Deal education plan offers students chance to ‘move up when ready’

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nathan Deal on Tuesday said teachers have told him they want more freedom in the classroom, and the former congressman has responded with an education plan he said would do just that.

Deal unveiled an education platform that is designed to address those concerns. He said teachers have told him, “don’t make us have to teach to a test.”

Surrounded by more than two dozen current state lawmakers and a number of legislative candidates at the Capitol, Deal said he would focus on making classroom teachers partners in the state’s education system, would devise incentives to attract and retrain teachers in key disciplines and would promote the expansion of charter schools.

“I have listened to Georgians and believe this plan has the right elements to bring needed changes to public education in Georgia,” he said.

One part of the plan is called “move on when ready,” which would allow a teacher to determine if a student is ready to move up a grade during the school year. For example, if a third grade teachers decides a student is prepared, that student could take the state’s standardized test and move on to the fourth grade.

“We will no longer tie the hands of students and teachers by imposing arbitrary ’seat time’ requirements,” Deal said.

Deal’s campaign said the details of the plan, including what happens if the student takes the test early but fails, would be decided later.

Deal, who faces Democrat Roy Barnes and Libertarian John Monds in November, also said he would emphasize education in science, technology, engineering and math. He would offer incentives to college students to earn teaching certificates in those areas and to serve in Georgia schools. Those incentives would include forgiving student loans.

Part of that emphasis on science and math would extend to the creation of charter high schools that focus on those key subjects, he said.

Read Deal’s entire plan at his website.

He said Tuesday he believes he can pay for his proposals with $19 million.

Barnes, too, has released an education plan that focuses on increasing teacher pay, reducing class sizes and banning teacher furloughs.

Barnes’ campaign said Deal’s plan is too little, too late.

“Unfortunately, Rep. Deal’s solutions would open the door to school vouchers and starve our public education system that is currently experiencing teacher furloughs, larger class sizes and fewer school days,” Barnes spokeswoman Anna Ruth Williams said. “From day one, Roy’s priority has been education – that’s why over the past year he’s visited over 90 counties, listening to Georgia’s educators and developing a comprehensive plan to make education work in Georgia again.”

Monds, meanwhile, wants to encourage more charter schools and give parents a $4,000 tax credit to send their children to private schools.

37 comments Add your comment

Bill Thomas

September 7th, 2010
2:58 pm

Good to see proposals that face the fact that our state is broke! Tell a contractor or a care dealer we need to pay more taxes to fund new programs in education. I’m also ready to see our brightest kids not held back any longer. I just might vote republican, yet.

EnoughAlready

September 7th, 2010
3:00 pm

Isn’t there already a process in place for kids who are performing above grade level; to be skipped to the next grade? Does that not already exist in Georgia? I’m not from Georgia, but in my high school there were several kids in my graduating class that had skipped one or two grades in elementary school. One of the young ladies was not allowed to attend our junior prom, due to her age.

In The Arena

September 7th, 2010
3:41 pm

Nathan Deal presents real solutions that we can actually afford. Roy Barnes presents empty promises that our state cannot afford. Empty promises vs. real solutions. Once again Roy ignores the teachers and just tells them what he thinks they want to hear. Arrogance defined.

CDog

September 7th, 2010
4:08 pm

As a public school teacher, here is what I would like to see:

1. An attendance policy with teeth – If you miss ____ days in a semester for any reason, you lose credit for that course. A student cannot learn if they are not there.

2. An SAT requirement of 1500 (the national average) for HOPE

3.Require any 5th year senior or 19 year old to attend an alternative school and not be allowed in a traditional public school.

4. Elimination of the End of Course Tests OR the Graduation Test. Having both is time consuming and redundant.

5. Never base an individual teacher’s pay on his students’ test scores. Maybe at the school or system level.

6. Less emphasis on special ed and more emphasis on gifted.

7. Choice – give students the choice of where they attend and give schools the choice of who they let in. Everything runs more smoothly when everybody is where they want to be.

8. Tax credits (not vouchers) up to the state average per student for money spent on private education. Public school is not for everybody.

9. Make state board seats elected positions, not just pawns of the governor.

10. Require annual drug tests to enroll in school for grades 7-12.

WTF

September 7th, 2010
4:08 pm

m glad we’re actually seeing details instead of vague Bs that we see everyday in Washington. Allow the students who are ready to move on. We can’t keep this nonsense of everyone as equals anymore. People have different talents and to think they learn at the same pace is ludicrous. I am willing to pay higher taxes if it means we’re getting our kids better prepared for their futures but not if we’re just talking about pay riases for admin. Sorry but the teachers also need to be put on a better evaluation process. Those who excel get raises or better yet incentives like bonuses or an incentive that goes ot their retirement. We need to bring back competition in our classroom. There is a reason why the majority of Dr’s now are form Pakistan or India. They have instilled competition at every corner and the kids who take advantage of that are flourishing. There system isn’t perfect but its a start.

king

September 7th, 2010
4:24 pm

skipping a grade is good, but we need to fix our schools not give vouchers to the rich.

king

September 7th, 2010
4:28 pm

bill if you do that you will see more of the same

Tami

September 7th, 2010
4:38 pm

As an independent voter, who strongly supports choice in schools and Charter schools. I have to say both have great points. I do however lean towards Roy Barnes as I see a little more dedication to Charter Schools. In Nathan Deals proposal I am reading between the lines when he says he supports Charter Schools, but without taking control from local schools. If you have a child who attends a Charter School now, you probably know that the school districts have been suing over the fact that they do not control students who attend charter schools. I read his comment as siding with the school districts on this issue. My child was failing school and is now progressing at a nice pace through a Charter School. I could be reading into Nathan Deals policy wrong and I always try to keep an open mind so I hope to see these plans debated soon!

td

September 7th, 2010
4:49 pm

king, You will not see more of the same because Dr. John Barge ran against Cathy Cox to begin with because he did not like the direction she was taking the DOE. He has stated he want to do away with Math 1,2,3, stop the HSGT and go back to a career and technical diploma in HS. He has also stated he wants more local control and the state office should be for oversight.

[...] more here: Deal education plan offers students chance to ‘move up when ready’ – Atlanta Journ… Tags: atlanta-journal, capitol, have-told, img-alt, news-articles, plan-offers, plan-today, [...]

rbn

September 7th, 2010
4:56 pm

What test to move on? Our watered down CRCT which had a 95% on level score for 8th graders, many of whom would barely be on 4th grade level? Also, test scores do not measure maturity levels or develpmental levels. This would become a pressure cooker with parents pressuring teachers to recomend that their children move on. The goalseems to be to save the state money, not improve education

Shar

September 7th, 2010
4:58 pm

Who gets to say which students are “ready” to move up, and what would constitute the parameters of such readiness? If students are compared to national rates of excellence on specific standards, then maybe this would be a good idea. If high achieving students stuck in classes of low achievers are moved up to improve the homogeneity of the class, it could serve the teachers’ convenience more than the best interest of the students involved. My own kids were among the higher achieving students in their classes but they were average in terms of social development, and putting them among students who were more socially advanced would have been risky. It would be far better to go back to tracking classes by grade so that teachers could have better homogeneity in their students but students would stay within their age cohort.

CDog, I think that your list is an excellent starting point. I would definitely add requirements for parental involvement in getting kids to school prepared to learn and to require that parents of current students contribute either time or money to their children’s schools. There is no substitute for an involved parent, and they are as crucial to student success as good teachers, administrators and facilities.

Andy

September 7th, 2010
5:22 pm

I think taking away money from schools that put athletics ahead of academics will help. It doesn’t matter if your school is a high school football champion, if the students are not graduating and are not ready for the job market, that does not do any good for those students.

GOB

September 7th, 2010
6:03 pm

Thinking it through, there seems to be a pretty big problem with the “move on when ready” idea. If a student is in third grade, and in March, his teacher decides he’s ready, and he passes the test, he won’t be simply moving to fourth grade, but rather the tail-end of 4th grade. In order to have an chance to keep up, the kid would essentially have to be at a 5th grade level.

I’m sure there are instances where it would work, but it seems unlikely that there is any true benefit. Unless the kid is truly on a 5th grade level, he wont be moving on with the rest of the 4th grade, or if he does, he’ll be ill-prepared for the next school year.

catlady

September 7th, 2010
6:39 pm

Nathan Deal doesn’t have a clue. Barnes is also pretty clueless, and I am afraid Monds is too out there for a libertarian ($4000 tax credit. Really?) What poppycock!

catlady

September 7th, 2010
6:41 pm

Wait! If they can “move up” when ready, that means they can be “held back” when not ready! How many WASP kids do you think would be “held back”?

Wondering Wondering Wondering

September 7th, 2010
7:05 pm

As a public school teacher, here is what I would like to see:

1. An attendance policy with teeth – If you miss ____ days in a semester for any reason, you lose credit for that course. A student cannot learn if they are not there. I AGREE WITH THIS.

2. An SAT requirement of 1500 (the national average) for HOPE KIND OF ASKING FOR ALOT AREN’T YOU? HOW MANY SAT SCORES OF 1500 DO YOU SEE IN GEORGIA SCHOOLS?

3.Require any 5th year senior or 19 year old to attend an alternative school and not be allowed in a traditional public school. I DISAGREE. SOME KIDS HAVE DONE WELL IN SCHOOL AND HAPPEN TO HIT THEIR 19TH BIRTHDAY BEFORE GRADUATION. EVEN IF A 5TH YEAR SENIOR AS YOU SAY, WHAT IF THEY GOT SICK DURING THEIR 4TH YEAR AND WAS OUT FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR.

4. Elimination of the End of Course Tests OR the Graduation Test. Having both is time consuming and redundant. I AGREE WITH THIS.

5. Never base an individual teacher’s pay on his students’ test scores. Maybe at the school or system level. I AGREE – MANY TEACHERS HAVE STUDENTS WHO DON’T COMPREHEND ENOUGH ENGLISH TO GET HIGH TEST SCORES AND LEAVE IT AS IT IS – ALL TESTS ARE IN ENGLISH.

6. Less emphasis on special ed and more emphasis on gifted. AND WHAT DO YOU PROPOSE TO DO WITH THE STUDENTS WHO HAVE IEP’S AND NEED EXTRA HELP? THROW THEM UNDER THE BUS? I STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH THIS. THESE STUDENTS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR SO-CALLED GIFTED STUDENTS.

7. Choice – give students the choice of where they attend and give schools the choice of who they let in. Everything runs more smoothly when everybody is where they want to be. DISAGREE. EVERY STUDENT IS ENTITLED TO THE BEST EDUCATION AVAILABLE AND RATHER THAN SCHOOL CHOICE, DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO BRING ALL SCHOOLS UP TO STANDARD. AND NO PUBLIC SCHOOL SHOULD BE ALLOWED THE CHOICE OF WHO THEY LET IN.

8. Tax credits (not vouchers) up to the state average per student for money spent on private education. Public school is not for everybody. YOU WANT TO SEND YOUR CHILD TO PRIVATE SCHOOL THEN SEARCH FOR SCHOLARSHIPS, BE PREPARED TO PAY, ETC. TAXPAYER MONEY SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS.

9. Make state board seats elected positions, not just pawns of the governor. I AGREE WITH THIS 150%.

10. Require annual drug tests to enroll in school for grades 7-12. MIXED EMOTIONS ON THIS.

Ray

September 7th, 2010
9:09 pm

If the public schools are the problem, why do the ones in east cobb send so many to great colleges?

Rural Eduation

September 7th, 2010
9:23 pm

Is there really a huge problem with children not being allowed to skip a grade? Moving in mid-year is not workable, another gimmick.

Sentio

September 7th, 2010
9:38 pm

hdhd

September 7th, 2010
9:39 pm

qwerty123

September 7th, 2010
9:43 pm

@ Wondering wondering:
2. An SAT requirement of 1500 (the national average) for HOPE KIND OF ASKING FOR ALOT AREN’T YOU? HOW MANY SAT SCORES OF 1500 DO YOU SEE IN GEORGIA SCHOOLS?

Per Collegeboard’s SAT Data and Report it appears about 40% of Georgia students scored 500 or above on each of the 3 sections, resulting in a score of 1500 or higher.

7. Choice – give students the choice of where they attend and give schools the choice of who they let in. Everything runs more smoothly when everybody is where they want to be. DISAGREE. EVERY STUDENT IS ENTITLED TO THE BEST EDUCATION AVAILABLE AND RATHER THAN SCHOOL CHOICE, DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO BRING ALL SCHOOLS UP TO STANDARD. AND NO PUBLIC SCHOOL SHOULD BE ALLOWED THE CHOICE OF WHO THEY LET IN.

You said it yourself: Every child is entitled to the best education available. If the best education is available outside of the student’s zone but within that same school district, shouldn’t that child be entitled to the best education available? Your response “Let’s bring every school up to standard” doesn’t solve the problem – that’s been said over and over by school boards but it never happens. If students are allowed a choice of schools, that provides an incentive for under-performing schools to improve quickly.

8. Tax credits (not vouchers) up to the state average per student for money spent on private education. Public school is not for everybody. YOU WANT TO SEND YOUR CHILD TO PRIVATE SCHOOL THEN SEARCH FOR SCHOLARSHIPS, BE PREPARED TO PAY, ETC. TAXPAYER MONEY SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS.

Why? If a taxpayer is paying for an education, what difference does it make if that education occurs in a public school or a private school? The net effect is that the child receives an education; more likely than not, increased competition resulting from public schools’ desire to maintain funding will benefit students.

Old Physics Teacher

September 7th, 2010
10:20 pm

qwerty123,
Your logic is flawed in #8. Taxpayers deserve accountability for their hard-earned money. Now I agree you’re not getting it now in public schools, bur private schools are never going to be accountable to the taxpayers. That’s why they’re private schools. The “great social experiment” we’re required to bow down to in the public schools would never be allowed. And don’t forget, there are plenty of private schools that award grades based on criteria other than academic success.(like parent’s income, influence, donations, AND athletic talent!).

BTW, I agree wholeheartedly about #6. Paying a professional with 15-20 year’s “experience” and an advanced degree $50k and up a year to babysit 3 children with IQs so low that the teacher spends the day changing diapers is a waste of taxpayer’s money. The marginal cost of Special Ed (low-level) is unrealistically high. I wouldn’t throw them “under the bus,” but I sure would change the way the program is handled. Now paying an administrator to make sure a student with a recognized disability (and ADD – ADHD is not a disability) is being handled properly in the classroom is not a waste of money, but I sure would spend a lot more money making sure our top students got every advantage we can give them rather than spending huge sums of money on “students” who will never be able to begin to pay back society for the amount of money spent on them.

And I know I’ll get grief about this for “throwing Special Ed students under the bus,” but realistically we have to live within our means, and schools can’t be everything to everybody… no matter what the Supremes say.

nan34

September 7th, 2010
10:35 pm

@Old Physics Teacher…well said, well said, well said!!!!

Andy

September 7th, 2010
10:43 pm

As a former elementary school teacher with nine years of classroom experience, I have to say the “move on when ready” component of this plan is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard from a politician. Mr. Deal obviously hasn’t spent much time in schools and doesn’t have many educators in his inner circle of advisors. I wish politicians would just admit when they don’t have a clue about education…

teach 123

September 7th, 2010
10:45 pm

Old physics teacher – sorry, but you deserve to be thrown under the bus for that post. I’ll take your comments to heart when you have a child with a severe disabillity; until then, I’m guessing you’re just another clueless individual who has no idea what true teaching involves in special education (and yes, it does require a lot more than changing diapers).

As for students never being able to “pay back” society, I’m sure you would be one of those idiot teachers who tells me that spending $2500 on text-reading software and a laptop for a HS student with LD is a waste of taxpayer money. Of course, you would also likely be one of those who assumed that he was stupid because he read on a 3rd grade level as a senior in HS. Thanks to services provided in special education, this student (with an IQ in the superior range of intelligence) was accepted to multiple colleges and is getting A’s and B’s in all of his classes using this technology (as allowed under ADA law). Not providing services & equipment would have certainly guaranteed that he would not be able to support himself in the future.

Its a moot argument anyway; whether or not you agree, IDEA is the law and isn’t going anywhere. I hope that you have retired; you have no business in public education.

Nick

September 7th, 2010
11:09 pm

@teach 123 that was well said.

ga female

September 7th, 2010
11:19 pm

Why is everyone so afraid to tell, people in public school that they need to apply on merit, behavior and parent participation to get into better public schools. Why should my children be penalized by the dreggs of society that don’t care. Private schools do it all the time and the kids do much better, they have 99% of the students going to college and 100% graduation rates.

It especially gauls me that my children are stuck with the entitlement multi-generation families, that even think that the booster clubs and sports programs should be free and staffed by everyone else. But their precious child, who is never going to make it in the NFL, NBA, or be a Falcon Cheerleader, but maybe make it to the chain gang, should eat team meals for free, have fundraisers done to pay for there camps and uniforms, because they are a minority and underpriveliged. They also get there grades changed in the general classes, which they flunk for sleeping 4 or 5 times first. They try to con my child to print out a copy of her health chart for them, because they don’t have a color printer at home. Oops, not in the budget, when you spend on cell phones, hair weaves, nails, etc… My child was smart enough to tell them to go print it out at kinko’s, it is only a few cents a page.

I would never vote for a crook like deal either. But I do want vouchers to get my kids out of these nasty public schools.

education

September 8th, 2010
5:43 am

The motive should be to provided best education among students and increase interest between them no matter grades are high or low.Some programs should be organized so that students can come to know about the real education motive and the burden upon both students and teachers decrease as they now know for what purpose they are learning something.

Road Scholar

September 8th, 2010
6:58 am

So when a teacher is sick and tired of a student, they can decide to “pass them on”? Posters above don’t agree that testing is required to determine the level of student learning.

I like the comment about Cobb students, where the vast majority go on to college. I also agree that parents should be held accountable; it’s their job to educate, and discipline their children and to assist the teachers.

What if those with discipline and learning issues (not the handicapped) are inducted into the armed forces? Now that would encourage attendance, self dicipline and learning! Either learn or…

Universities Forums

September 8th, 2010
7:47 am

Education should be such that children should not worry about grades but the knowledge which they gain from schools.Education should be as much easy and practical that it help in the development of his entire personality.

Universities Forums

September 8th, 2010
7:48 am

Mike

September 8th, 2010
8:40 am

To let ‘em move on when ready will never work. Too many have worked too hard for too long so that the smart ones are held back to the level of the not-so-smart ones. Our schools are in a quagmire just like the rest of our society. Help save America, vote conservative.

ajani

September 8th, 2010
9:12 am

What do you do with a student who is extremely high in reading but only average in math? Do they go ahead to a higher level in reading but stay in their grade in math. Isn’t that the basic concept for Montessori schools.

KL

September 8th, 2010
9:23 am

Deal went with the really easy stuff …. STEM has been a focus for several years, the Gates Foundation has funded initiatives for STEM in Georgia … so Deal follows the lead. But to try and claim that STEM is the solution to all our problems – Heck, no! We need kids with a solid grounding in English, a foreign language, as well as music and art.

Wreckem

September 8th, 2010
10:29 am

KL,
Forget music and arts, those should be on an elective basis. We have too many kids that can’t add without a calculator. Focus on the basics Science, History, English, & Math first. After those are established then worry about the arts. Please don’t think that I’m saying they aren’t essential to a well rounded education, but we have to many kids that are aweful readers (mostly because their parents never cared to read with them) and can’t do long division if their life depended on it.

fulldawg

September 8th, 2010
11:47 am

More George E. Perdue with a little of Eric “tax payer money for vouchers for private schools” Johnson sprinkled in. Want more of the last eight years of progressive underfunding and skirting of responsibilities for public schools? Vote for “Risky Deal”.