By Wayne Washington
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia leaders announced today that the state will not offer a new and expensive standardized test tied to the controversial set of national standards called Common Core.
In rejecting the test, Gov. Nathan Deal and Superintendent John Barge cited its cost, which could have been as high as $27 million — slightly more than the state’s entire K-12 testing budget.
Georgia will offer assessments developed by education officials in this state, who will continue working with their counterparts in the region toward the goal of offering a regional test.
“Assessing our students’ academic performance remains a critical need to ensure that young Georgians can compete on equal footing with their peers throughout the country,” Deal said in a joint statement with Barge released by the state Department of Education. “Georgia can create an equally rigorous measurement without the high costs associated with this particular test. Just as we do in all other branches of state government, we can create better value for taxpayers while maintaining the same level of quality.”
Georgia’s decision to pull out from the 22-state consortium developing the test is another sign of the growing unease across the country with the test and with Common Core, which some have criticized as a national takeover of public education.
Barge cited costs, technical concerns and fears that the test could limit the state’s flexibility in crafting its own curriculum as reasons for not offering the test, which was supposed to be given to Georgia students as soon as the 2014-2015 school year.