Our teachers, administrators and support staff were excited to welcome our students back to school this month. Each year, our children and youth begin the school year with new teachers, new classrooms and shiny new shoes, but this year we are pleased to also have new and improved performance standards. The Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) are national standards that were adopted by 47 states, the U.S. Department of Defenses education programs and three U.S. territories. The CCGPS was approved by the Georgia Department of Education in July 2010. National standards were adopted for English language arts and math in kindergarten through 12th grade as well as literacy standards for history, social studies, science and technical subjects in sixth through 12th grades.
The CCGPS was developed in conjunction with the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards are supported by rigorous, international benchmarked standards. Because of the work our state did when adopting and implementing our previous standards, the Georgia Performance Standards, the change is not drastic because much of our former curriculum closely matches the CCGPS.
The standards provide clear, focused expectations that are consistent across the majority of our nation. They establish uniform expectations for what students will learn regardless of where they live and attend school. In addition to ensuring consistency in what is taught from state to state, it will be easier to measure how an education in Georgia compares with an education in other states. The CCGPS will benefit all students, but especially our more mobile families such as our military students. The overarching goal is to ensure that all of our students are ready for college and careers after high school graduation.
Below are some examples provided by the state Department of Education of changes students will see under Common Core:
Third-graders will learn how to multiply and divide large numbers. They also will learn the function of adverbs, which was previously taught in fourth and fifth grade.
Fourth-graders will tackle adding and subtracting fractions, which was not taught until fifth grade under the former curriculum.
Eighth-graders will be taught the Pythagorean Theorem, rather than learning the concept in ninth grade.
Under Georgia Performance Standards, students were taught pronoun-antecedent agreement in seventh grade. Common Core will teach that grammar rule in third grade.
In Houston County, we are pleased with these new standards and excited to implement them this year. They support our mission to produce high-achieving students and our vision that our system will be world class. For more information on standards, please visit our systems website, www.hcbe.net, and click on Curriculum, Ga. Performance Standards.
Robin Hines is superintendent of Houston County schools.