Georgia’s Board of Education plans to discuss a request next month by Governor Nathan Deal to review the Common Core. Common Core is a set of standardized benchmarks of academic progress that several states voluntarily adopted. Georgia signed on in 2010 and implemented the standards beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.
This week, however, Governor Deal sent state school board members a letter asking for a formal evaluation of the curriculum standards. In the letter, Deal said he is requesting a review because of concerns from state lawmakers. Some conservatives have fought Common Core, concerned that the standards are an attempt by the federal government to take over education.
Deal’s request was a departure from his earlier stance on Common Core. He has largely stood by the standards.
He responded to concerns in May with an executive order.
“It is hereby ordered that no educational standards shall be imposed on Georgia by the federal government. It is further ordered that all decisions regarding curriculum and instruction shall be made at the local level,” said Deal.
State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said he was surprised by Deal’s review request.
“I think it’s something that is certainly within his spectrum of concern, I guess,” said Dr. Barge. “But it should be something that we discuss. But it was not something that I knew anything about.”
Georgia State University Political Science Professor Steve Anthony said the move was likely motivated by the fact that Barge might run against Deal for Governor.
“Well, it seems that he is trying to distinguish himself, separate himself, create a different position on a significant issue from the Superintendent of education specifically,” explained Anthony. “Obviously he sees this as a threat or he would not be going through these motions.”
Barge said he will work with the board to review Common Core, though he said the Department of Education has already been evaluating the standards since the 2012-2013 school year ended.