Perdue Says He Still Supports Common Core Education Standards

Aug 28, 2013

Sonny Perdue
Credit WABE 90.1 FM

  Republican Gov. Nathan Deal recently asked the state board of education to review a new set of education standards called the Common Core. The standards have become controversial within Deal’s own party. But the Common Core was championed a few years ago by another Republican, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Before the Common Core came along, every state had its own educational standards. That patchwork quilt-approach made it tough to compare student achievement from state-to-state. 

So in 2009, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association devised a common set of standards states could adopt. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue co-chaired the association at the time and strongly supported the standards. Recently, Perdue told WABE he still does.

“It lined up with the way other students internationally are performing,” Perdue said. “And we expect the best of the best. I see no reason with having those kind of standards. It was created by governors and adopted by governors and states, and I think they’re great standards to ascribe to.”

Georgia is one of 45 states that have opted-in to the Common Core. Washington, D.C. has also. Georgia officials approved the standards in 2010, and schools implemented English/Language Arts and math standards last year.

But recently, some state GOP lawmakers have opposed Georgia’s participation, calling the standards a national curriculum. However, Perdue says those members of his party need to remember the Common Core is a state-led initiative.

“This is not a federally-mandated system,” he says. “It was created out of the National Governors Association, Democrats and Republicans. If people want to debate the policies of that, I would hope that they use accuracy and facts in their debate.”

State education officials have repeatedly said Georgia’s previous standards were used to help write the Common Core. Georgia Superintendent John Barge has said there’s 90% alignment between the two.

Nonetheless, Gov. Deal has asked the state board to compare the two sets of standards as part of their review.  The board is expected to establish a plan for evaluating the standards by their September meeting.