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Georgia Panel Recommends State-Mandated Curriculum

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Copyright 1984, Editorial Currently, Georgia does not have a state-mandated curriculum. The Georgia Board of Education merely makes available to the state's 187 school jurisdictions a set of curriculum guidelines.

Subcommittee Proposals

The final report of the 41-member Education Review Commission, which is composed of mayors, businessmen, educators, school-board representatives, citizens, and legislators, is expected to be released in October. Proposals for changes in the operation of the state's public schools are being made by each of the seven subcommittees of the commission.

Four position papers "have been tentatively approved, pending the other position papers," said Ronald C. Newcomb, information coordinator for the commission and a special assistant to Governor Harris. The final report, Mr. Newcomb said,3"won't necessarily" contain the recommendations made in the position papers, "but for the most part it will."

The four papers that gained approval:

Defined 77 skills that students should demonstrate competency in before receiving their high-school diplomas. The skills include: interpreting written instructions; making valid inferences from written material; using dictionaries and other reference sources to locate information; and being able to recognize the intent to persuade or mislead in written material. High-school graduates should also, according to the list of skills, understand basic computer terminology and demonstrate some ability to use computers and appropriate software for self-instruction, problem-solving, word-processing, and the collection and retrieval of information.

Recommended that there be a statewide college-preparatory program.

Recommended that an increased emphasis be placed on community and parental resources, including: community advisory committees; improved communication between the school and home; greater business and industry "input"; and parent-training programs.

For example, Mr. Newcomb said, parents should be told that it would be helpful for their children to be able to differentiate between colors by the time they reach kindergarten age.

Recommended that the state mandate a uniform curriculum for local school systems. "There are 187 local school districts in Georgia," Mr. Newcomb said, "and there's an expectation among many members of the commission that there's got to be some uniformity from one system to another."

Full-Day Kindergarten

Mr. Newcomb said the commission might also recommend that mandatory full-day kindergarten be established in the state and that a weighted funding formula be instituted.

The formula, he said, would recognize that some students, like the gifted and the learning-disabled, cost more to educate than other students; that some courses, such as chemistry, require more dollars per student than others; and that some grades, such as kindergarten and grades l through 3, are also more costly than others.--lck

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