Over the past two years, CWA of Georgia has fought tirelessly alongside other activists in the state to rid Georgia of the Common Core Standards. Even though the state legislature refused to pass legislation to halt the implementation of the Common Core Standards, the groundswell of opposition to this federal overreach into our state education system has not subsided.
Despite the fact that the opposition to Common Core continues, Georgia’s children and taxpayers are about to bear the brunt of the recent decision by the Department of Education to shackle the state to a five-year, $107.8-million testing contact. State School Superintendent John Barge and the State Board of Education (appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal) announced last week that it has awarded a contract to CTB/McGraw-Hill to develop Georgia’s new testing system that is aligned to the Common Core Standards. The implementation of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (Georgia Milestones) begins in the 2014-15 school year and replaces the current Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) and End of Course Tests (EOCT).
Here is why you need to be concerned:
- The new tests are aligned to the Common Core Standards, so Georgia children will already be at a deficit on the new tests. It is reckless for the State Board of Education to shackle Georgia’s students to the unvetted, untested, and subpar Common Core Standards.
- The new tests will include more open-ended questions that cannot be graded electronically. Open-ended questions are expensive to grade and are scored by subjective graders.
- By the fifth year of the contract, all tests will be administered electronically. Who is going to bear the costs of the increased need for bandwidth and computers? Will this become an unfunded mandate for local school districts?
- It is unclear how much control Georgia will retain over the development of test questions. According to one news article, “The exam is being developed by an outside company, which the state paid $108-million for. It will also be worked on by local education leaders.” Time will tell on how much work will be done by these “local education leaders.”
It is unconscionable for Dr. Barge to have rammed through a five-year, $108 million testing contract six months before leaving office. This decision should have been left to the new superintendent who will take office in January 2015, since the new superintendent will be responsible for the administration of and results of the new tests.
Contact the following offices and tell them you oppose any test that is fully aligned to the Common Core Standards.
- Gov. Nathan Deal – (404) 656-1776
- State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge – (404) 656-2800
- State School Board Chair Helen Rice – (404) 657-7410
Pray that the parents of Georgia will rise up against this assault on their children. Ask the Lord to open their eyes to what is happening in classrooms across this state.