I have been working on a column for the AJC’s Monday education page on an effort this upcoming legislative session to formulate a bill creating teacher report cards in Georgia and just chatted with House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, about his interest in the issue.
Along with state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, D-Austell, Lindsey visited Colorado recently to meet with the legislator there led a successful effort to pass a teacher effectiveness bill this year.
We talked about a range of education initiatives that Lindsey would like to see this session, including improving the substance of pre-k, reviewing how much testing we do in our schools, enhancing technical education in high school and saving HOPE.
But we talked mostly about whether Georgia was ready and able to rate teachers given the available data and all the controversies about whether such measures are fair:
His reply to my question on whether this was the time for report cards for teachers:
“If not now, when? We now have a situation where 50 percent of low-income students who enter ninth grade are not graduating. That is atrocious. We cannot allow demographics to control destiny. You have a wide range of people across the spectrum who believe that — from myself in the Republican category to the Secretary of Education to Alisha Morgan and lots of folks in between.
I am a great believer that given our present state of education nationwide, we need to be trying to figure out ways to move forward. Whether that means the present year or 2012 for all these education initiatives, I am about building coalitions and moving legislation. But I feel strongly that we have to move forward now. The status quo in education is not acceptable.”
Lindsey was not surprised when I predicted strong teacher opposition to public report cards, but said that he wants to hear from teachers.
So, here is your first chance to comment on this possible legislation.
– By Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog