As children and teenagers in Georgia head back to school after summer vacation, there will be a major change—a change they may not even recognize. They will be taught a new curriculum based off of the Common Core Standards in math, science, language arts, social studies and technical classes.
“We will be implementing the CCGPS this school year, along with 45 other states,” said Nail. “The purpose of these standards is to prepare students to be college and career ready when they graduate from high school and to ensure they are globally competitive. Our students will be faced with a more rigorous and complex curriculum, specifically in the areas of reading and mathematics."
“Literacy standards will be embedded in science, social studies, and technical subjects, as well,” Nail continuted. “Our teachers have been preparing for this transition for the last two school years and we will continue to provide support to teachers to ensure the curriculum is implemented appropriately.”
Common core standards have been adopted by 46 states, and focus on giving greater depth to fewer subjects taught in schools. Georgia officially adopted them in 2010 and is now finally implementing them into their curriculum.
Some examples of curriculum changes, provided by the state’s department of education, that will be implemented this fall are:
• 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.
However, not everyone is fully accepting the new changes. Keisha Gibbons, principal of Boyd Elementary explained to The Associated Press that while some of the teachers at her school have been trying out the new standards, they are being received with mixed emotions.
“It's change and no one likes change,” Gibbons said. “It's up to me and my team to make sure we alleviate some of the stresses and let them know they can do this.”
While teachers have been training for the curriculum changes since 2010, many are still worried that teachers are not ready and may have more than they can handle.
“The challenge is making sure we're not biting off too much at one time,” Linda Anderson, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning said to The Associated Press. “We're making sure we're working with teachers in way so they are not overwhelmed with the shift.”
Ultimately, though, this curriculum change is seen as a positive as students in Georgia will now be competing on a national level in student achievement and higher education.
“Now students know they are competing, not just with Georgia,” Shonda Shaw, principal said to The Associated Press. “You have the same knowledge if you move. It's not just a Georgia thing.”
Jillian Reed is a writer for 360 Education Solutions