Governor’s commission on school funding to meet for first time. Anybody expect much?

The Governor’s Education Reform Commission will hold its first meeting Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in the Oak Conference Room at the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. The funding sub-committee will meet afterward in Capitol Room 107 for its first meeting.

Gov. Nathan Deal

Gov. Nathan Deal

Gov. Nathan Deal will give his charge to the committee, which was created to study the state’s education system, including its funding formula, and provide recommendations to improve the system, increase access to early learning programs, recruit and retain high-quality instructors and expand school options.

Deal announced the members in January. There are five county superintendents including Fulton’s Robert Avossa and Gwinnett’s J. Alvin Wilbanks. There are 10 legislators, mostly the usual suspects. There are several charter school advocates and a few folks from the higher education sphere.

Among the criticisms being made about the makeup of the committee:

-At 33 members, it’s too big to accomplish anything. By the time they take roll call, share a few sub-committee reports and refill their coffee cups, it will be time to adjourn.

-It’s frontloaded with choice advocates.

-It doesn’t have enough educators who are in the classroom right now.

-It has too little representation from Georgia’s small districts.

As one rural school chief told me:

The Education Reform Commission has a monumental task that will affect education in Georgia for decades to come. Considering the current funding formula is 30 years old this year, I applaud the Governor’s decision to tackle this issue at this time.

I must say I am a little disappointed that the smallest public school district with active representation on the commission is Appling County (FY14 FTE = 3,444).

Interestingly, Appling is ranked 89th of 180 public school districts in size, which means over one half (91/180 = 50.6%) of the districts have no representation on the commission, and I would argue those are the districts needing representation the most.

Small, rural systems where agriculture is the dominant industry face challenges that differ greatly from the metro systems’ challenges, so I hope someone will step forward to be our voice on the commission.

Georgia has assembled at least four blue ribbon commissions in the past to explore school funding and offer recommendations on how much the state should spend on its schools.  They all ran into dead ends when their research indicated the state needed to spend more on schools to improve outcomes.

The last committee danced around that finding by offering systems more flexibility with funding rather than more funding. But utility companies, technology providers and heating and air conditioning repair services tend to prefer cash to flexibility.

I am not optimistic this committee will offer a radical fix although it has a few truth tellers in the mix.

The question will be whether Deal is willing to hear the truth.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

69 comments
Falcaints
Falcaints

Five years of furloughs and still counting.

jerryeads
jerryeads

The answer to your headline? No. Been watching this game for more than forty years - and helped play it for thirty. During that time I watched politicos cobble together small herds of political favorites for one reason or another maybe fifteen times. Now, it's possible that unlike all the others this group might make a difference, but my guess is that it's on the order of the odds that cheating didn't go on in APS. Just another gambit to sucker the dcdcdc's of the world into thinking that they voted for the right people.

williev2000
williev2000

Many of the people in Georgia were democrats when we had democratic governors.  I think they were called "Yellow Dog Democrats".  Now, they are republicans.  Same people!!!  

Astropig
Astropig

@jerryeads


So you were voting for the "right" people when Democrat governors were doing it?(Serious question)


I mean, they had like 140 years of pretty much uninterrupted rule,so why didn't they take action? 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

-It’s frontloaded with choice advocates."


You mean, a party that runs on the idea that giving parents and students a choice on how they educate their kids will drive constant improvement to our education system is putting "choice advocates" on the committee?  How dare they!!!


How did the BigO put it?  "Elections have consequences" is I think what he said.  Educrats are obviously within their rights to support the D party, and that's worked well in some states for them - as any real reform has been blocked lock stock and barrel by their D cronies.  But here in GA, it's suicidal.  


It will be fun watching the fruits of your insane decisions play out.

Astropig
Astropig

@dcdcdc


The Dems had a real opportunity last year to put their guy in the Big House.Governor Deal, (let's be honest) had some ethical baggage.(In politics,your friends come and go,but enemies accumulate).


Anyway,they had an opportunity.What did their candidate do? Pledge to suddenly be in favor of increased education funding after voting against it in the legislature? No. Give parents and children the access to the best choice for their educational needs? Um, no. 


His platform was basically,"Elect me and I'll take the HOPE scholarship away from the middle class,and hand it to people that will vote for me in the next several elections". Amazingly, this did not work. He went into a free fall soon after this was made known and he never recovered (except in the outlier/wishful thinking polls done by You-Know-Who) . He also proved that you can never be too stupid to run for high office by offering to take the teachers pension money on a weekend jag to Cherokee Casino and putting it on red. (Okay, I'm exaggerating that last one-but just a little).


Now. Here we are a few months later. All of the silly hats and lapel pins have been put away.The bunting has been struck and the broke campaigns are still brushing off their caterers and go-fers that did the leg work.Now the guy that won is doing what he thinks is the right thing and the people that couldn't beat him want a do-over because their idiot candidate self destructed. People this dumb (and ignorant of the real world) can't be trusted with power.

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

Those with low expectations, or who believe that the results are predetermined by Deal, or think that this is an empty "photo-op' do not know the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Charles "Chuck" Knapp. His educational credentials are without peer in Georgia, and he is a tireless public servant. Dr. Knapp would NOT be used as anyone's political pawn, and those who accuse him of such simply discredit themselves as being uninformed.

I have seen Dr. Knapp in action as an advocate of better K-12 education and I would bet my house on the fact that he has one over-riding objective- to provide the best education to as many children as is fiscally possible.

This committee has a daunting task but I will tell you up front that its objective will be to serve children, not adults, and it will inherently displease many. As its recommendations begin to be made known, note the objections, the source of the objections, and the reason for the objections. They will involve issues which at their core displease adults: teachers, teacher unions, local school boards, superintendents, legislators, and even members of the executive branch. The protestors will most likely be advocates of these groups, not the children of Georgia.

Dr. Knapp is not beholden to anyone, and I believe that Georgia's children and their parents will be well served.

Let the uninformed, conspiracy theorists begin to take their shots.

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

Don't underestimate his ability to lead this group to the right place.

living-in-outdated-ed
living-in-outdated-ed

@RoyalDawg Dr. Knapp is only one of the "experts" I would acknowledge is worthy of being on this commission.   I will absolutely give you that. There are very few others who give me comfort that this commission is the right mix of folks.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@RoyalDawg I, too, am an admirer of Dr. Knapp's, but he is in an area now far outside his experience or expertise.

Don't Tread
Don't Tread

Well if the committee is frontloaded with choice advocates, and you don't like it, you must not like freedom of choice very much (especially when it's exercised by people you don't like).


The rest of us who value individual freedom would like to see some improvements - and freedom of choice is the best improvement.

dg417s
dg417s

@DontTread Just saying - choice isn't mentioned in the Constitution.  I would expect someone with the Don't Tread on Me flag to know the whole document word for word.  

newsphile
newsphile

I'm expecting this to be the forum for announcing the closed-door, under-the-table Deal already done.  Of course, that will come after an expensive trip to view NOLA's fiasco.  Valid data from reliable sources is readily available, but why let that trump a trip at taxpayers' expense. 

The Commission has far too many private and charter school representatives and politicians. Those who have much to gain financially have been given most of the seats at the table. Highly successful public school districts and current high school teachers who are successful, the real experts in the matter, have been blatantly overlooked.  It doesn't take much imagination to see where this is going...has already gone.


DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@newsphile  Kylie Holley, principal/superintendent of Pataula Charter Academy in south GA, serves on the commission. Pataula is both a rural representative, drawing from five rural counties, AND a highly successful public school district. 


Representatives from Fulton County, Carrolton, Baldwin, County, Hall County, Henry County, and Gwinnett County, and the 2011 Teacher of the Year are all serving. 



RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

 If we had more "Highly successful public school districts and current high school teachers who are successful" this commission would be unnecessary, and Georgia wouldn't rank 47th in ther nation in results. Teachers and local administrators, with all due respect to the many who toil in a flawed system, are not "the real experts" in school funding, which is a "big picture" issue. Those teachers who are truly committed are frustrated by the lack of results from their failed systems and will welcome true reform.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@RoyalDawg


Unfortunately the 20+ years of reforms that have been thrust on our public schools have failed. We know that the children who live in poverty are the ones who struggle in school. We offer nothing or very little to improve their chances. When a child comes to school hungry, cold, and barely dressed for the climate, live in chaotic circumstances, have no access to adequate health services, no amount of testing or CC will change their outcome. You cannot educate yourself out of poverty. Caveat; I know that there are some who do overcome the worst of circumstances to succeed but, unfortunately, they are the outliers.


newsphile
newsphile

@DrMonicaHenson @newsphile   The 2011 Teacher of the Year is no longer in the classroom and stands to gain financially from decisions made by the group, as do several other members of the commission.  I did note the school districts you name. However, most aren't names that come to mind when one thinks of success.  The commission would be more credible if it included districts that always make national best school lists, who have the higher graduation rates, and who have a high percentage of  graduates who are successful in college.  One has to wonder why those models of success and their input would not be worthwhile to such a commission. 

newsphile
newsphile

@RoyalDawg  Just think how low the ranking would be (lower than the lowest), if we didn't have some highly successful systems to pull up the average.  I don't believe any of those schools are represented on the commission.  I question why we don't want to hear from schools that graduate 90%, 80% of their students, whose students perform well in college.  These schools are always listed on national rankings of best schools.  The governor chose to ignore them when appointing members of the commission.  Follow the money here.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

It would be nice if a few RURAL/small system superintendents were included.  Also, a few ed financing policy experts, perhaps from other states.


What I expect is more of the same: Slighting "certain groups" of kids in favor of charter schools, private schools, and large, relatively wealthy systems.

newsphile
newsphile

@Wascatlady  Rural school districts are represented by Richard Woods on everything education in GA.  He came to this job from curriculum director of Irwin County Schools, a district of about 1,800 students.  Although he isn't on the commission, he has had plenty of opportunity to make his wishes known.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

Wascatlady, below.


Haven't you figured it out yet?  Never be the first poster on this blog because your comment will be truncated for later posters.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@OriginalProf Don't you think that could be fixed, as I and many others have asked over the last couple of months?

Mr_B
Mr_B

"They have to do what's right for the whole state,not just the eduacracy. "  H


Why don't we start by just doing what's right for our kids.


Not our administrators, not our testing companies, not our charter school profiteers, not even for our teachers.


Just what is right for our students.

living-in-outdated-ed
living-in-outdated-ed

The commission is too big, not diverse enough, and does not possess a sufficient number of credible "experts." Besides, I recall a superb study done by the Georgia Chamber on recommendations to reform the QBE and it's now sitting on a shelf.


This is a photo op that gives the appearance of efforts to enact change.   This blogger is VERY skeptical that anything actionable will come of it.   It's not an independent working body.

class80olddog
class80olddog

What this commission SHOULD study is WHERE the money is going now, compared to the 1960's.  We are spending 4 times what we spent per student then (adjusted for inflation) and we are getting abysmal results.  So WHERE are we spending our money now?  Administration?  SPED?  Testing?  Where?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog I would say all of the above.  In 1973, our school system of about 2800 students had a CO staff of: superintendent, assistant superintendent, secretary, bookkeeper, receptionist, and 1/2 time truant officer (remember those?)  Now, the system has 10 times that for 4100 students.


There were 4 elementary schools (K-7), each with their own principal and secretary, and the high school, (8-12) with a principal, assistant principal, and secretary.  Period.

dg417s
dg417s

@class80olddog Dade County hired administrators with its RTTT funds to manage RTTT.  The money didn't go to the classroom.  Hard to improve learning if the money isn't going to the classroom.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

"Small, rural systems where agriculture is the dominant industry face challenges that differ greatly from the metro systems’ challenges, so I hope someone will step forward to be our voice on the commission."


Maybe make your rural dump areas more appealing to people and they will move there.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MiltonMan Actually, in the N Ga mountains we need to erect fences to keep the Atlanta misfits out!

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

To members of the Governor Deal's Educational Reform Committee:


You have a huge responsibility to keep public education viable and improving in Georgia for the next few decades.  I hope that you will not simply become a rubber stamp partisan "school choice" political vehicle.  Please read what I just wrote to two fellow teachers, on the previous thread of this blog.  I was a teacher and an instructional leader to teachers in grades 1 - 12 in Georgia's public schools for 35 years.  I am presently a retired teacher, 72 years old, who continues to love public education in Georgia as much as I did during the 1969 - 1970 school year when I began my teaching career. 


To Old Physics Teacher:


"I actually am a supporter of teacher's unions for that very reason.  I suggested to Quid that she and others, such as yourself, get involved with the House and Senate Education Committees in Georgia's Legislature and let them know how you have students with many grade level variances in the same grade level and (according to Mary Elizabeth Sings' Graduate Teachers at GSU) that  educational phenomenon will always be true because students will always learn at different rates. These legislators have got to be educated to know that if they want real success in Georgia's public schools, they must start realizing that all students in a given grade level CANNOT master the same curriculum content at the very same time and that they must give teachers and students more flexibility to enhance individual student growth as much as possible in a year's time, but that every student will not be able to grow a year in academic knowledge in a year's time because their intellectual capacities are not equivalent, and they never will be.  Public educational leaders must start to recognize this and adjust their requirements accordingly.  The members of the House and Senate Education Committees, under the Georgia Dome, must hear this.  Practically all of them have never been teachers; they just have an interest in education.  The charter school business model is not the answer for the masses of students in public schools throughout Georgia.  Each charter school would be disjoined from every other without statewide cohesion and continuity.  Teachers must get to these Education Committee members and tell them what I have written here.  I am a member of GAE, which also makes me a member of NEA, and I urge every teacher who reads this also to join this professional organization. As teachers, we must demand our professional rights from legislators who have little knowledge of the classroom, themselves, yet they set educational policy.  The same applies to many members of the State Department of Education as to the Legislature (and the Governor's Office)."


From my blog:  https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/about-education-essay-1-mastery-learning/

redweather
redweather

@Astropig @MiltonMan @MaryElizabethSings  Whenever Republicans do well at the polls they seem to think Democrats should just roll over.  But when the Democrats do well at the polls, Republicans just dig in their heels.  Funny how that works.

Astropig
Astropig

@redweather @Astropig @MiltonMan @MaryElizabethSings


Well you're definitely not nicer here. Most Dems that I meet in the real world are great.They realize that there will be ups and downs in politics and they look forward to the ups.They're realistic.


The fact is,there are about three possible outcomes here:


1) The commission wastes everybody's time by doing nothing. This seems to be what Maureen is predicting here.This should make her happy,because she doesn't want this governor to do anything.But it (apparently) isn't enough to do nothing when you could be doing what your opponents want you to do.


2) The commission comes up with some bold,badly needed reforms. This,too would make Maureen unhappy because Governor Deal has the wrong letter in parentheses next to his official title.I can only assume that you would,also,be dissatisfied.


3) The commission meets,works and has the usual give and take and recommends some reforms and rejects others as impractical.They send a report to the governor.He picks out the parts he likes and ignores the rest. The rest of this scenario closely follows (2) above. 


Again, the voters spoke loud and clear. You made your case,but your program didn't carry the day.Time to let the government we have do their jobs.



Astropig
Astropig

@MiltonMan @MaryElizabethSings


@Milton-


Not addressing MES specifically here,but libs seem to have this whole "representative government" thing backwards. Governor Deal and the legislature did not get elected to implement the policy preferences of the people they defeated. They have to do what's right for the whole state,not just the eduacracy. The people spoke loud and clear in November and the administration ignores that at their peril. After watching the mudfight that was the campaign and the dirty tricks and laughable media bias last year,I don't know if it's possible for this governor to go far enough to make the fixes needed to our education system.The comments that will pour in here from the usual failure apologists have already been discounted by the people that count,so I say let this commission do its job and let's see where it leads.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@Astropig @MiltonMan @MaryElizabethSings

You are right Astropig. Deal got reelected to represent the big donors from the charter school industry and those who wish to see the privatization of our public schools. You get what you pay for. Pity he didn't think to look at Chile. Their schools went the way of choice and it was catastrophic for the citizens, especially the students. And this is what you want? Now the government is having to spend billions to put back together a viable public school system that the choice system ripped apart.


Astropig
Astropig

@sneakpeakintoeducation @Astropig @MiltonMan @MaryElizabethSings


Don't really know about Chile. We could both cherry pick success and failures all day and the regulars here would line up behind whatever supports their predetermined opinion.The point is, we're not Chile,and their experience really has nothing to do with what this governor is doing here and now.