Nathan Deal addresses Common Core rift in GOP

Jun 27, 2013 by

apple-150x150You already know that Gov. Nathan Deal is in a tricky spot when it comes to Common Core.

He’s embraced the voluntary reading, math and writing standards despite growing opposition from his conservative base. The Republican Party’s state committee voted unanimously Saturday on resolution that said the program “obliterates Georgia’s constitutional autonomy.”

And House Speaker David Ralston told the AJC he’s open to legislation that could withdraw or limit the state’s participation in the program.

On Tuesday, though, Deal tried to tamp down talk of imminent legislation. Pressed on his support for Common Core at a West Cobb Business Association luncheon, the governor said he’s talking with lawmakers about “what, if anything, we should do” to address the program. Then he launched into a spirited defense of the standards.

“I don’t have a problem with people having a concern with the federalization of anything, and I have concerns about that myself. I want to preserve the integrity of my state,” he said. “But at the same time I’m not willing to throw things that are appropriate and in place – and which we have already spent a lot of money on to train teachers – arbitrarily out the window. We leave our children in the lurch.”

After the meeting, as reporters pushed him to elaborate, he said Common Core’s benefits will soon be apparent enough.

“I have an idea that, for those who claim the Common Core is dumbing down standards, that the test scores will demonstrate the exact opposite of that. I don’t think any of us want to dumb anything down. I just want us to have a standard we can be proud of, we can hold our students accountable to, and something that can hold our teachers to an objective standard.”

And what of legislation from state Sen. William Ligon, the Brunswick Republican who backs legislation that would free Georgia of “private interests” such as Common Core that he views as threats to the education system?

“I’m still looking forward to a discussion with him. Because I think some of the things he’s citing are not factually correct. Like when he says that the federal government mandated that we have to adopt these standards. That is just factually incorrect.”

Nathan Deal addresses Common Core rift in GOP | Political Insider | www.ajc.com.

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