I received the following letter, addressed to the Georgia School Board.

Dear Diane,

I know that you do not support the Common Core State Standards, but I also know that you are willing to consider other points of view. Pasted down below is the text of a letter I have written to the Georgia School Board as they reconsider the CCSS at the request of the governor. The letter is also posted at the Mathematics Teaching Community here:

It would be great if you would post this on your blog! Thanks, Sybilla

Dear School Board Members:

I have been teaching mathematics at the University of Georgia for over 25 years and have devoted a large part of my career to issues of K–12 mathematics education. As a mathematics teacher, I am concerned about my profession and about the mathematics learning of students in Georgia. In that capacity, I am writing with comments, which I hope you will consider as you review the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M).

The CCSS-M are the strongest K–12 mathematics standards that I know of.

At the invitation of state superintendents, I have worked on a number of states’ mathematics standards, including Georgia’s and Texas’s. No standards I know of are better than the CCSS-M.

The CCSS-M were developed very carefully with repeated cycles of feedback.

The CCSS-M were informed by previous standards, including Georgia’s, with repeated, extensive input from mathematics education experts who are recognized nationally, and with input from states. The standards were informed by the best available research, including research about mathematics learning summarized in National Research Council reports. I know this because I was an active member of the CCSS-M writing team.

Serious professions deserve standards that are developed nationally.

I think that mathematics teaching is a serious and important profession on par with medical professions, for example. We expect standards for medical practice to be developed nationally by experts based on the available research. Why would we expect something different for mathematics teaching?

The presidents of all the major national mathematical societies have expressed “strong support” for CCSS-M.

This includes the presidents of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and all the members of the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences.

Click to access CBMS%20Support%20Statement%20for%20CCSSM.pdf

Having standards does not imply losing autonomy or creativity.

Some of the most creative contributions to art, music, and literature, occur within a framework. Mathematics itself operates within a framework and is full of brilliantly creative results. The CCSS-M allow for creativity and autonomy within a framework.

The CCSS-M need time and support to implement.

Right now, mathematics teaching and learning (at all levels) are not as strong as they should be. The CCSS-M can help us focus on where we need to go. Implementing them will require time, learning, and collective effort. Let’s use the standards we have and work together to make mathematics teaching and learning in Georgia strong and vibrant.

A copy of this letter is posted at the Mathematics Teaching Community, online at
where teachers of mathematics (any level) may post comments.


Sybilla Beckmann
Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics
Department of Mathematics
Boyd Graduate Studies Building
200 D. W. Brooks Drive
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602