested more time to learn how to teach to the standards better and more resources to help them achieve the standards.

“We’re listening to those teachers,” Rice said.

Sarah Ballew Welch, English teacher at Fannin County High School, said she believes, with tweaking, the standards can help Georgia students reach the necessary level.

“For me in secondary English, the Common Core has been very effective,” she said. “It’s brought an increased rigor to our classroom.”

Justin Adams, math teacher at Henderson Middle School in Butts County, said he wants the state to nail down what exactly it is asking with Common Core Performance Standards.

“I do have a problem with a moving target. ... If we were to abolish the Common Core, we would just move backwards to the Georgia Performance Standards,” he said. “Teachers are tired of moving targets.”

Fulton County Schools’ Superintendent Robert Avossa said he believes the question of overall content should be led by and left to the state board and should not be a legislative issue.

Co-Chairman Rep. Brooks Coleman echoed Avossa’s sentiments, but went a step further.

“I personally don’t know that we should be legislating curriculum,” Coleman said. “But that’s just a statement.”

Eric Johnson, committee member and parent of two Lowndes County students, said he is a proponent for Common Core, but it could be improved with better communication between parents, teachers and students.

“I think it’s sort of like a business,” Rice said. “You open a new business and take three to five years to grow and get accustomed to that business.”

Coleman said the comments made by all committee members would be put together and sent out soon after the meeting.

“Going forward, we’ll trust the governor, putting everything on the table the next three years,” Rogers said. “What they’ll be and how they’ll be, we’ll have to see.”

 

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