Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia Will Opt out of Common Core Testing; Conservatives Criticized the Tests as Amounting to a Loss of Local Control

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Georgia Will Opt out of Common Core Testing; Conservatives Criticized the Tests as Amounting to a Loss of Local Control

Article excerpt

Byline: Walter C. Jones

ATLANTA | Georgia won't be part of a multi-state testing plan that was part of the controversial Common Core curriculum agreement, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday.

Instead, Deal and State Superintendent of Schools John Barge said the state will come up with its own tests.

Opponents of Common Core said the new testing arrangement doesn't alleviate their complaints and instead raises new concerns.

Georgia was one of 22 states in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers formed to create standardized tests by the 2014-15 school year for math and English. It was to be a way to test students on a new set of education standards being implemented almost nationwide.

Conservatives have blasted the Common Core as a loss of local control. They have sponsored legislation in the General Assembly to withdraw from it, and it has become a lightning rod in some local school board meetings.

State Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick, applauded Deal and Barge but still worries the Common Core was not as demanding as Georgia's current curriculum.

"I think they made the right decision," Ligon said. "It removes some of our concerns, but the Common Core is still in place."

Ligon introduced a Senate bill to withdraw Georgia from Common Core, but it will not come up for a vote until the 2014 legislative session in January.

Deal's spokesman Brian Robinson said the budget was the governor's main reason, not bowing to political pressure.

"The governor supports this move because it's fiscally conservative, and it falls in line with the spirit of his executive order that protects the privacy of Georgia students," Robinson said.

Deal issued an executive order in May stating that curriculum decisions will continue to be made by local school boards and not the federal government. …

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