GA standards - real reform or smoke and mirrors?

This year, the Georgia State Board of Education has revised its academic standards in reading, math, science, and social studies - the first major curriculum overhaul in the Peach State in nearly two decades. And last week, the board voted to adopt the new standards for K-12 science, middle school English, and K-8 math. The board has yet to vote on the contentious new social studies standards, which received 3,000 of the 5,000 comments posted on the board's website during the public comment period and were the focus of a Gadfly debate earlier this year. (See Gadfly, Volume 4, Number 4 and Gadfly, Volume 4, Number 5 for more.) Georgia officials are heralding these new curriculum changes as the answer to the state's education woes: "We have great hope that these standardized curriculum guidelines will improve Georgia's student performance on the state CRCT and national measures such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test," an editorial in the Macon Telegraph reported. "The sweeping reform of what is taught in our schools should also positively impact the new Adequate Yearly Progress reports that rate schools' effectiveness in teaching rather than students' mastery of knowledge." Fortunately, you won't have to wait long to see if outside analysts share this optimism. In a couple of months, we'll unveil Fordham's new reviews of state English and math standards, the first such since enactment of NCLB.

"State curriculum gets new look," by Adam Crisp, Savannah Morning News, July 9, 2004

"Curriculum changes could lead state out of the mire," Macon Telegraph, July 9, 2004