Posted: 5:55 pm Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Georgia Republicans duck sequel to the fight over Common Core 

By Jim Galloway

Emanuel Leutze's depiction, seven decades later, of Washington's attack on the Hessians at Trenton on Dec. 25, 1776. Critics say new U.S. history testing requirements for advance placement high school students short-changes both the Founding Fathers and military history.

Emanuel Leutze’s depiction, seven decades later, of Washington’s attack on the Hessians at Trenton on Dec. 25, 1776. Critics say new U.S. history testing requirements for advance placement high school students short-changes both the Founding Fathers and military history.

A sequel to the national war over Common Core, aimed at top history classes in public high schools across the country, is about to break out.

But Georgia’s ranking Republicans have decided to give this particular fight a miss.

You can blame, or credit, the hot race between Gov. Nathan Deal and Jason Carter, the Democrat who would overthrow him. Consider it more proof that elections can make a difference in your life – even before the final votes are cast.

Significantly, Deal’s wing man on the issue – an accidental assignment, to be sure — is state School Superintendent John Barge, who had the temerity to challenge the governor for the GOP nomination only last May.

“I’m frustrated and disappointed at the politicization of a lot of things, but education especially,” Barge said Wednesday. We’ll let him elaborate later.

For the better part of two years, the tea party arm of the GOP has bridled at those new national (and Sonny Perdue-inspired) public school standards known as Common Core. An encroachment on state sovereignty, they say.

Common Core attempts to bring uniform standards to only two topics – math and English. It didn’t touch history, the third rail of educational politics.

But another group now has. The College Board – a separate non-profit, standard-setting organization – has upgraded its test requirements for high school students taking advanced placement U.S. history classes. European history will get the same treatment next year.

The requirements, a 98-page listing of what students will be quizzed on, are important. Students who score high enough on the College Board test can gain early university credit and thus save their parents more than a little money.

War was declared last Friday in Chicago by the Republican National Committee, with a unanimous resolution charging that the new requirements “reflect a radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects…while minimizing positive aspects.”

Founding Fathers are slighted, their motivations questioned. Military history – “no battles, commanders or heroes” – is ignored. The Holocaust is excluded, the RNC charged.

The College Board has responded forcefully. David Coleman, president and CEO, has written a letter declaring that, as a Jew, he’s not about to put the quietus on Europe’s attempt to exterminate his people. A rare College Board sample test has been made public.

So, class, who can tell me why this argument over history might be even more charged than the one over Common Core? Anyone? What did Plato say – you in the back?

“Those who tell the stories rule society.” That’s right.

So you’d think that Georgia would be the perfect battleground for this fight. But you would be wrong.

Tanya Ditty is state director of Concerned Women for America, a group organized to promote biblical principles in public policy. Last week, Ditty organized the large teleconference that preceded the RNC vote to condemn the new history standards.

But last month, at its July meeting in Atlanta, Ditty had presented the state Board of Education with a proposed resolution that said much the same thing. She and a colleague were given three minutes each. The rebuttal from a staffer ate up close to an hour.

Ditty followed that rebuff by trooping over to the state Capitol to meet with an aide to the governor. “She didn’t seem too concerned,” Ditty reported.

The politics of the situation are obvious. Teachers, an important voting bloc, are already skittish – the result of furloughs, pay freezes, and increased health care costs. With November on the horizon, there’s no need to aggravate them further with fresh accusations that they’re teaching crooked history.

But Ditty remains frustrated. She’s convinced that College Board standards will squeeze out Georgia historical priorities. “Our students are being robbed of their heritage. And we’ve got gatekeepers that are doing nothing about it,” she said. “That would be the office of the governor and the state Board of Education. And they are silent on this issue.’

Yet, not altogether silent. Let us return to John Barge, the Republican state school superintendent. “We’ve got some very reliable teachers out there,” Barge said. “A really good teacher is going to teach the content. The test will take care of itself.”

Moreover, a testing framework, like one issued by the College Board, is only an outline, the superintendent said. “[Critics] are not looking at a course syllabus. They’re not in the classroom.”

Also, AP courses are not required for graduation. And a dual enrollment course at the local college is always an option for suspicious parents, he said.

But Barge saved his harshest judgment for those he thinks are attempting to turn public education into an ideological contest.

“I’m going to be very honest and very blunt about what I think is behind this. And I think it’s money,” Barge said. He described a visit to the website of Concerned Women for America – the group to which Ditty belongs.

“The first thing that comes up is a bright red ‘donate now’ button,” he said. (We tried it. The red button is there at the top, but it didn’t jump to the front.)

Ditty, of course, took exception to Barge’s judgment. “He has elected to engage in petty insults that will do nothing to stop the dismantling of Georgia’s social studies standards,” she said.

107 comments
Watsuie007
Watsuie007

So what else is new? The GOP dislikes everything, except money and tax breaks for themselves and their rich friends; oh, and limiting the rights of women and minorities.   But, being against something with nothing to take its place is par for course.  They hate common core, which was a public/private endeavor, but the current standards are not adequate to improve test scores, so what is next?   The GOP hates ObamaCare, which is really nothing more than private medical insurance for those who are unable to get it any other way.  But, if Obama Care goes away, how will these Georgia citizens get any other affordabe medical insurane plan?   OH, I forgot - the GOP doesn't have a plan, isn't going to get one and really doesn't care.   

AtlantaMom
AtlantaMom

"Military history – “no battles, commanders or heroes” – is ignored. "

Hallelujah!  No more memorizing for a test, and then forgetting it an hour later.

WatchingTheCircus
WatchingTheCircus

 You want to read some revisionist history? Check out the Bible. How many times has it been re-written to serve the powers that be.

Quandry
Quandry

How many years has it been since various politicians wanted to keep the theory of evolution out of our schools – the very thought that we could have evolved from apes was ludacris and yet the science was there suggesting this very fact.

“The Out of Africa model has gained support from research using female mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the male Y chromosome”

There was a time a person could get hanged for suggesting that the world was round.

In this vast information age that we are living in I say - let them have the common core on history.Let the parents be responsible for supplementing the history that’s not being taught in the schools.

There is no way our kids can learn over 1000 years (or more) of history in a few years in high school.You have to perform triage at some point.

What’s not taught (history) in the schools I say let the parents be responsible (for teaching their kids) for this and not the schools.

Jack_Republican
Jack_Republican

What did Washington say to his troops before crossing the Delaware?  Get in the boat.

sssinff
sssinff

Just for a bit of context, the GOP is also populated with people who believe that the earth is 10,000 years old and that dinosaurs either a. walked the earth with man or b. are an evil plot by the devil to obscure their faith in God.


Let that sink in for a second.

Buzzzz
Buzzzz

The majority of the press, including the AJC, rewrite history every day.  Since when is anyone concerned with historical accuracy?  It's all about agenda.

therealAzazel
therealAzazel

they should teach: Bartolome De Las Casas, and the Spanish colonization of hispanola.

GT-UT
GT-UT

I read through some of this and its seems liberally bias to me.  No discussion on the negative externalities of more Federal Power.  No discussion on dangers of over regulation.  No discussion that Progressive responses to "economic instability" made things worse not better.  Why are there no critical thinking concepts regarding that topic?  Instead, it appears to me that these same liberals want feed the youth their all their virtues.  I see nothing in here on the virtues of freedom...only virtues progressives changing society.  

midtowncowboy
midtowncowboy

"The College Board has responded forcefully. David Coleman, president and CEO"


Revisionist like David Coleman should be handled swiftly, violently and permanently.

coj
coj

When many Georgia legislators don't know their history or purposely distort it, are easily swayed by crack-pot conspiracy theories and their educational agenda is to promote the profit line – you realize that they really don't value education for all but only themselves. 

SouthGeorgiareader
SouthGeorgiareader

Another group from the far right determined to gain traction, not understanding American history before they protest.  Our national history is both solemn and funny, as future students will learn when they study today's events.  The CWA doesn't understand this and is only trolling for money and influence.

scrappy-22
scrappy-22

"Tanya Ditty is state director of Concerned Women for America, a group organized to promote biblical principles in public policy."


Well, after that introduction, this woman has lost all credibility on the subject.  Barge should have been more blunt and just said "I think the group behind this is moronic and/or after headlines" 

PudHead
PudHead

Remove ALL politics from schools, any teacher that violates this should be fired. Schools are for learning so that kids understand the process of thinking logically. But that explains why the liberals what to destroy our school system. Educated people tend to lean right, funny how that works….

Buzzell
Buzzell

While I will admit that I don't know the details of these particular standards, I do know that there has been a disturbing trend for years now of rewriting our history to suit people's point of view. For instance, the myth that the Constitution says that blacks are only 3/5 of a person has been peddled for years, even in schools, as an excuse when the government has tried to ignore their Constitutional constraints. They also put forward this falsehood that the Constitution is a "living document" as an excuse to re-interpret it as they please. The New Deal is presented in classes as something that saved America. This rewriting has been going on for some time now.

Blasingame
Blasingame

The Nazis, the Communists, and now the Democrats all know the way to completely subvert a civilization is to catch the children young and "educate" them into their particular idea of reality.  The obviously fascist CYADRA who states, "Fourth, the liberalizing of the test as the conservatives complain follows US History."  History does not follow or evolve; it simply is. The truth scares the bejesus out of the Left in their quest to destroy individual freedom and control every aspect of our lives. History revision is just one of the Liberal/Progressive weapons.

Tom_B_II
Tom_B_II

"'The first thing that comes up is a bright red ‘donate now’ button,' he said. (We tried it. The red button is there at the top, but it didn’t jump to the front.)"


In a debate, when you realize you are losing the debate, you personify the attack on the person on the other side of the debate.

Peachs
Peachs

Reminds me a little of the Mormon thing in Utah. Somehow they have taken what use to seem weird and made it normal. Romney would have never been a Republican candidate a couple of decades ago; people were worried he would favor these historical facts over the general accepted history of most Americans. The next thing you know B. Young is a more important character than we realized and the whole balance of history is changed. I am not sure the history itself is as important as we all having one version we agree on. It is good to have Christmas on December 25 every year and not randomly celebrated by different groups on different days. History, one of the few things this country has in common needs to be celebrated the same in every state for a national pride and commonality.

Enoch19
Enoch19

Arrogant condescension must be a staple of liberal indoctrination.  You will never find a group of people more arrogant about less than an american liberal.  

anothercomment
anothercomment

They already teach a bunch of useless Quaker crap and no battlefield dates in the current model. Who really gives a darn about the petty Quaker nit picky facts and I grew up in a NE state. We never touched on them up their. We used to learn war facts.

Then Us history after World War One gets real bizarre at Georgia state freshman History. My daughter had a TA that was under thirty and told them that the Americans at home were not interested in the war until the TET offensive. I tried to tell my daughter I could provide this professor with some real world updates. I had sated several Vietnam vets that were 8 years older than me who told me all about Vietnam, I told he everynight of growing up in the 60s and 75 was Chet Brinkley bringing us the nightly death counts, injury accounts, and MIA, Pow counts, ( I still have my POW bracket broken in half worn through middle school and high school. Did he not cove the Mei lei Masacare and L t. Carry being scape goated. Did she know who Robert McNamara was. Did she know who Elmo Zulmwalt was? The sectrectary of the navy who ordered the spraying the my kong river with the defoliant Agent organge by the Ranch Hands. I latter killed his older son Lt. Elmo Jr. Elmo sr. Then spoke out about their big mistake so soldiers to get treated. ( Elmo's daughter was my college roommates best friend in college ). They weren't taught about Kent state none of that. I was so furious, I wanted to call the head of the Geoegia state History department and offer to bring in a couple guys who did a could of tours as gunners on the boats go up and down the M yoking Delta, Others who spent their time marching through the rice patties , and smoking hash and other drugs in the down time. Others who will tell you that what Lt. Valley did happened every week. you never knew who was coming up in the tunnels. how could a History class miss this whole major part of those who are in our 60's and 50's grew up as a nightly news item for over 50 years, we have still lost more soldiers in Vietnam than through H IV.

The 6,000 or so dead for Afganastan and Iraq is nothing compared with the 50k plus from Vietnam. The biggest difference more are surviving with more traumatic insures from this wasteful war.

flfenn
flfenn

Though AP courses are not required for graduation, they ARE required if you want the HOPE scholarship, and many "competitive" high schools get 'recognition' for the numbers of AP students.  I trust the College Board over Common Core anyway.  If you have a college-bound student, they should take as many AP courses as they can handle.  Those courses are the only true preparation and measure of college success.  Additionally, taking the AP exam grants them college credit if the score is 3 or above (depending on college).  The only other way to experience a college-level course is to do Dual Enrollment/Early College, also not required, but you can't beat free college!

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Td1234 you often state that Deal deserves re-election because of the numbers of black kids who do well on AP tests. And you know what? The Guv does deserve some credit.

But did your ever bother to read beyond the headlines? The reason those kids are doing better is that the state has invested some government money in those kids, by giving them extra training. The state also pays the cost of the test.

I think that's a good investment of my tax dollars. But given your feelings about dependence and government money, it's a little strange that you're bragging about a government program that subsidizes Those People.


td1234
td1234

@Watsuie007 Please add the Republicans love the military industrial complex to those talking points. Your progressive friends will be mad if you do not get all the talking points in when you post. 

Dman
Dman

The Worlds smartest Scientists have been incorrect about a lot of things throughout history. Like the world is flat, the moon does not affect tides, the earth is the center of the universe, etc. they will one day be proven wrong again that man came from Apes. Apes came from Apes...

TtheP
TtheP

@GT-UT those are your theories not history

DS
DS

@GT-UT

Most historians try to explain objectively why things happened without singing the praises of one side or another. This is history, not propaganda.

When writers inject propaganda into their work, they lose their ability to fully explain what happened because they're too busy trying to spin the story to fit an agenda.

True historians tell the full story, warts and all.

Don't worry about this becoming unpatriotic, though. One can look objectively at US history, the good and the bad, and still be proud of our country.

TtheP
TtheP

@midtowncowboy violently?. . . why so angry   . . . hasn't history been revised over and over again by whoever is in power .  ..the right has done it . . . the left has done it . . .

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@coj  I am not sure they even value education for themselves.  Some appear to glory in their ignorance and attempt to foster inaccurate information.  This is mostly about easy wealth and power - most easily accomplished when the voters are uneducated and unaware of current events and their relationship to the past.

honested
honested

@scrappy-22 

Isn't this the same group of misguided puritians formed by phyllis schlafly that has been attempting to force religion into education since the ray-gun years?

scrappy-22
scrappy-22

@PudHead Are you from backward land?  Education and those highly educated tend to be liberal and left leaning, as has been proven many times and is pointed out repeatedly by conservatives as one of the "facts" on how liberals are "destroying education". 


The one good sentence you had there was "Schools are for learning so that kids understand the process of thinking logically."  Yet, you then follow that with a political slam to the left.  Practice what you preach and encourage others to keep the politics out of school curriculum, which includes ridiculous "condemnations" from the RNC and groups that "promote biblical principles". 


Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@Buzzell  You are right, you do not know the details. The Three-Fifths Compromise of 1787 is included in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution:


Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.


The three-fifths ratio originated with a 1783 amendment proposed to the Articles of Confederation. The amendment was to have changed the basis for determining the wealth of each state, and hence its tax obligations, from real estate to population, as a measure of ability to produce wealth.

TtheP
TtheP

@Blasingame liberal here and not afraid of the truth because it pretty much supports my arguments . . . go call someone else names you CONSERVATIVE who probably doesn't have the guts to be a true capitalist and allow for the immigrants to create a competitive environment to see who makes this country better  . . . it has worked every time we have allowed foreigners to immigrate legally and illegally into this country.  . . I love how Capitalists are Capitalists until it requires them to act as one . . .

honested
honested

@Blasingame 

What part of the 'truth' scares liberals?

The truth that the Civil War was a disastrous waste of resources and no effort should be made to venerate those stupid enough to pursue the 'lost cause'?

That the Korean Conflict was pointless from the beginning?

That we had no reason to enter Vietnam, no reason to stay and no 'honor' to gain before leaving?

That the Iraqi War of Choice was the single greatest mistake in the history of United States Foreign Policy?

That the Founders had a clear understanding (with the exception of a couple of outliers) that the functions of state were not to be polluted by the influence of superstition.

Just what part of comprehension of history do you think scares anyone?

Peachs
Peachs

@Blasingame how many labels can you come up with and assume all are negative.  You are talking but you are not saying anything.  An amazing trick of listing things and grouping negative things to prove what?  It is like taking a nun and putting her on a list of prostitutes and thinking you have proven your point. 

Peachs
Peachs

@Enoch19 

The problem you will encounter is liberal pretty well define the institution of education, learning in itself is progressive and moving forward, accepting the facts no matter where they lead, not filtering the truth. A used car salesmen is not enthusiastic about “liberals” either.

honested
honested

@anothercomment 

As long as the eventual result is to demonstrate to the students that Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon were all disastrous wastes of young American lives to no real value the course has merit.

Glorifying various campaigns is pointless.

anothercomment
anothercomment

Black kids are taking the ap classes for free, but only scoring 1 and 2, they get it for free. Why should my white child not get theirs for free. I will not commit the fraud to fill out the free lunch form and say I make less that $22k for 3 kids to qualify I. Places like Sandy springs , where rent is $1200 plus. Some of us read what we sign and don't sign when it says it could be a fraud.

td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty Those kids show potential, work hard, put in the extra work required and and live up to expectations. I have no problem with the county or state spending extra money on them. This is the place our limited resources should be spent. 


Just like the Hope is spent on the best, brightest and most hard working children in the state and deserve to be given that chance to succeed. 

sssinff
sssinff

@VanDSIRROM


Where exactly did I say that I was a nonbeliever? A fool is a person who believes the earth is only 10,000 years old, despite the overwhelming evidence to prove otherwise. 

TtheP
TtheP

@scrappy-22 @PudHead Proven?  Show me the data . . . I teach and out of the 10 teachers in my hallway seven of them conservative and 3 liberal . . . is my data scientifically proving anything? Highly unlikely . . . so I ask again from you . . . where is your data

HowlinDawg
HowlinDawg

@honested @Blasingame The same can be said for conservative scare tactics. In Texas, the state school board voted to eliminate stories and photographs of harsh treatment of slaves from the state's text books. They also voted to remove Nixon's Watergate scandal, but voted to keep Clinton's impeachment in the books. 


Lastly, the recently voted to eliminate critical thinking. 


Let's be honest, all sides are in the game of changing or denying history if it doesn't fit their point of view.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@td1234 @CherokeeCounty That's good, td. I agree.

I just wish you had a little bit of interest and compassion for the Waffle House waitress whose husband left her so now she's got to support herself however she can. Medicaid, already paid for, would really help her.

sssinff
sssinff

@TtheP @VanDSIRROM 


Prove that many in the GOP believe the world is 10,000 years old? There are reams of quantitative data on the subject. Google is your friend.