The Citizens Review Committee tasked with providing feedback on the development of new English Language Arts (ELA) standards for Georgia’s K-12 public schools has released its first set of recommendations.
The committee; which is composed of 13 members appointed by Governor Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods and includes parents, students, business leaders, educators, and concerned citizens; met in November 2021 to review the results of a statewide survey on the current ELA standards. An independent third party – the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government – facilitated the meeting.
The standards review process also includes an Academic Review Committee composed of members representing higher education, Pre-K, business and industry, child development experts, and educators; and a Working Committee of Teachers composed of more than 300 ELA teachers from across Georgia, organized in teams of 8-12 members for each grade level and high school course.
“It is essential that all Georgians – teachers, parents, business leaders, higher education representatives, and concerned citizens who care about this state we call home – have meaningful opportunities to participate in the development of Georgia’s academic standards,” Superintendent Woods said. “As with the mathematics standards review, we will continue to make sure everyone invested in Georgia’s K-12 public schools has a chance to participate in the process of developing the best possible ELA standards for our students.”
At the November meeting, members of the Citizens Review Committee were tasked with reviewing the results of the Georgia Department of Education’s 2019 survey on the existing ELA standards, which was open to all Georgians, and identifying key areas of concern.
The full meeting report is available here. Key feedback identified by the Citizens Review Committee includes the below:
- In K-5, less than 50 percent of all parent and teacher respondents expressed approval or support for the current ELA standards.
- Parents do not feel the K-5 standards are developmentally appropriate.
- Education should be local/locally controlled.
- Overall, parents and teachers have similar observations: parents and students need more access, teachers and students need more time for teaching and learning, and there is a desire to prepare students more for career and life.
- The current standards are preparing students for college more than careers and life.
- Time constraints (i.e., too many standards to cover in a year) impact both teachers and students; time to teach/learn is limited compared to the number of standards.
- The current standards do not foster creativity and autonomy.
- Teachers want to move in the same direction as parents but are constrained by the standards as written.
Background Information & What’s Next
In August 2019, Governor Kemp and Superintendent Woods announced the review and revision of Georgia’s K-12 mathematics and ELA standards and outlined their commitment to the best set of academic standards for Georgia’s students. Following a review process that included opportunities for teachers, parents and families, students, and community members to participate through surveys and committees, Georgia’s new mathematics standards were adopted in August 2021 (in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a temporary halt in the standards development process).
The ELA standards review process will move forward as more than 300 Georgia ELA teachers come together to review the current standards, along with the feedback of the Citizens Review Committee and Georgians who participated in GaDOE’s survey and produce draft copies of Georgia’s new standards. The Citizens Review Committee, Academic Review Committee, State School Superintendent, and State Board of Education will review the draft copies. Prior to adoption, all Georgians will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft standards through a public survey.