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.”
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.