Perdue revives early grade CRCT, SAT prep, AP exams, writing tests and PSAT. But where’s the money going to come from?

Sharpen those No. 2 pencils. Testing could resume in thousands of classrooms across the state.

Depending on your view of the value of the testing, you will either cheer or lament the decisions by Gov. Perdue today to overrule the Legislature and continue the CRCT in first and second grades, the writing tests in third and fifth grade, SAT prep, AP exams and statewide administration of the PSAT. The General Assembly had eliminated all of those programs in its compromise budget, but the governor wants to see them back in place.

But it is not clear is how they will be paid for by the state Department of Education.

In signing the appropriations bill, the governor  issued 15 agency directives to ignore intent language included in the budget. But he didn’t add new money for them so the question is whether the DOE n will somehow find the cash to restore them. (Given that Perdue is out, and DOE is getting a new head, does it matter what he does now?)

So, how does Perdue expect these things to be funded?

“He can’t restore funding, he can only strike the language from the budget which allows the Department the discretion to use their available funds within the program. Our preference is that the department find a way to use the funds budgeted so that a student’s first time taking the CRCT is not in the third grade, where passage is necessary before moving on to fourth grade,” says the governor’s spokesman Bert Brantley.

I asked Brantley if this was  a symbolic gesture on Perdue’s part.

“It’s not symbolic, leaving the language in there would have tied the department’s hands and forced them to cut in that program,” he said. “We will work closely with the department to analyze their budget and identify a way to shift the funds necessary.”

I also contacted DOE, which is shaking its head over what this means exactly.

“I asked our folks here and they said we needed to see the budget to be sure what it means,” says Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza.

These are the education programs that the governor resurrected:

Section 23, pertaining to the Department of Education, page 68, line 2068:

The General Assembly seeks to instruct the department to eliminate funds for SAT Prep. Use GACollege411 for ACT and SAT practice tests in the Testing program. The department is authorized to operate the program in accordance with the purpose of the program and its general law powers of the Department.

Section 23, pertaining to the Department of Education, page 68, line 2069:

The General Assembly seeks to instruct the department to reduce funds for PSAT ($815,000) and AP exams ($4,200,000) in the Testing program. The department is authorized to operate the program in accordance with the purpose of the program and its general law powers of the Department.

Section 23, pertaining to the Department of Education, page 68, line 2070:

The General Assembly seeks to instruct the department to eliminate funds for the CRCT for grades 1 and 2 in the Testing program. CRCTs in grades 1 and 2 ensure that students in those grades are meeting state standards and give parents confidence that their children are making adequate progress. CRCTs in grades 1 and 2 also help prepare students for the CRCT in grade 3, the passage of which is required to move on to 4th grade. It is unwise to eliminate the CRCT in grades 1 and 2. The department is authorized to operate the program in accordance with the purpose of the program and the general law powers of the department.

Section 23, pertaining to the Department of Education, page 68, line 2071:

The General Assembly seeks to instruct the department to eliminate funds for the writing assessment for grades 3 and 5 in the Testing program. Writing is one of the most fundamental skills a student must master in order to be prepared for later grades and ultimately to succeed in life. Failing to administer writing assessments in grades 3 and 5 will have a detrimental effect on students and could possibly lead to an inadequate amount of instruction in this fundamental skill. The department is authorized to operate the program in accordance with the purpose of the program and the general law powers of the department.

111 comments Add your comment

td

June 8th, 2010
4:51 pm

I think I remember reading this blog about the legislatures decisions on these cuts and the vast majority cheered the decision. I guess Sonny does not care what the public thinks since he is not running for re election this year. I will be so happy to see this RINO out of office.

Perdue the hypocrite

June 8th, 2010
4:53 pm

Perdue claim to be from the party of personal responsibility and respect for the rule of law.

But have you ever heard him once in eight years push for a major policy proposal to hold students accountable for either?

Teacher2

June 8th, 2010
4:59 pm

This shows how little Perdue really knows about the CRCT. How does a test that is READ aloud in 1st & 2nd grades prepare children for a completely different format in 3rd??? I hope the AJC will call him on this.

catlady

June 8th, 2010
5:03 pm

Don’t vote for anyone associated with S. Purdue in any way, shape, or form.

And what a lovely slap in the face to “his” legislators!

I want to go fish!

Jordan Kohanim

June 8th, 2010
5:07 pm

As a high school teacher I admit I am absolutely ignorant to the needs of 1st and 2nd graders. That being said, I see 14-18 year olds struggle with the stress endless testing causes. I cannot imagine inflicting that pressure on such young children.
It seems the emphasis for education has shifted from critical thinking and questioning to justifying expenditures by training children to bubble well.
I wonder when parents, teachers, and educators will force those in power to stop using testing data as a shield for any/all budget decisions. Students need more than the ability to take a test. Cutting so many programs while saving so many tests (ones like the 1st and 2nd grade CRCT) that seem to do little to benefit students, calls in to question the intent of legislators when it comes to public education.

Sally

June 8th, 2010
5:08 pm

It is sad that a governor refuses do the bidding of the people. It is clear he has no idea what the CRCT in grades 1 and 2 covers.

JM

June 8th, 2010
5:08 pm

But he’s a God fearing Republican so these weak-minded fools in this state HAD to vote for him!

john konop

June 8th, 2010
5:12 pm

How about more teachers instead?

Richard

June 8th, 2010
5:15 pm

The CRCT in Grade 1 and 2 is no useful. It would better to direct that money to funding more grade1 and 2 classrooms so that kids not ready to advance can be held back a year.
Many problems, and I really mean MANY, can be solved by holding kids back one year in grade 1 and 2 so they can get the basic reading and language skills. Advancing them to grade 3 when they are not ready begins a cycle of trouble.

Parent/Teacher

June 8th, 2010
5:20 pm

Makes you wonder what connections Perdue has to the company who sells CRCT to Georgia? (Since NCLB doesn’t require 1st and 2nd grade info and almost no other states test those grades…)

Why not reinstate ITBS instead, which gives nationally normed data? Maybe because they set the cut score, so it can’t be set to show favorable results…?

Paulo977

June 8th, 2010
5:21 pm

Teacher 2
Re: Preparation….Oh why do we keep doing this instead of allowing children to enjoy learing what there developmental stage enables them to? I guess even though we gave the world John Dewey , we have now forgotten about all of his powerful philosophy on the way the young learn . As for the CRCT , it is another tool of oppression in the classroom

Hmmmm

June 8th, 2010
5:22 pm

I agree with you Richard. The only thing CRCT does for 1st and 2nd graders is to qualify them for EIP, nothing more. The test is read and is three sections. Then in 3rd grade, the kids have to read on their own and have 5 sections. Seems that it makes more sense to drop 1st and 2nd CRCT testing and then reduce the amount 3rd graders have by giving them three sections and then increase it each year, ie CRCT in 4th is covering 4 sections and 5 sections are covered in 5th grade. Makes sense to me. And don’t blame the Republicans for this. I know plenty of Republicans who don’ t think endless testing is the way to go. Blame NCLB (yeah, I know, initiated by a pres with R by his name), but that is where all this testing non sense began. Blah!

Sam ( The Cool One)

June 8th, 2010
5:25 pm

The Cisco Kid and Poncho will make sense out of all this. Be patient. They will come to the rescue. They are the good guys!

oh please

June 8th, 2010
5:25 pm

too bad he didn’t restore the National Board supplement. Loser.

Matt the Brave

June 8th, 2010
5:29 pm

I’m sorry, it must be nice to be heading out of office and bankrupting the state all in the same year. Why in the world do we need testing in 1st and 2nd? The kids get enough instruction without wasting a full week taking a test that COMPLETELY freaks them out. They are not mature enough yet to take it, and it truly does not show the overall work that they have accomplished over the year. What a waste of money, and what a waste of an official. Hope to God that we get a person in the governor’s office who doesn’t just know how to stick his arm elbow deep into a cow’s behind next time.

RBN

June 8th, 2010
5:32 pm

Great, just let it be done. Now Department will have to cut somewhere else to find the money.

Teacher2

June 8th, 2010
5:33 pm

Paulo977 – I agree with you.
My comment about preparation was in reference to the “rationale” in the directive’s wording.

Mac

June 8th, 2010
5:37 pm

@ oh please – No kickback on National Board money

Disgruntled Teacher

June 8th, 2010
5:43 pm

Wow. I knew it was too good to be true! These kids are TOO YOUNG for these RIDICULOUS TESTS!

@Maureen

June 8th, 2010
5:43 pm

Maureen would you ever consider having a ethicist do a column and analyze some of the major educational issues in Georgia, and how they have been handled from an ethical standard?

John

June 8th, 2010
5:46 pm

Georgia parents need to stop having kids that can’t pass these tests…Eugenics is the solution!

Keep the focus Sonny

June 8th, 2010
5:49 pm

I wish Sonny would stop the vendetta against teachers and refocus his vendetta against Beverly Hall. With all the cheating that was condoned in APS, at least she is a worthy target.

oldtimer

June 8th, 2010
5:50 pm

Actually, and unfortunately NLCB was a “bipartisan” collaboration led by Bush and Ted Kennedy (a big supporter)..I, too am a republican and very anti all this testing. As a former teacher, I did not have such a problem with ITBS in elementary-middle grades. We gave a pre and post test. Especially reading and math pretty much was what we taught and Clayton County kids did well.

CGator

June 8th, 2010
5:51 pm

There is another purpose for the CRCT. To make a lot of money for the company that creates it. You can Purdue is folding under pressure from a billion dollar a year business. NCLB and everything associated with it is nothing more at its core than a money grab by greedy business people enabled by corrupt politicians.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dana Tofig and OmbudsmanEd, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Perdue restores early grade CRCT, SAT prep, AP exams, writing tests and PSAT. Sharpen those pencils after all. http://bit.ly/bZAU6L [...]

DeKalb Parent

June 8th, 2010
5:55 pm

The CRCT in first and second grade is a HUGE waste of teacher resources and taxpayer money. Everyone says this. I also question the usefulness of two writing tests in elementary school. However, as a parent I loved the ITBS. It has accurately identified both my children’s strengths and weaknesses. The subtest scores are incredible tools. For example, when my 7th grader scored in the 95th percentile in math, I did not celebrate at all because he also had a 70th percentile score in computation. His teachers saw that many of the students were weak in computation (thanks to the Cox math program). and they independently beefed up the traditional math basics.

Doesn’t anyone in state government understand that parents want ITBS and we disregard all the other state prepared and state manipultated tests? We want to know how our students compare to like students in Minnesota and Mass. We don’t care about the CRCT.

Defend Our Teachers Please

June 8th, 2010
5:55 pm

Perdue is the worst governor in the history of Georgia and he does not care what the majority of people think and feel.

rexwinn

June 8th, 2010
5:58 pm

The Guber makes another wrong decision. As I have said so many times before, “Testing is not teaching”.

Too bad...

June 8th, 2010
5:58 pm

…that Sonny balanced the budget on the backs of all teachers and students. I agree with the poster that said there is “no kickback” from National Board Certification. Sonny is so transparent in his lack of understanding and total disrespect for education despite all his rhetoric. The man turns my stomach.

CRCT is BS

June 8th, 2010
6:01 pm

The CRCT is a joke. I have seen NON-readers pass. How? Makes you just scratch your head. Not needed for AYP in grades 1 and 2, and there are many more valid ways to evaluate for EIP eligibility. The money could have been better used elsewhere, like saving jobs. Sonny that was a no-brainer, and you still didn’t get it right.

Just Wondering

June 8th, 2010
6:04 pm

Sonny has lost his mind!! Reading the test to 1st and 2nd graders is not an accurate measure of their progress, just like standards-based report cards. Give them the ITBS and see how they really rank.
This is a major waste of money, Sonny!

[...] Downey of the AJC have some more details about some of the other bills, particularly one those impacting the children’s edumacations. For the five people who actually care to read the [...]

Writing test is a Joke

June 8th, 2010
6:12 pm

It also shows the governor’s lack of knowledge of the writing assessment. I teach third grade and it’s totally subjective even though there is a rubric to grade by. I think it’s a waste of money and time!

Teacher 3

June 8th, 2010
6:13 pm

Didn’t Mike L do a great cartoon about Sonny’s driving of our state?

AJinCobb

June 8th, 2010
6:14 pm

How are these items going to be funded? I thought that the legislature dropped them in order to address the budget shortfall. If we’re keeping these items, what else is going to be dropped instead?

Be clear Mark

June 8th, 2010
6:16 pm

SACS pointed out two more ways the system needed to improve: Remove disruptive outside influences and finish a comprehensive review of school board policies.

What is Pope Elgart saying? That any time a citizen disagrees with what the board is doing, accreditation should be yanked? Is he saying that no organizations should ever question what the board is doing?

What and who are these outside influences Pope Elgart? Why don’t you be specific?

Economicwoes

June 8th, 2010
6:18 pm

Remember he and Alvin Wilbanks went to Washington to obtain federal funding for education in the race to the top.
Kids still show up in the second grade needing either a EIP or an IEP. It makes wonder what was going on in kindergarten and the first grade.

Maureen Downey

June 8th, 2010
6:19 pm

AJCIncobb, He did cut $8.4 million, which could fund a portion of the education restorations that he wants. I have a call into his office for more detail on funding. DOE says it has not seen the final budget so it is not sure where the money will come from to pay for these things.
Maureen

justbrowsing

June 8th, 2010
6:21 pm

It looks like reinstatement will coincide with race to the top application- it would be difficult to be a strong contender if there were budget issues for tests.

Aquagirl

June 8th, 2010
6:26 pm

There was much gloating by teachers in 2002 when they helped elect this nitwit—if any lose their job over this, I have no sympathy.

Middle Grades Math Teacher

June 8th, 2010
6:29 pm

Maureen, how many other states test in grades 1 and 2? I think GA is one of only a handful. BAD IDEA, Gov. Perdue!

Danielle

June 8th, 2010
6:30 pm

Sonny Perdue is not only clueless but heartless as well. Why waste money on a test that is basically meaningless when the funds could have been used to compensate “dedicated teachers”. I guess that makes TOOOOOOOO much sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Middle Grades Math Teacher

June 8th, 2010
6:32 pm

The one education cut teachers agreed with, and he goes and reverses it. You’re right, Danielle, he is clueless and heartless.

Maureen Downey

June 8th, 2010
6:35 pm

@Middle Grades: Only one state also tests in grade 1. Six test grade 2 — but some states count a 5-minute reading test in that total.

East Atl

June 8th, 2010
6:35 pm

Restored the CRCT to grades 1 and 2? Wow. Aside from previous comments that point out the waste of time, effort and money used on testing children in grades 1 and 2, lets look at the thick-headed approach that this standardized testing model uses to justify the minimum having to do with students’ academic achievement. Quoting the gov: “to ensure that students in those grades are meeting state standards”…. Telling a six year old child to sit in a chair for several 30-45min sessions and regurgitate what they have learned on a bubble in assessment sheet? Great Standard! Please please please. SO, Go Sonny go! you can do it! Georgia will get to 51st in education if you really really try!

byebye50

June 8th, 2010
6:35 pm

any gov that can get the state to allow a middle man to step in and become a company that sales us our gas at a higher price and has us belive he is saving us money can sell sand to a arab.

Tired of BS

June 8th, 2010
6:37 pm

OK republicans remember this…. Ox and Deal were dems first. Look what Sonny has done….. he changed parties to get elected, then acted like a democrat once elected.

AJC Headline is Wrong

June 8th, 2010
6:38 pm

AJC.com main page headline is incorrect. Perdue didn’t restore funding for any tests. He informed the General Assembly that the executive agencies are not bound by the General Assembly’s intent, as stated in the appropriations act. The General Assembly eliminated funding in an amount that it believed equaled the cost of certain tests. Perdue has simply said that the DOE Testing Program, as part of the executive branch, can spend that money as it sees fit – within the bounds of laws governing the program. If the legislature wants to guarantee the elimination of certain tests, it must pass a non-appropriations bill to that effect.

Sad Teacher

June 8th, 2010
6:41 pm

@ AJC Headline is Wrong — you must work for his office… Thanks for clearing it up. It is still not smart and as a parent, I must now prepare my 1st grader for the stress of a useless test.

Who reads AJC headlines?

June 8th, 2010
6:48 pm

And who reads AJC headlines, AJC headline is wrong?

Apparently not AJC staff. Another multi-million dollar E-Rate scandal in Atlanta Public Schools, yet every member of the editorial staff is terrified to ask what did Beverly Hall know, and when did she know it?

Are they that terrified to ask, or just taking marching orders from Edu-PAC?