The fate of Georgia education bills

Happy crossover day, everyone. If a bill doesn’t pass out of its originating chamber today it’s basically dead until the next session.
Two of the big ones that have yet to pass are the universal voucher bill and a revised HB 243, which would let teachers with national board certification keep their bonuses.
But there are a few others that we haven’t blogged about yet.
HB 208 would require schools to offer a bilingual endorsement for high school graduates starting with July 2011. The state education department would develop the rules (and exams) to determine if students have mastered a second language.
Ideally, the languages students could become fluent in would reflect the needs of Georgia businesses. What do you think of this bill?
Are there any education issues you hoped Georgia Legislators would tackle but they haven’t?

18 comments Add your comment

frustrated with the system

March 12th, 2009
8:41 am

What is the status of HB 215? This bill would provide a return to the tiered diploma system, and away from the one size fits all mentality that the class of 2012 is faced with now. Trust me if we stay with the current requirements which call for all students to take four years of math and science we will see GA dropout rates soar. Trying to force a student to take certain courses doesn’t mean they’ll “get it.”

get over it

March 12th, 2009
9:13 am

frustrated,

Are you suggesting that HS students take whatever they want? Or are you complaining about 4 years of math and science? Is there any problem requiring 4 years of English? What makes it any better when we require 3 or even 2 years of math and science?

I certainly understands the problem of “one-size fits all” but the issue is more about teaching effectiveness. This sounds to me another effort by educators to duck their responsibilities to teach our students. Your statement, “Trying to force a student to take certain courses doesn’t mean they’ll “get it,”" is absolutely on target. Teachers have to teach those courses well in order for their students to “get it.” But, they can’t reach a certain population, so they want to give those students options of not taking their courses. They should, instead, focusing their time and effort to improving their skills to reach those students.

DB

March 12th, 2009
9:34 am

HB 208 – the bilingual bill: I don’t see anything wrong with this one — it is just saying that IF a student passes a language proficiency test, THEN they will get an endorsement on their diploma. They aren’t forcing kids to become proficient, they are rewarding the ones that do.

It would be nice if it was taken a step further, and kids who earn a bilingual proficiency endorsement get to opt out of language requirements in Gerogia state colleges.

Laura Diamond

March 12th, 2009
9:38 am

HB 215 was passed out of the House education committee but it has not been passed by the full House.

Ernest

March 12th, 2009
10:02 am

Sounds like a good idea although the only concern I would have is if other areas would request endorsements.

DB said, It would be nice if it was taken a step further, and kids who earn a bilingual proficiency endorsement get to opt out of language requirements in Georgia state colleges.

Couldn’t that be addressed simply by taking the AP exam for that language? As I understand, one does not have to take the AP class to take the exam. There ‘could’ be a fee for situations like that.

DB

March 12th, 2009
10:47 am

@Earnest: If the state wants to label someone as “bilingual”, then I would hope that the state test would be MORE rigourous than the AP exam, which simply measures degrees of proficiency. Someone can get a 5 on an AP exam and still not be considered bilingual in the language. At UGA, in the college of arts and sciences, a score of 4 will opt you out of all language requirements. I guess I don’t see the need to make a kid take an $86 AP exam in addition to the state exam order to certify something that the state would already be certifying with hopefully more rigour.

get over it

March 12th, 2009
10:54 am

frustrated,

I think your statement, ‘Trying to force a student to take certain courses doesn’t mean they’ll “get it”’ is on target. However, the issue isn’t changing the programs for students. It is changing teaching. This sounds like just another complaint by teachers who can’t reach a certain segment of their students. So, they suggest that those students take other courses. Instead, teachers, as professionals, should be focusing their attention on how to change their teaching so that they can reach those students.

There is nothing inherently wrong with requiring 4 years of math/science if there is nothing wrong with requiring 4 years of English, or 3 (or even 2) years of math/sci/Eng/soc studies/whatever.

catlady

March 12th, 2009
11:18 am

Unless things have changed recently, kids merely have to show two years study of one language in high school to be admitted to colleges and universities. IF they don’t they have to take the courses in college (public). There is no requirement of any kind of proficiency–just 2 years of study of one language.

What GOOD does this notation on the diploma do?

There are SO MANY more pressing problems than a larely meaningless notation on a diploma.

frustrated with the system

March 12th, 2009
1:32 pm

Laura, Does that mean HB 215 is dead?

get over it

March 12th, 2009
3:14 pm

frustrated,

What’s wrong with 4 years of math and science? Do you object to 4 years of English? What about 3 years of math/sci/English? I don’t see any difference between requiring 3 (or even 2) or 4 years – unless you let students take whatever they want. Maybe we shouldn’t even require them to go to schools.

Your statement, ‘Trying to force a student to take certain courses doesn’t mean they’ll “get it”,’ is on target, except the issue isn’t the students. If teachers can’t teach those courses well, then students’ won’t “get it.” Your complaint seems to be just another effort by teachers to make those students go away from their classes – they can’t reach a segment of students, so they just want them to o to different classes. Instead, they, as professionals, should be trying to learn to change their teaching so that they can reach those students more effectively.

Reality 2

March 12th, 2009
3:14 pm

frustrated,

What’s wrong with 4 years of math and science? Do you object to 4 years of English? What about 3 years of math/sci/English? I don’t see any difference between requiring 3 (or even 2) or 4 years – unless you let students take whatever they want. Maybe we shouldn’t even require them to go to schools.

Your statement, ‘Trying to force a student to take certain courses doesn’t mean they’ll “get it”,’ is on target, except the issue isn’t the students. If teachers can’t teach those courses well, then students’ won’t “get it.” Your complaint seems to be just another effort by teachers to make those students go away from their classes – they can’t reach a segment of students, so they just want them to o to different classes. Instead, they, as professionals, should be trying to learn to change their teaching so that they can reach those students more effectively.

Craig Spinks /Evans

March 12th, 2009
4:47 pm

Why doesn’t our legislature pass a law mandating the publication of our state’s scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills(ITBS)? The ITBS is one of the most respected nationally-normed achievement tests? Could our legislature’s and state DOE’s reluctance to publish the scores earned by our public schools, local school systems and state as a whole be related to the substantially subnormal scores earned on the ITBS by most of our schools, local school systems and state as a whole?

catlady

March 12th, 2009
5:35 pm

“Crossover Day”–look out, Cobb and Fannin Co schools would want a day off for that!

ScienceTeacher671

March 12th, 2009
5:50 pm

Doc, I suspect you are correct. Have you ever compared CRCT scores with ITBS scores?

For 8th graders who are minimally “proficient” on the CRCT, comparing ITBS scores in reading and math will show that those students are working at approximately a 4th grade level.

Comparing the Lexile scores of those same students with a Lexile-grade equivalent chart gives the same results.

I don’t think that’s exactly what the GaDOE wants the general public to see or know. JMHO.

Lee

March 12th, 2009
7:00 pm

75% of my county’s National Board Certified teachers are librarians. Seems like a waste of taxpayer’s money to me.

DB

March 12th, 2009
8:07 pm

@catlady: there’s a difference between the requirements for admission to college and graduation from college. Admission requirements at UGA include a preference for at least 3 years of a foreign language in high school. But to graduate from UGA requires the equivalent of 3 semesters of a foreign language at UGA for a degree from the college of arts and sciences.

However, if you take an AP exam in a foreign language, a 3 will generally let you skip two semesters of a foreign language, but you have to take a 3rd. A 4 or 5 gives you enough mastery to skip taking a foreign language altogether. Or, you can take a placement test at UGA, and your score on the placement test determines your placement.

With so many employers asking for bilingual employees these days, having that kind of endorsement could be an advantage to a high school graduate looking for a job, or, if it’s accepted by the Georgia college system, it would fulfill the foreign language requirement.

ScienceTeacher671

March 12th, 2009
8:09 pm

Craig Spinks, I think you’re on to something. If you look at the ITBS scores of a student who is just barely “proficient” on the 8th grade reading and math CRCTs, you’ll find that according to ITBS, the student is working at about a 4th grade level. Comparing the same student’s Lexile from the CRCT report gives pretty much the same result.

I suspect that the general public assumes that “proficient” students are working a bit closer to grade level than that.

Craig Spinks /Evans

March 13th, 2009
12:37 am

ScienceTeacher671, that’s the assumption the educrats in the GDOE and the several education-related lobbying groups want The People to make. The last thing those folks who are “sucking the public education teat” want the public to realize is just how far our children’s Reading and Math skills lag behind those of most other American kids.