A bill that would render Common Core implementation void in Georgia has been introduced in the Senate.

Senator William Ligon’s bill would call on the government to “withdraw Georgia from its participate in Common Core national standards and forego any testing associated with these standards.”

SB203, titled “An Act to Restore Education Authority to Georgia Citizens,” is an exemplification of the anti-commandeering doctrine. This principle holds that states such as Georgia don’t have to accept national standards, nor do they have to cooperate with federal mandates they do not wish to. Ligon’s bill would ensure an orderly process for the Peach State to withdraw from implementing the national standards and reestablish Georgia’s own education standards.

While touted as a state initiative, the federal government is deeply involved in both the formulation and implementation of Common Core. Constitutionally, the federal government should not be involved in education at all.

An additional facet to the bill reiterates how Common Core is destructive to people’s privacy rights. Ligon argues that this unprecedented national framework greatly increases data collection and tracking of students.

Since last year, this bill has undergone a series of redrafts in order to address data privacy concerns and provide more details regarding the Parent, Teacher, and University Content Standards Advisory Council. The bill is facing much hostility in the legislature, where advocates of Common Core are pushing back. House Education Chair Brooks Coleman said that abandoning the Common Core standards would “hurt teacher morale.” There is currently a strong faction of legislatiors wishing to stay the course with the standards rather to develop Georgia’s own.

At a press conference, Ligon stated that “the lack of accountability to tax payers and teachers in this state has been stunning” since Common Core was introduced. He said that “no one has ever answered the long term cost of implementing the Common Core,” and that there has been “no thorough cost analysis” of how much funding would be needed to implement these standards in the state.

Arne Duncan, the federal Secretary of Education, has framed Common Core curriculum as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Federal Government to create incentives for far-reaching improvement in our nation’s schools.” Unfortunately for Duncan, the Peach State is starting to make it known that it does not see this “opportunity” as one that one that is particularly beneficial. Surely, Georgia is becoming persuaded that “far-reaching improvement” can only come from its own education standards.

Aligning with the principles of the Tenth Amendment, Ligon recognizes that Georgia can embark upon its own path on this issue rather than to adopt national education standards. Ligon notes: “Allowing a consortium of states to work with non-profits and other unaccountable parties to develop our standards without open public oversight is simply untenable in a free country.”

Dave Benner

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