Georgia lawmakers acknowledge testing went too far

In an acknowledgement that Georgia went too far with a 2013 law that mandated the heavy use of tests in teacher job evaluations, the state House of Representatives voted unanimously Tuesday to roll back the use of tests.

The House vote follows a unanimous Senate vote last month. Though the bill was tweaked and must return to the Senate for a final signoff, its sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, says he sees no reason why it won’t pass.

Tuesday’s vote was led by Rep. Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, the chief architect of the 2013 legislation that established the current testing mandates. Current law requires at least half of each teacher evaluation to be determined by student “growth” over time on test scores. Senate Bill 364, if the changes are ratified by the Senate and approved by Gov. Nathan Deal, will reduce that to 30 percent. It also cuts the number of tests.

“Feedback has been overwhelming that these numbers are too high,” Nix told his fellow lawmakers on the House floor, adding, “I know you’ve all heard that we have way too many tests and I certainly believe that we do.”

Mar. 15, 2016 - Atlanta - Rep. Randy Nix (right), R - LaGrange, who carried the bill in the House, confers with Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, who sponsored the bill, after it's passage. Senate Bill 364 passed the House Tuesday. It is the biggest education-related bill of this legislative session. It cuts back on testing and the use of tests in teacher evaluations, affecting more than 100,000 teachers and 1.7 million Georgia students. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Mar. 15, 2016 – Atlanta – Rep. Randy Nix (right), R – LaGrange, who carried Senate Bill 364 in the House, confers with author Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

He knows they heard it because teachers and test critics flooded their emails and phone lines in a concerted campaign. Teachers had a broad coalition, with support from the Georgia PTA and all the major education associations that represent school boards, superintendents and principals.

Read more about the legislation and what it means at the myAJC Education page.

Reader Comments 0

12 comments
redweather
redweather

It is quite surprising how little in the way of comments this blog article has received. I thought the "reform" advocates would be all over this. 

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@redweather

The reform crowd got all confused over 50% vs 30%. It "did not compute" so they could not formulate comments.


I am surprised that Miltraveleduk8r did not post the all purpose, reformerator, $10 per posting, Stanford "study" for the 26th time.

jerryeads
jerryeads

One disturbing part of this bill is that now 1st and 2nd graders will be subjected again to testing. We know how to do individual (one-on-one) testing pretty well with six- and seven-year-olds, but no one who knows anything about little kids and/or testing has ever suggested we can do high-stakes bubble testing to them with even any semblance of accuracy. This addition to the bill could not possibly have been done with even any basic study of reality. 

If we want to provide such testing to teachers for their use in the classroom to help kids, that's one thing. Forcing kids to do such testing under pressure will simply teach them to hate school even earlier.

Starik
Starik

@mensa_dropout Then why don't we have accountability for teachers?  I see the Greene County "coach" resigned - but is he still licensed?

jerryeads
jerryeads

@Starik @mensa_dropout That would take a charge being submitted to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, a compilation and review of the charge, and a decision by the appointed Commission.

Travelfish
Travelfish

This just moves forward the day when tuition vouchers allow parents to desert, en masse, traditional public schools and the mediocrity too often associated with them.

Legislators, meanwhile, will be evaluated by voters in November.

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

@Travelfish Too Funny! Do you hear the violins. Vouchers dying on the vine! HAHHHHAAHH! The poor parents stuck in failing schools.   

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Travelfish


Hey Edu - I mean Travel, I am all for vouchers - I have no kids to educate and I want to get my education money back to spend on learning to play the guitar.


Good idea - all taxpayers get their education taxes back and can donate to a school of their choice or just spend it on themselves.


Now that is personal accountability.


BTW - any parents that want another choice can choose any school they want - they just have to be willing to pay for it with THEIR money.

jerryeads
jerryeads

@Travelfish To be replaced by the unmonitored mediocrity or abject incompetence of private schools, we presume - - -

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

So Rep. Nix pulled the 50% testing evaluation measure out of his hat in 2013? And now he’s all for 30%?

How about Nix’s evaluation being  50% to 30% based on ability to produce living wage jobs, high school and college graduation rates, levels of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, crime and bad grammar in his district?

See a summary for Nix's voting. He seems to be so interested in a fake clergy protection from gay marriage law and laws to keep people from buying alcohol on Sunday. You decide.  http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/65508/randy-nix#.VuiQGpwrKUk