House Education Committee chair Brooks Coleman just asked that Senate Bill 521 be returned to the Rules Committee, which seems to take the controversial measure to judge teachers on their students’ performance off the agenda for the time being. The House agreed to Coleman’s request.
Does the bill — which is actually dual enrollment legislation with the performance language added last week — go back to Rules and come out again in the last hours of the session?
Or does it disappear into the mist? Is this a time delay to garner support? Or a concession that there is no support?
”Sending the legislation back to Rules Committee might be a sign that there is insufficient support to bring it to the floor. We know that educators across the state have been communicating with their representatives – who, unlike the governor, have to face the voters this November,” said Tim Callahan of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.
“I’d like to believe that, but it may only be a brief tactical retreat to duck safely back into the legislative ’smoke and mirrors’ only to pop out again just prior to sine die when it is more hectic, legislators are more pressed and things can sometimes sneak by,” he said.
According to Marcus W. Downs, director of government relations for the Georgia Association of Educators, “We can only speculate what it means for the bill to have gone back to rules. We would hope that legislators are going to take a closer look at what section four of the bill could mean and will consider striking it from the language. We do not oppose dual enrollment- we do not oppose the development of evaluation tools. It is unfortunate however that such a serious amendment was made without stakeholder input.
“We would like to thank those legislators who have considered our requests – Rep. Coleman has been a supportive chair and has brought our organization to the table. We are trying our best to be a part of the solution to the challenges Georgia is facing in education. We recognize that the solution will never be valuable or credible if done in a vacuum,” said Downs.