The state Board of Education has posted a new set of English and language arts (ELA) standards and asked the public to weigh in by May 1.
The public comment period is the next step in a lengthy process of revising the state’s standards for ELA education across all grade levels.
“Truly, the documents that you have before you represent the collective voice, the collective work, the collective expertise of educators in Georgia,” said April Aldridge, deputy superintendent of teaching and learning at the Georgia Department of Education, during a board meeting last week.
“One of the things that we really knew the public said we needed to work on was clarifying language … making sure that the terminology was consistent.”
One major change is the introduction of a new category of standards – called “foundations” – for kindergarten through 5th grade. These standards are designed to ensure Georgia students develop strong literacy skills in the early grades and include a focus on phonics skills. The General Assembly passed legislation last week also aimed at bolstering early literacy in Georgia.
The other standards are divided across three domains: language, practices and texts.
The “practices” category has been redesigned to stretch across K-12 rather than being grade-specific.
The practices standards specify that students will develop their identities as readers and writers and learn to interpret written materials in context. One standard specifies that students should read like a writer, while another specifies that students should write like a reader – meaning they should learn to “construct texts with the audience’s experience in mind.”
The texts standards do not specify which books students should read but rather the expectations for how they learn to engage with and interpret books and other written materials. The language category focuses on grammar and vocabulary.
The standards were created by a working group of 300 educators from across the state. A Citizens Review Committee made up of parents, students and business leaders and an Academic Review Committee that included experts also provided input.
An earlier draft of the standards was posted last November. More than 14,000 Georgians have already provided feedback on the new standards, according to the department.
If adopted, the new English and language arts standards would be implemented in the 2025-2026 school year.
Members of the public can view and comment on the draft standards via a website and survey the Department of Education has established (https://www.georgiastandards.org/Pages/English-Language-Arts-Survey.aspx). The comment period will close on May 1.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.