During a meeting Monday evening in which the angst over arithmetic was akin to the night before an algebra exam, the Fayette County School Board voted 4-1 to buy Common Core math textbooks at a cost of $1.6 million.
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WHAT IS COMMON CORE?
Common Core refers to a set of national education standards embraced by Georgia, 44 other states, the District of Columbia and a pair of U.S. territories.
The National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers began a push to create a set of national standards in 2008.
Some elected officials, business leaders and many in academia argued that the nation’s students needed to be better prepared for college, the workplace and global competition. Having students in Georgia be able to meet the same standards as those in, say, Connecticut, Hawaii or Iowa would improve education in the United States, they argued.
Embracing that argument, the National Governor’s Association — which was co-chaired by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue — worked with CCSSO, state departments of education and private, nonprofit education groups to produce a set of national standards.
Working groups of education and business experts, including some from Georgia, wrote the standards and shared them with officials from state education departments.
The process of having states agree to adhere to the standards varied from state to state. In July 2010, the state Board of Education voted to have Georgia adhere to the standards.
The Obama administration supports Common Core and has used its education funding grant process to encourage states to adhere to the new standards. No state is required to adhere to Common Core.
This past school year was the first during which Common Core standards were adhered to in English/language arts in kindergarten through grade 12. The standards were adhered to in science literacy, history and social studies in grades six through 12, and in math in kindergarten through ninth grade.
A national assessment, which would replace the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test given to some elementary and middle school students in Georgia, is expected to be offered during the 2014-2015 school year. That test, however, has not been developed, and officials in some states are concerned about its costs and effects on curriculum.
— Wayne Washington