Feds finish proposed regulations for new education law

The U.S. Department of Education has finished putting meat on the bones of the new Every Student Succeeds Act, the legislation that superseded the No Child Left Behind Act and its heavy emphasis on state standardized tests.

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, presented Senate Bill 364 to fellow senators during Georgia’s legislative session. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Congress re-wrote the law last year, and President Barack Obama quickly signed it, downplaying the emphasis of test scores as an accountability tool for schools. The federal education agency then had to make rules to operate under the new law, and Education Secretary John B. King Jr. on Thursday announced his department’s proposal.

The regulations require schools to produce easily-digestible performance report cards while continuing an emphasis on struggling students, according to US DOE. “They also give educators room to reclaim for all of their students the joy and promise of a well-rounded educational experience,” King said.

Standardized tests are still required under ESSA, but states have more latitude in deciding how to use them to hold schools and educators accountable. Georgia responded this year with Senate Bill 364, a law that de-emphasizes the state’s Milestone test results in teacher evaluations. Even so, Gov. Nathan Deal has said he wants teachers’ performance to influence their pay.


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The sooner the federal government gets out of education the better off the schools will be.


"Even so, Gov. Nathan Deal has said he wants teachers’ performance to influence their pay."

The following may be the Governor's real plan- This is a trick similar to following the wrong hand of the magician. Deal does not want pay for performance - he wants to reduce the cost of all teachers and is planning on lowering the majority of teacher's pay while raising relatively few. 

It's as if you had 10 employees making $10 per hour(total $100 per hour) and you said " I want to pay for high performance". You then set up a scheme where you provide a base amount of $8 per hour and a performance plan that pays up to $12 per hour. You then set up a system that guarantees only 2 of the 10 workers will ever make $11 per hour. That makes the new total for employee pay $86 per hour. You have thus reduced most workers' pay, slightly raised a few, and reduced average employee pay. Less pay for 80% of the employees.

This is what Deal plans to do to teachers - the state has been systematically lowering teacher pay with no raises for years even as inflation and tax receipts have risen. Deal touts a "raise" for teachers this year, but did not change the state salary schedule. He simply gave local school districts a one time lump sum they may spend as they please, and suggested they give teachers a one time pay increase. This was to distract folks during the next election. He will not reveal the new pay scheme until after the election.

One rule for the next election - vote against every incumbent.