Governor applauds House for passing milder version of his Opportunity School District

Nathan Deal did not get his Opportunity School District, but he may get a diluted version via the Legislature. (AJC photo)

The House passed House Bill 338 this morning, a milder version of the Opportunity School District in which struggling schools are more akin to partners in state takeover rather than victims of it. (There is some coercion, but it takes a while to kick in.) It now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

As I noted a few days ago, this is an expensive bill that pins all its aspirations on a single hire, the chief turnaround officer who answers to the governor-appointed state school board rather than the governor. (Yes, it is almost the same thing.) The CTO essentially becomes a shadow state school chief who works only with the lowest performing schools.

The bill brings no guaranteed new funding to those struggling schools. The sponsor contends schools could get funding via House Bill 237, which would establish a tax credit system that lets taxpayers offset the amount they owe the state with contributions to a school “innovation” grant program. Struggling schools targeted by HB 338 would be given priority to tap the fund, which would be capped at $7 million a year.

Along with the salary of the CTO, there will be costs to hire a turnaround SWAT team. The bill does not specify a CTO salary, but it will likely be executive-level.

I don’t think this bill tramples local control. It just spends a lot of money in ways unlikely to be productive, but that tends to be true with most top-down reforms.

This also seems like one of those pet projects that will launch with great flourish but slowly disappear from the horizon once a new governor with a new vision takes over. Sometime in the future under a new governor and Legislature, we’ll all look around and wonder what happened to the CTO. And we can chalk up the millions spent to good intentions but a flawed premise.

Gov. Nathan Deal could not persuade voters in November to authorize state takeover of local schools that weren’t meeting academic targets, but he’s having better luck with the General Assembly. While HB 338 falls far short of the constitutional amendment that Deal sought, it does enable the state to wield some power over under-performing schools.

Here is Deal’s statement on the House vote today:

Gov. Nathan Deal today commended the House of Representatives on the passage of HB 338, which creates a turnaround plan for Georgia’s lowest-performing schools. The legislation, which passed by a vote of 138-37, includes a method for identifying low-performing schools and a multi-year, multifaceted turnaround plan to assist them.

“I applaud the members of the House of Representatives who demonstrated their commitment to improving education outcomes for Georgia’s most vulnerable students,” said Deal. “Rep. Kevin Tanner worked tirelessly with House and Senate leadership, education committee chairmen and other stakeholders to produce this critical and bipartisan legislation. I’m grateful for their cooperation and collaboration on behalf of Georgia students. This is a critical step forward for improving Georgia’s education system for current and future students, families and communities. I look forward to its passage in the Senate and signing HB 338 into law.”

Reader Comments 1

25 comments
gchobbs
gchobbs

Since members of the House of Representatives ignored the desire of their constituents HB338, I hope that the voters keep this vote in mind the next election rolls around for them. I will certainly REMEMBER.

Sharon Pharr
Sharon Pharr

A bite at a time. Too unpopular to support the full agenda, so they get it a bite at a time..

Lori Brown Belflower
Lori Brown Belflower

The people voted no, but that didn't matter the state is going to go ahead and do it anyway. I'm SO READY for him to get out of office!!!

newsphile
newsphile

If this becomes law, we will have two taxpayer-funded state superintendents (call them whatever you'd like), requiring two taxpayer-funded departments within the DOE, and the governor will extend his reach even further.  Members of the state BOE who will supervise the additional "superintendent" are appointed by the governor.  .  The governor and his minions are ignoring the will of sixty percent of GA's voters.  Some contributor to Deal's campaign chest is about to get a huge payback, all with the state legislature's blessing.  Follow the money, and remember this in the voting booth. 

Theresa Pinilla
Theresa Pinilla

What, Kinder gentler school takeover and disruption? No, thank you.

Bob Fuse
Bob Fuse

We are against this bill. Be not decieved by anyone speaking or writing unsigned letters saying any thing else. There are some of us, besides myself, who will not succumb to personal trade offs for popularity, especially approval and acceptance from them. Yesterday...Today...

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

Why is there not one single existing CTO named? We could look at CTO track records and see what they implemented.


How about the legislators approving a UZD instead of an OSD (UZD = unicorn zoo district). There's not a successful one in existence, but we can't just keep the "status quo", can we, not when we can spend extra millions of tax money for another bureaucracy.


Some folks use the term "educrat" on here as a perjorative term for educational bureaucracy.  Looks like we need to watch out for the "legicrats"/"govercrats" that keep creating shadow educational bureaucracies.



Astropig
Astropig

I'm getting the vibe that this is headed for swift passage.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Astropig

You sound like you like wasting taxpayer money on a no plan "legicrat" boondogle.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Astropig

BTW, whatever happened to Erin Hames, the gov's educational wunderkind? Is she turning schools around? Did she turn APS around? Will she be in the runnng for CTO?

Astropig
Astropig

@AvgGeorgian @Astropig


Oh, I'll cheerfully pay my fair share to implement this,if passed (which is looking more and more likely).


The thing that will really make my day is knowing that you'll  pay your fair share also,if it becomes law.



newsphile
newsphile

@Astropig As I recall, you don't live in GA.  You are so invested in all things political in our state that one can only assume you are reaping huge financial benefits from these votes. 

Astropig
Astropig

@newsphile @Astropig


"You are so invested in all things political in our state that one can only assume you are reaping huge financial benefits from these votes. "


Haha. Good grief.You're a paranoid kook.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@newsphile @Astropig


Astropig is a lawyer who is tied to the private charter industry. He is either Glen Delk or works for Glen. He is invested in destroying public schools and putting them into the hands of privateers.

AJCkrtk
AJCkrtk

@GetSchooled - the $7 million doesn't fund the turnaround work. It is a tax credit program that awards funds through a competitive grant application process to schools that propose innovative programs.  It is NOT limited to low-performing schools.  We can all guess where that money is going to end up!


MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@AJCkrtk See my clarification, but note that under House Bill 237, struggling schools are the priority for grants. This is from the bill:


Such foundation shall also be authorized to receive donations from taxpayers pursuant to Code Section 48-7-29.21 for the purpose of awarding grants to public schools for the implementation of academic and organizational innovations to improve student achievement, with priority given to schools earning unacceptable ratings,

DecaturRags
DecaturRags

You don't get it, or you don't pay attention, Cobbsiders. It's not the teachers, it's not just poor functioning school boards; it's the economy of the postal code where these schools are. It is poverty. As for DeVos, anybody who thinks HBCUs were a function of "choice" is clueless and has no background knowledge to be telling schools how to reform. 

Cobbsiders
Cobbsiders

@DecaturRags 

Oh, the rest of us get it only too well: your side sees secure employment, preferably unionized, as the reason for neighborhood schools. 

Not education.

Starik
Starik

@Cobbsiders @DecaturRags It's not necessarily the postal code. Look at the demographics & income level for 30084. Look at the demographics of the schools. Most of the problems come from elsewhere.

Cobbsiders
Cobbsiders

Rent the documentary Waiting For Superman for a taste of what parents, and our Governor, are up against trying to get school boards to reform failing public schools. 

As President Trump pointed out in his State of the Union speech last night, we have a right to expect better. Education Secretary DeVos may be key in finally bringing justice to parents saddled with failing zip code schools.

Our kids deserve it.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Cobbsiders @AvgGeorgian

Do you not read both sides of an argument? Don't be so naive.


Your article "In his low-key narration, Mr. Guggenheim acknowledges that charter schools have had mixed success in elevating academic standards and preparing children for college. " 

"the 97-block Harlem Children’s Zone, which he founded and runs, is no miracle. The zone is astoundingly successful at getting children through high school and into college. But that success, largely dependent on private money,"


"After that point, access to the schools is limited and inconsistent.  Even then, however, getting into a Zone school is no guarantee a kid will get to graduate from one.  When the school first opened, they had lotteries for kindergarten and for middle school. But the kindergarten students were judged to be wildly under prepared (and the middle schoolers so rambunctious and difficult to wrangle) that HCZ closed the middle school — for two years.  Funny how a charter can do that, say ‘oops’ and get a do-over. The students who were bounced out of the middle school after 8th grade graduation? HCZ doesn’t know what became of them –where they went to school, or how they’re doing. “They’re not our kids,” HCZ spokesman Marty Lipp told me* last fall, for an investigative report I wrote on the Zone for City Limits magazine.  So much for that cradle-to-college pipeline." https://millermps.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/is-the-harlem-childrens-zone-all-its-made-out-to-be/

Cobbsiders
Cobbsiders

@AvgGeorgian 

So if the union's arguments are so persuasive, who do you fear parents making up their own minds?

And I'm glad you don't deny the existence of "rubber rooms" and other union inventions which frustrate any attempt to fire incompetent teachers in unionized school districts (and in many non-unionized ones).

As portrayed in the documentary film.

taylor48
taylor48

@Cobbsiders @AvgGeorgian I love how the only comeback some people have to disagreement is "you work for a union."  As a daughter of a union household (my father worked on the railroad), nobody "works" for the union, unless they are in leadership (ie local representative).  And, even then, the pittance they make doesn't even begin to cover all of the time they spend outside of their full time job.  Rank and file union members don't get paid for anything.  #themoreyouknow


BTW, I'm a member of GAE, and I'm STILL waiting for my big paycheck for all of the time I spent listening to Johnny Isakson and David Perdue's voice mailbox greeting.  If you happen to know where I can send my invoice, I'd be very grateful.

Trackbacks

  1. […] expertise to figure out turnaround strategies when they have excellent resources right here. See House Bill 338 and its call for a national search for a chief turnaround […]