The Georgia Department of Education is releasing results of the public surveys on the academic standards used in Georgia’s K-12 public schools, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced Thursday.
Distributed in July 2019, the surveys sought public feedback on the current Georgia Standards of Excellence for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. This initial opportunity for public feedback was the first step in a student-focused effort to review and revise the standards, led by citizens, teachers, parents, and educational leaders.
Both surveys found the top concerns expressed by classroom teachers and parents were the same: the number of standards versus the time available to teach them, and the current standards not fostering creativity and autonomy in the classroom. Parents and teachers were also concerned about the developmental appropriateness of the standards, particularly in the early grades.
“These results show the need to come together as a state – teachers, parents, students, citizens, and educational leaders – to craft high-quality academic standards in line with our commitment to put students first and let teachers teach,” Governor Brian P. Kemp said.
Across categories, parents who took the surveys gave the standards more negative ratings than teachers did (with the exception of a question about whether the language and terminology of the standards is accessible to teachers – most parents believe it is). This shows a disconnect the state has an opportunity to address through the convening of a Citizens Review Committee as the standards are reviewed.
“As we seek to offer a well-rounded, rigorous education for all students, we cannot disenfranchise parents or teachers,” Woods said. “Through this process of review and revision, we’ll ensure our standards are accessible to parents and students and we’ll empower teachers. We’ll address the concerns shared about the developmental appropriateness of the standards, the amount of content that must be covered in one year, and the impact of the standards on creativity and autonomy in the classroom.”
All interested stakeholders may visit gadoe.org/standards to view key findings from both surveys, along with the data underlying those key findings.
Moving forward, the state will convene a Citizens Review Committee composed of parents, students, taxpayers, business/industry leaders, and community members, followed by Working Committees of Teachers and an Academic Review Committee. Learn more about the process here and at gadoe.org/standards.
Overall trends from the survey results
Limiting time and creativity: The top concerns expressed by teachers and parents were the number of standards vs. time available to teach them, and the current standards not fostering creativity and autonomy in the classroom.
Emphasis on college: In general, parents and teachers feel the standards do a better job preparing students for college than for careers and life.
Accessible to teachers, but not parents and students: More than two-thirds of teachers agree the wording of the standards is accessible to them, but most feel the wording is not accessible to students, and many say it’s not accessible to parents.
Disenfranchised parents: In general, K-8 parents expressed a greater rate of concern than teachers across all categories of the survey (with the exception of whether the language and terminology of the standards is accessible to teachers – most parents believe it is).
Greater concern for early grades: Regarding the level of rigor and age- and developmental appropriateness of the standards, there was a higher degree of concern for the K-5 standards compared to high school courses.