Georgia collecting comments about proposed K-12 reading, writing goals

UPDATE: This article has been updated with information about the state’s public comment site, which is now online

Georgians will have at least 30 days to share their opinions about proposed new standards to guide the teaching of English Language Arts in the state’s public schools.

The Georgia Board of Education voted Thursday to post the more than 100 pages of proposed standards for public review. The new standards would emphasize phonics more than the current standards do.

Phonics is a method of teaching to read that involves breaking down words into sounds and tying them to letters or groups of letters. Less than a third of Georgia’s fourth and eighth grade students were reading proficiently or better, according to test results from last spring on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the most comprehensive national look so far at the academic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The standards are academic goals that influence local choices about curriculum and the timing of its use in each grade. In some subjects and grades, student learning of the standards is measured with a test called the Milestones. The results are submitted to the federal government as part of accountability requirements established by Congress.

The Georgia Department of Education is taking public comment on its website, where the proposed standards are available for review.