Gov. Deal’s state-of-the-state speech: Clear on 2 percent raise for teachers, but vague on Plan B for failing schools

Nathan Deal signed campus carry today.

In his state-of-the-state address today, Gov. Nathan Deal announced a 2 percent raise for teachers that will be built into the pay scale. On his “Plan B” for failing schools, Deal was vague, saying only he was working with legislators to craft how the state can address underperforming elementary schools.

With his takeover district firmly rejected by voters in November, Deal has been studying how to inject the state into the management and direction of failing schools under existing laws. But he didn’t spell out an alternative to his defeated Opportunity School District, although lawmakers say he may utilize the flexibility contracts some districts signed to impose consequences when achievement provisions are not met.

Deal may also press districts to allow students in schools deemed failing to transfer to other schools, a problematic solution as some rural districts have no other schools and top schools in suburban Atlanta are often at capacity with no seats for transfers.

Teachers are not the only state employees to get raises. Deal also said, “…my budget proposal includes, on average, a 19 percent pay raise for DFCS caseworkers so that we can both ensure a competitive salary for those who fill these vital roles and so that we can recruit and retain the best possible candidates to look after the safety of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. That same desire to attract and retain quality public servants extends throughout the state workforce, which is why I recommended and this legislative body approved a 3 percent allocation for a merit, recruitment and retention pay increase for state employees last year. My FY2018 budget proposal also accentuates this positive with another increase of a 2 percent allocation.”

The governor maintains he has increased education spending, but the Georgia Budget &  Policy Institute notes 90 percent of increases in state funding went to three areas:

-Partial restoration of austerity cut

-Student enrollment growth & routine teacher salary adjustments

-Rising retirement costs

Here is what Deal said:

In recognition of the crucial roles that they play and the difficult challenges they face in the course of their work, my budget proposal for this upcoming fiscal year includes a 2 percent salary increase built into the pay scale for all authorized state teacher positions. This is in addition to the three percent merit pay increase included in this current fiscal year’s budget.

As our educators accentuate the positives in our children and eliminate the negatives, we should latch onto the affirmative and reward them for that invaluable service. As we do so, we should also seek to eliminate whatever systemic negatives are preventing students and teachers alike from realizing their full potential.

Currently, the greatest negative in the education landscape of Georgia is the number of children trapped in failing schools. Two years ago, there were 127 chronically failing schools with roughly 68,000 enrolled students. Now that we have the data from the last school year, we find that there were 153 schools that had a failing score for three consecutive years. Those 153 chronically underperforming schools served almost 89,000 students last school year – over 20,000 more students than we spoke of last fall. Almost 70 percent of the chronically failing schools – 106 to be exact – serve elementary students.

It should be abundantly clear to everyone, including those in the education community who so staunchly support the status quo, that this is unacceptable. If this pattern of escalation in the number of failing schools does not change, its devastating effects on our state will grow with each passing school year.

Since the vast majority of those chronically failing schools serve elementary-aged children, our proposals for addressing this issue will place an emphasis on elementary schools. If we can reverse this alarming trend early on, if we can eliminate this negative that directly or indirectly impacts all of us, then our reading comprehension scores, math skills, graduation rates and the quality of our workforce will all improve considerably.

To that end, my office is working closely with Lt. Gov. Cagle, Speaker Ralston, House Chairman Brooks Coleman, Rep. Kevin Tanner, Senate Chairman Lindsey Tippins, Sen. Freddie Powell Sims and others to craft legislation that will be presented to you this session. I want to thank them for their efforts to remove this negative so that our children’s futures will be brighter, our state’s economic prospects more sure and our global reputation all the more notable.

For those who will contend that the real issue is lack of resources, let me remind them that we have increased K-12 spending by 2.017 billion dollars over the last four years, which includes my fiscal year FY18 proposal. That translates into roughly 50 percent of all new growth in state revenue being dedicated to K-12 public education.

It is not enough to pour more and more money on a problem in hopes that it will go away. By addressing this negative, the students of today will be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow – jobs that are already on their way to our communities.

Here are two related AJC videos on the budget and education:



 

Reader Comments 0

25 comments
Patrickscomment
Patrickscomment

Now is this a "pay raise" like the b.s. money that was to be ear-marked for teachers but could be used on other things or is this an actual adjust to their salary schedules?

Augies
Augies

2.017 billion million dollars? That FY18 proposal must be huge!

Rebecca Tabb
Rebecca Tabb

2%.....\U0001f602\U0001f602\U0001f602 What a joke! My system didn't get a 3% "raise" last year. Furlough days were restored. My husband is an LEO & they got 20%. I make less than I did ten years ago! When are we going to push back?

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

Here is Democratic response to the state-of-the-state on education from Atlanta Sen. Vincent Fort: 


A child born today to a poor mother at Grady Hospital, just a few blocks from here, or in many rural hospitals, has less of a chance to work her way into the middle class than almost anywhere else in America. 

 That is wrong.  Democrats will not accept it.  I know you will not accept it.  Together, we must change it. 

 Today, Governor Deal offered you one direction for Georgia.  It is old road map - well worn with the agenda of moneyed special interests and narrow ideologues.  It's an agenda that bestows favors and advantages on the wealthy - while leaving behind our children, our workers and older citizens.

 The Governor had a chance to offer fresh ideas about how to improve our schools, create more and better jobs, and ways to make healthcare accessible and affordable for all Georgians.  He did not.

 We can do better. 

 Democrats in the legislature offer you a different direction. 

 First, through better schools. 

 Georgians spoke clearly last year when they rejected Governor Deal's effort to strip parents and communities of local control of their schools.

 It was an ill-conceived idea.  State bureaucrats cannot and should not run local schools.  Parents and their school boards should run local schools.  If Governor Deal again attempts to attack local schools, Democrats will fight him every step of the way. 

 Democrats have a better plan - create a community schools program -- managed by local schools and parents, ensuring every child after-school supervision and help with homework, providing medical care and nutrition where necessary. 

 We know that hungry and sick children don't learn, and that those who lack structure after school are at a disadvantage.  If every school offers those programs, we'll see kids perform better and they'll graduate with the skills they need to succeed.

 Georgia has lead the nation in affordable access to higher education through the HOPE Scholarship - and Democrats are committed to protecting that opportunity.  Democrats created the HOPE Scholarship... and we've fought to protect it... and we will continue to protect it so that everyone who wants to get an advanced education can afford it.

Pelosied
Pelosied

@MaureenDowney 

One day the black community will be represented by legislators ... who finally admit that two-parent homes give children an advantage in life. One that accounts for most if not all of the inequality of outcome their speeches excoriate.

Before this can happen, however, we'll likely need journalists willing to put aside partisan politics for the good of future generations of black children.

Only 1 in 4 of which grow up in a home with a father present.

Pelosied
Pelosied

@Starik 

One feeds off the other, and both are purposely ignored by city politicians.

And their enabling journalists.

Ariel Young
Ariel Young

So DFCS and Police get 20% and educators get 2%? \U0001f914 So obviously it's more important to lock kids up than to educate them. Wow!

Tom Green
Tom Green

At least the state's priorities have been clarified.

Shira Newman
Shira Newman

How about -- stop having legislators think they know the answers. TEACHERS know the answers. not legislators and not administrators. Try with ONE school. Don't go about changing everything all the time with everything. start slow. Do something completely different and out of left field -- and see what happens. Completely change the model. When you have no idea what you are doing and you want to do it for everything -- that is a recipe for disaster. AND -- news flash, not every school has to be the same.

Amie Diprima Brown
Amie Diprima Brown

2% allocation this year and a 3% last year...so this isn't a raise? It's a one time increase of 2%?

Matt Norris
Matt Norris

If it is in the payscale it has to be permanent. Now he's still a liar. Last year wasn't a raise. It was not in the payscale

Richard Landolt
Richard Landolt

It as a one time bonus... Not to be repeated unless he decided to do it again.

bev1972
bev1972

I thought respect was shown for teachers in the presentation. I'm hoping whatever new plan is proposed, we don't prematurely label it OSD B plan. I'm hopeful that the representatives named as drafting a plan are taking into account the overwhelming desire for local control across the state and input from the Teacher Advisory Committee. I'm hopeful that somehow we can find a way to wrap around services to our school communities most in need of help. I would like to see more info on how the elementary schools are rated because the grades are only as good as the rating scale.What are we measuring?


MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@bev1972 The study out of UGA I posted a few days ago addressed the harshness of Georgia's school rating scale compared to Florida, Louisiana and Massachusetts. (Many states don't have ratings scales like these.) Fewer schools would be on the failing list in Georgia if we used the scaling of those states. The disparity was mentioned at the joint House-Senate meeting yesterday so wondering if any adjustments will be made.


FlaTony
FlaTony

@MaureenDowney @bev1972 The rating scale was revised shortly after its implementation because too many schools scored too highly. The current political climate is interpreting this as having high standards.

BDKMBISH
BDKMBISH

@bev1972  http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Accountability/Documents/Indicators and Targets/2016 Indicators.pdf  

These are the "indicators" CCRPI looks at to grade schools. Notice that most of it is performance on standardized test scores. Test data that was deemed unusable for student promotion/retention and teach evaluation last year.  But somehow that data is good enough to use to grade our schools.  Also note that in my child's middle school 26 ELL students caused a drop of 5 full points on the index for a failure to show growth on the AXXIS test.  I hardly think 26 of 1000 students should have that much weight on an entire school score.


Cbpvsp
Cbpvsp

look at CCRPI indicators - graduation rate - The line item is worth 15 CCRPI points.  At the elementary level students have to perform at proficient or distinguished to receive points.  At the HS level they only have to graduate - which now does not included passing any of the milestone tests.  This is the reason so many elementary schools suddenly made the new failing list.

mulk89
mulk89

@Cbpvsp



The overall CCRPI score is based on a 100-point scale. This is intentional as the public, generally speaking, understands a 100-point scale. There are three main features that comprise the CCRPI score:


This is straight of the GADOE website- entirely too much of the CCRPI is based on Milestone testing.  Items 1and half of 1b, item 2, and item 3 are all based on Milestone testing.


Another point that many misunderstand is the the CCRPI wasn't designed to identify failing schools.  It was designed to measure growth or lack of growth of schools.  That's a huge difference that many do not understand.

  1. Achievement = 60 points
    a. Content Mastery = 40%

    b. Post Elementary/Middle/High School Readiness = 30%

    c. Graduation Rate/Predictor for High School Graduation = 30%

  2. Progress = 25 points

  3. Achievement Gap = 15 points 

Tom Green
Tom Green

Many school systems used the last 3% "raise" to eliminate furlough days and make up for the lack of state funding. I'm happy that many will finally get a raise for the first time in the past 8-9 years.

Shira Newman
Shira Newman

it's great and certainly the teachers are underpaid -- but many people are making the same or less than they did 10 years ago...

Beth Stallings Odom
Beth Stallings Odom

AJC Get Schooled yep, he did. I was stating those as a comparison to what teachers' proposed raise is this year. Looking forward to your coverage, as always. Been a follower for years via FB, email, and online subscription. Keep up the good work.

AJC  Get Schooled
AJC Get Schooled

From his speech: "...my budget proposal includes, on average, a 19 percent pay raise for DFCS caseworkers so that we can both ensure a competitive salary for those who fill these vital roles and so that we can recruit and retain the best possible candidates to look after the safety of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. That same desire to attract and retain quality public servants extends throughout the state workforce, which is why I recommended and this legislative body approved a 3 percent allocation for a merit, recruitment and retention pay increase for state employees last year. My FY2018 budget proposal also accentuates this positive with another increase of a 2 percent allocation."