Georgia education board opts to eliminate Common Core standards

(The Center Square) — The State Board of Education has approved changes to the state’s K-12 English Language Arts Standards, a move officials said eliminates the last vestiges of Georgia’s Common Core standards.

State education officials said the agency revised the standard via a “citizen-led, student-focused effort” that Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, announced in 2019. The approach was similar to the process for changing the K-12 Mathematics Standards, which the board adopted in August 2021.

The state will implement the new ELA standards during the 2025-26 school year — after two years of teacher training.

“Georgia’s new ELA standards eliminate the final remnants of Common Core in Georgia, fulfilling Governor Kemp’s and my commitment to Georgia-owned and Georgia-grown, clear, and developmentally appropriate standards for Georgia students,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in an announcement. “Knowing that early literacy is essential to all future learning, the standards place a strong emphasis on the fundamentals in the early grades.”

According to a Georgia Department of Education news release, the standards, initially posted for public comment in November 2022, aim to provide a strong literacy foundation starting in the early grades. In a statement, Kemp said the new standards will “give students a strong foundation for both literacy and success.”

According to the Georgia Milestones state results, in 2022, 36% of third graders and 44% of fourth graders were reading below their grade level. Georgia students’ literacy performance has caught the attention of state policymakers.

Last month, Kemp signed Senate Bill 211 to establish the Georgia Council on Literacy, a group of 30 appointees who review programs with an eye toward improving Georgia students’ literacy outcomes. The council will recommend ideas for improving literacy rates for students with learning disabilities and dyslexia and students from low-income households.

“Giving these children a strong foundation in literacy will not only ensure that they have a pathway to individual success, but that Georgia has a strong foundation for economic prosperity in the future,” state Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, said in an announcement at the time.

The state education board adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative in July 2010. According to the education department’s website, the standards are “a state-led process to develop common standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics for grades K-12 which are internationally benchmarked and aligned to college and career readiness.”

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