Georgia Bill Filed That Would Withdraw State From Common Core

Georgia State CapitolState Senator William Ligon (R-Brunswick) has filed a bill in the Georgia Senate that would withdraw Georgia from the Common Core State Standards.  Senate Bill 167 was filed on Thursday.  It is cosponsored by State Senators Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), John Albers (R-Roswell), Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta), and Tommie Williams (R-Lyons).

The summary of the bill reads:

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Part 2 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the O.C.G.A., relating to competencies and core curriculum, so as to declare certain actions void ab initio relating to adoption of certain curricula; to prohibit state education agencies from entering into any commitments relating to the federal Race to the Top program; to require hearings and public input prior to adoption of state-wide competencies and content standards; to limit the compilation and sharing of personal student and teacher data; to prohibit the expenditure of funds for a state-wide longitudinal data system except for administrative needs and federal grant compliance; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Ligon explained on his Capitol Update page that the testimony given by former Texas Education Commissioner, Robert Scott, on the Common Core prompted him to author the legislation.  He said the Common Core usurps local and state control of education.  Ligon writes:

Here in Georgia, though we are receiving $400 million in federal funds over a four-year period, the General Assembly has not received a cost analysis for implementation, and long-term maintenance, of the terms of the grant. The Georgia General Assembly must hold the Department of Education accountable for these types of decisions that affect not only the education of our children but the pocketbook of our taxpayers.

Further, the accompanying tests, developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as the PARCC national testing consortium, will create such testing demands that this will probably become better known as No Child Left Behind on steroids. Scott informed us that the PARCC will cost approximately $30 to $37 per student, in comparison to Georgia’s current costs of between $5 to $10 per student. These estimates do not take into account the additional technology, both in hardware and bandwidth, that will be required at the local level for online testing.

The bottom line is that the people of Georgia pay over $13 billion in state and local taxes for K-12 education (every year). There is no reason that a $400 million federal grant (over four years) should usurp the constitutional rights of Georgia’s citizens to control the educational standards of this state.

The filing of Senate Bill 167 was followed by a commentary written by Michael Moore, professor of literacy education at Georgia Southern University, that was published by the Savannah Morning News.  Moore writes:

Georgia belongs to PARCC as did Alabama, until it recently opted out of both consortiums. Utah left last year and Colorado and Indiana currently have legislation to opt out of the consortiums, and South Carolina introduced legislation to opt out of the standards altogether.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through the National Governors Association and the organization of state school superintendents, funded the Common Core Standards, which are now the curricular coin of the realm in 46 states.

Race to the Top Money designed to sweeten the deal for joining the Common Core comes from the U.S. Department of Education. The Pioneer Institute in Massachusetts claims this federal funding runs afoul of three federal laws prohibiting the government from being involved in matters of curriculum.

The real dealbreaker, however, may be in the prohibitive costs of implementing all new tests.

Peter Dewitt, an elementary principal writing in Diane Ravitch’s blog, notes that “we lack the infrastructure to be testing factories, and that shouldn’t be our job in the first place.” Lawmakers, though, face increased lobbying from the same old test makers, Pearson, ETS and, the maker of Georgia’s tests, McGraw Hill. These companies stand to make fortunes on the assessments.

Georgia joins Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Utah, Michigan, Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Colorado and South Carolina who all have legislation addressing the Common Core filed with their state legislatures.