Georgia School Superintendent Candidate Common Core Breakdown

The question of whether Georgia should keep the Common Core academic standards has split the field of Republicans running for Georgia State School Superintendent.

Ashley Bell
On a conference call with Georgia Charter leaders, Ashley Bell said, “Common Core is the law of the land … My objective is to help teachers and parents [understand and teach] Common Core.” This contradicts his normal position which is, “Georgia has a common core of values and expectations that is far higher than any standards dreamed up in Washington, D.C.”

Note: Common Core didn’t actually originate in Washington. It started with a push from the National Governor’s Association.

Nancy Jester
“What Common Core represents is another burdensome bureaucracy that creates one-size fits-all mandates on the classroom,” said Nancy Jester, a former DeKalb County School Board member. “Common Core will not drive improved achievement in Georgia.”  Nancy Jester also wrote an article picked up by the Marietta Daily Journal, Common Core is no path to prosperity.

Fitz Johnson
Fitz, who has raised far more money than anyone else in the race, doesn’t blast away at Common Core like some of his fellow Republicans. “Where we need to fix the current curriculum, we should fix it,” he said, “but to throw out the entire curriculum without a set alternative would be irresponsible.”

Note: Common Core isn’t actually a curriculum; it’s a set of standards, a series of bars students in Georgia and across the country are expected to clear.

A 10-second video clip of Johnson surfaced on YouTube, with the candidate saying: “We’ve spent a lot of money on Common Core. To take it and just dump it out, that’s probably not going to happen. We know that.”

That could get Johnson in hot water with tea party activists who oppose Common Core, which could help Johnson’s opponents. Bell’s picture and name appeared under the Johnson video clip in the spot usually reserved for those who posted it.

Allen Bowles Fort
Allen Bowles Fort, superintendent of schools in Quitman County, said he accepts the state’s adherence to Common Core. “The issue of Common Core must be an education issue, worked out by educators, not a political football to cause rancor and discord,” he said.


Kira Willis
Kira Willis, a graduation coach in Fulton County, said Georgia’s teachers have already begun to work under Common Core, “and we should let them finish what they have started.”


Mike Buck
Mike Buck, the chief academic officer at the state Department of Education, said he is “strongly supportive of our current educational standards for many reasons.”

Buck, who also serves at the acting chief of staff to the current superintendent, John Barge, noted support for the standards from those in the business, military and education communities. “If we stay the course and implement the standards with fidelity, we will see improved outcomes for our students,” he said.

Mary Kay Bacallao
Mary Kay Bacallao argued the word “standards” has been used merely to circumvent laws preventing the federal government from sponsoring a common curriculum. The former member of the Fayette County Board of Education is vehemently opposed to Common Core. “I will work with everything I have to fight against Common Core,” Bacallao said.

Richard Woods
Richard Woods, who ran for the seat in 2010, said standards should be rigorous, should give students an opportunity to compete and should be measurable. Georgia must control education. Common Sense over Common Core.



Filed under Ashley Bell, Common Core, Georgia State School Superintendent, Kira Willis, Mary Kay Bacallao, Nancy Jester

3 responses to “Georgia School Superintendent Candidate Common Core Breakdown

  1. Tom Reddings

    Thanks for posting the positions of the candidates, however Richard Woods’ stance has been pretty clear ( — his platform is “Common Sense Over Common Core” ( and he spoke out against Common Core in 2010.

  2. Tom, Agreed. I’ve added a couple sentences to better reflect Mr. Woods’ position.

  3. Geri McFarland

    I will vote for a candidate who OPPOSES COMMON CORE. Allow the federal gov. to control education of our children and we’ll have a socialist/communist government when they become the leaders of our country.