ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Sonny Perdue’s Defense of Common Core

ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Sonny Perdue’s Defense of Common Core

September 11, 2013

By Greg Bluestein

Common Core seems an unusual topic for a meeting of bankers. But former Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has become one of the biggest GOP champions of the controversial educational guidelines, gave an impassioned defense for the standards at a Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia meeting today.

My colleague Arielle Kass was there for the surprising back-and-forth, which took up a large portion of his talk.

But first bear with us for a little backstory: Perdue led the effort here to adopt the guidelines, which were met with mostly cheers back when they were first approved in 2010. But a tea party-backed revolt from groups that see an attempted federal takeover of sacred state education policy has erstwhile supporters on the defensive. One of them, Perdue’s successor Gov. Nathan Deal, recently asked the State Board of Education to review Georgia’s involvement with the program.

At the mortgage meeting, Perdue didn’t directly acknowledge Deal’s August request. But he urged the crowd to take a step back and view Common Core as a way to make sure Georgia’s students are keeping up with counterparts in other states.

“The federal government had nothing to do with this. It is not curriculum, it’s standards,” he said, adding:  “Would you agree that it’s in the best economic interest of Georgia to have an educated future? Of course it is … It’s simply about aspiring to higher standards for students so they can compete in the global workforce.”

He told the crowd to ignore the incensed talk about Common Core coming from politicians in the media, with the caveat that “I’m not judging you if you bought into that.”

Of concerns that Common Core aligned exams will stress out teen students, the former Georgia football player offered: “If you’re concerned about high-stakes testing, I don’t guess you like the NCAA or the Olympics.”

And in a parting plea to allay fears that there’s a hidden agenda behind the guidelines, Perdue had this to say:

“There’s no booklist. There’s no Muslim influence.”

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