Gov. Nathan Deal said to be working against testing overhaul

UPDATE from Maureen this afternoon: In a rare show of pique, House Education Chairman Brooks Coleman just opened the meeting on Senate Bill 364, the testing reform bill, by denouncing PAGE’s alert to its members warning the governor was attempting to block the bill by strong arming Coleman and three other House Ed members.
Coleman said the AJC called him this morning to ask about it, and he told the reporter, “That is a lie…I immediately demanded a retraction” from PAGE.
He is not happy with what PAGE issued in response, which Coleman said was not a retraction but an attaboy to PAGE members for rallying so quickly around the issue.
Clearly, the PAGE alert mobilized teachers. Coleman said he and other House members received more than a thousand emails and calls. PAGE says the tip about the governor’s efforts to block efforts to reduce testing in educator evaluations came from reliable source. Coleman never mentioned PAGE by name, citing only a state teacher’s group.

Back to original blog by my AJC colleague Ty Tagami:

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the state’s largest teacher advocacy group, emailed an alert early today to more than 70,000 members warning that Gov. Nathan Deal has been trying to halt the progress of popular testing overhaul legislation.

Feb. 26, 2016 - Atlanta - Senator Lindsey Tippins presents SB 364. The Senate voted today to rollback the use of metrics to judge teacher performance. Under current law, at least half of each teacher's evaluation must be based on the their students' performance on state-mandated tests. Senate Bill 364 reduces "growth" results on tests to 30 percent of a teacher's job review. It also reduces the number of tests. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Feb. 26, 2016 – Atlanta – Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, presents Senate Bill 364 to the Senate, which approved it by a unanimous vote. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Senate Bill 364 passed the Senate unanimously and has the support of major education groups in Georgia, including the PTA and associations for superintendents and school boards.

The governor’s office isn’t commenting. PAGE claims Deal has been calling members of the House Education committee about the legislation, which reduces the number of tests and their relevance in teacher evaluations. But the chairman of the House Education committee, Rep. Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, says he got no call from the governor. Committee members Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta, and Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, also said they were not contacted by the governor about this.

The governor’s office neither confirmed nor denied the report, with a spokeswoman saying she was “unable to comment on anything surrounding pending legislation.”

Read more about PAGE’s claims here.

Reader Comments 0

11 comments
jerryeads
jerryeads

Bravo, PAGE. And all the folks who stood up. We may yet get to see sane education policy.

redweather
redweather

Deal has never made a secret of his desire to privatize public education, so this really shouldn't come as any surprise.

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

As recently retired teacher, I never cared about evaluations.  I looked forward to tests so I could see how my students performed.  Yet, on the other hand, in addition to the GMAS, students, in some districts, are asked to take up to six additional county designed tests as well as school and teacher designed tests.  Plus, to give adequate time to take these tests, a minimum of a week is allocated for the GMAS, and a minimum of two days of instructional time were lost.  That's a total of 17 days (about 10% of instructional time) lost to testing before we consider school and teacher designed tests.  Can't we find a better way to assess students and evaluate teachers without taking so much time away from the kids to learn what we expect them to know?

jerryeads
jerryeads

@Looking4truth Yes. A big step would be to provide teachers during their development with excellent assessment skills, then learn to trust them with their judgments. Would be done by comparing teachers' judgments of student progress with periodic (and few) QUALITY external assessments (not to be confused with the low-bid junk the state now does).

jerryeads
jerryeads

Well, that would make sense -- We've been suppressing any improvement to education for nigh on fifty years with minimum competency testing (for all this testing NAEP and PISA remain essentially flat). If we were to get out of our testing insanity (doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results) and work seriously at improving our schools, then the people we graduate might actually start thinking about who we vote for and elect people who might actually work to make things better. And THAT would be disastrous for those who've now suckered us into voting for them.


Legong
Legong

By repeatedly discussing this topic Get Schooled obviously seeks to rally support for the teachers' unions and their uncompromising point of view.

But real accountability won't cease to be a popular cause among parents.

dg417s
dg417s

@Legong Actually, we are seeking a compromise. We aren't asking for the complete elimination of testing in accountability, we are asking for a reasonable amount since studies show that teachers actually impact about 9-14% of a student's performance on standardized tests.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

You mean he actually cares about the taxpayers, families and students?  Thats terrible!! 


Now, since I'm not a teacher, I should 1) Shut Up, and 2) Send more tax money!


I can't imagine why the politicians aren't listening to the eduacracy.  They make so much sense...

M. Thomas White, II
M. Thomas White, II

@dcdcdc I am not a teacher, but I am supporting SB 364. It will actually result in less state control in local districts, giving more say so to the local tax payer instead of the state government.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@dcdcdc You could give us your well researched and thoughtful response to the validity and reliability of the tests used, and the proper role assessment plays in increasing student performance.

pokerjoe
pokerjoe

Who will stand up to the governor?