A high profile state senator wants to put the brakes on Gov. Perdue’s plan to criminally punish teachers and administrators who tamper with student tests.
According to my colleague Jim Gallow over at Political Insider:
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) this morning expressed doubts about two bills backed by Gov. Sonny Perdue that would make it a crime for teachers and administrators to fudge school test scores.
HB 1111 and HB 1121 introduced last month by state Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City), would make test-tampering a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine or up to 30 days in jail, and loss of pension.
The bills have yet to pass a House committee, so there’s been very little talk about the issue on the Senate side of the state Capitol. That said, Rogers – the leader of the Senate GOP caucus — urged Republicans to take care.
“I’m very hesitant to create any more crimes,” he said. “I think we need to solve this problem. This cheating scandal is damaging to the confidence of everyone in Georgia, on how our education system is performing. But most importantly it hurts students.
“But to criminalize it, I think, is something we must be very careful about doing. I haven’t read the legislation, but at this point I’d be very cautious,” Rogers said.
The Senate majority leader is the first Republican of rank to raise concerns about legislative reaction to the testing scandal. Educators suspected of cheating are already subject to sanctions from the state Office of Professional Standards. Penalties can include the loss of teaching certificate.