Georgia is withdrawing from the Common Core national assessments, and neighboring Florida could soon follow suit.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R), along with Superintendent John Barge, sent a letter to the district superintendents throughout the Peach State last week announcing the decision.
Georgia’s move highlights both immediate, practical concerns and long-term concerns over Common Core. Deal made clear that “Georgia can create an equally rigorous measurement without the high costs associated with this particular test.”
In 2010, Georgia entered into a partnership among 22 states called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to implement the Common Core national assessments, which has a price tag of $29.50 per student. Georgia’s current assessment expense is $10 per student. Common Core would add $27 million to the state’s testing budget.
Education leaders in Georgia also understand that doing what’s best for students means keeping educational decisions within the state and in the hands of local leadership—not distant bureaucrats.
Deal and Barge write:
Creating the tests in Georgia will ensure that the state maintains control over its academic standards and student testing, whereas a common assessment would have prevented [the Georgia Department of Education] from being able to adjust and rewrite Georgia’s standards when educators indicate revisions are needed to best serve students.
Meanwhile, the Florida state Senate has recommended immediate withdrawal from the Common Core tests. Florida Speaker of the House Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz implored Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett:
Florida’s strong education policies have made us a model for the nation and have resulted in extraordinary gains in student achievement. Too many questions remain unanswered with PARCC regarding implementation, administration, technology readiness, timeliness and utility of results, security infrastructure, data collection and undetermined cost. We cannot jeopardize fifteen years of education accountability reform by relying on PARCC to define a fundamental component of our accountability system. Our schools, teachers, and families have worked too hard for too long for our system to collapse under the weight of an assessment system that is not yet developed, designed nor tested.… It would be unacceptable to participate in national efforts that may take us backward and erode confidence in our accountability system and our trajectory of continued success. By ensuring decisions are uniquely tailored to our state, we reinforce our dedication to providing Floridians with an education that directly leads to success in the opportunities and challenges of our economy.
Common Core is already proving costly in terms of dollars and will prove even more costly in terms of educational liberty down the road. Educational decisions should be in the hands of those closest to the students: parents and local leaders. Exiting the Common Core national standards push makes it more likely that such decisions will be.