Archive for the ‘Legislature’ Category

Clayton County school board chair: Today marks culmination of long road to making schools better

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, expects SACS to deliver a key report to the district this afternoon. (Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com)

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, expects SACS to deliver a key report to the district this afternoon. (Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com)

Dr. Pam Adamson, chair of the Clayton County Board of Education, wrote this piece in anticipation of this week’s visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The SACS accreditation team has been in Clayton since Monday.

By Pam Adamson

Clayton County Schools has had a tumultuous history with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and its parent organization, AdvancED, for many years starting in the early 2000s. After years of warnings and failed opportunities to comply with its standards, SACS withdrew accreditation from Clayton County schools in August of 2008.

The district had become a swinging door of instability with regular staff turnover, including leadership at the highest levels. The Board of Education was in a state of turmoil at that time, with some board members having resigned, some …

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Mark Elgart: Accreditation means a quality, standardized education

Dr. Mark Elgart is the founding president and CEO of AdvancED, the parent organization for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement  as well as the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement and the Northwest Accreditation Commission, headquartered in Alpharetta.

By Mark Elgart

School accreditation is an honor, a mark of distinction as well as an acknowledgement that the education offerings of a school, school system, college or university meet standards, benchmarks and performance criteria in the advancement of student achievement. In the United States, for K-12 schools, accreditation is also completely voluntary, and all accrediting agencies are selected and invited to review and accredit by the school or school system seeking or maintaining that accreditation.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was founded in 1895 at the Georgia Institute of Technology. SACS …

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State moves away from using test scores to assess schools but moves closer to using them for teachers

crcted.0920 (Medium)Since we are talking about standardized testing related to the teacher letter in an earlier blog today, I want to share a good AJC piece by my colleague Nancy Badertscher.

I recommended some experts for the story and am glad to see two of them in the piece.

My only caveat to the views expressed by State School Superintendent John Barge about an over reliance on testing: While Georgia may be de-emphasizing test scores in its assessments of schools, it is about to start emphasizing those same scores in its assessment of teachers.

So, I am not sure we have changed the game plan in any meaningful way.

Here is an excerpt: (Please note that this story is part of the AJC’s new premium site, MyAJC.com, which is free through mid May. Take a look at the full story and the nifty new site.)

John Barge was working in Bartow County Schools when a high school student had a panic attack trying to pass the graduation test and a fourth-grader became so stressed taking the CRCT he drew blood …

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US DOE awards Georgia $17.2 million for low performing schools

From US Department of Education:

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Georgia will receive $17.2 million to turn around its persistently lowest achieving schools through the Education Department’s School Improvement Grant  program. Georgia is one of 13 states that will receive SIG funding.

Six of the states, including Georgia, will receive awards to run a new competition for previously unfunded schools, and six states will receive continuation funds for the third year of implementing a SIG model.

Along with Georgia, the states receiving new awards are: Illinois—$22.2 million; Kansas—$4 million; Massachusetts—$7.2 million; Nevada—$3.8 million and North Carolina—$14.3 million. The seven states receiving continuation awards are: Arkansas—$5.3 million; Delaware—$1.4 million; Florida—$26.8 million; Montana—$1.5 million; New Jersey—$10.4 million; Oregon—$5.4 million; and Washington—$7.8 million.

“When schools fail, our children and our neighborhoods suffer,” …

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Beverly Hall worried about asking too little of inner city students. But is there also a danger of asking too much?

downeyart (Medium)Despite all the cheering on the blog that APS administrators are now facing justice for their roles in the CRCT cheating scandal, an unresolved issue remains: Why was there so much cheating in APS?  (And elsewhere in the country, as uncovered by a later AJC investigation?)

The Georgia CRCTs are not difficult tests. Why was it so difficult to get APS students to score in acceptable ranges?

The indictments in the APS cheating scandal bring us back to the national quandary of how to raise the achievement level of students who historically were never expected to do well, were accorded fewer resources with which to do well, had the most inexperienced teachers and came from homes that lacked the social capital to assist them in school.

The cheating at APS occurred in the schools with the least advantaged populations.

When she came to Atlanta, Beverly Hall said she wanted teachers who believed poor children could do well. (Interesting side point here is that Hall wanted to fire many …

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House leader blames “fourth branch of government,” the Board of Regents, for downing campus carry bill

tb1605A miffed Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, took to the House well with 25 minutes left in the 2013 session Thursday to decry those who blocked the effort to allow guns on college campuses.

He blamed the “fourth branch of government,” the Board of Regents, who, he said, declared the campus carry issue “taboo.”

“The Board of Regents has been opposed to this since day one and, yes, they are the fourth branch of government,” he said. “We were fighting an uphill battle.”

Senate Bill 101 would have expanded where guns are allowed in Georgia, including much of college campuses. It passed the House by a vote of 116-55 but stalled in the Senate over the issue of guns on campuses.

Chairman of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, Powell said House and Senate negotiators had agreed Wednesday to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry weapons on college campuses with the requirement that permit holders between the ages of 21 and 25 would have to complete an …

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Do or die: Last chance for bills in the Legislature, including the controversial guns on campus effort

tb1605If you have time today, tune in to watch the last gasp of the 2013 legislative session where guns on campus will be one of the top stories.

Today marks the final day when bills either pass or die.

The state’s universities are battling hard against a push to allow college students to carry guns on campus, and seem to have the state Senate on their side. But the Georgia General Assembly is among the nation’s most gun friendly, and most lawmakers do not want to alienate the gun lobby. So this will be a close battle and one that is getting national attention.

To watch from your computer, go here and click on the links on the left side. Updates also will be posted frequently on ajc.com.

According to the AJC summary of where the gun bill and the budget stand:

Efforts to expand access to guns across Georgia in places such as schools and college campuses are going right down to the wire. The crux of the issue: The House wants to allow guns on college campuses; the Senate, so far, …

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New Race to the Top teacher evaluations with strong reliance on test scores begin in 2014-2015

downeyart0726 (Medium)As expected, House Bill 244 passed both the House and the Senate, incorporating the educator evaluation system piloted by Georgia’s Race to the Top districts into state law. With the Senate vote this week, the bill now moves to the governor, who will sign it into law.

As you can tell from reading the bill, there are some vague references to yet-to-be-finalized evaluation details.

The teacher evaluations will now give great weight to student academic growth as measured by testing. Measures of student growth count for at least half an educator’s rating.

The passage won praise from former Washington, D.C., chancellor Michelle Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst. “The overwhelming bipartisan support of House Bill 244 provides a clear example of leaders putting politics aside and doing what’s best for students. By passing this legislation, the Georgia Legislature has sent a strong message to the rest of the country – our kids deserve to have great teachers in public school …

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Can parents trust the state with control of their schools?

charterartMany people in DeKalb and other counties are losing faith in the ability of local education leaders to responsibly manage their schools.

Can they trust state leaders to govern more responsibly?

That’s a question more Georgia parents may be asking if Gov. Nathan Deal wins greater control over local schools systems. And that, reports the AJC’s Greg Bluestein and Ty Tagami, is Deal’s intent.

In 1989, New Jersey became the first state to take over a school district. Now, the majority of states have some legal mechanism to seize control of a troubled district. But research suggests that state intervention does not always solve problems.

That’s because a state bureaucracy can be even more sluggish and unyielding than a local one. And states don’t always have the money or the staffing to turn around struggling systems.

So, while states may come in and rearrange things, they don’t necessarily dramatically improve them as recent takeovers in Philadelphia and Roosevelt, N.Y., …

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No Child Left Behind neglected gifted students. That is about to change in Georgia.

Dori Kleber

Dori Kleber

Dori Kleber owns and operates GiftedAtlanta.com, a non-commercial online resource for parents of gifted children. She is a parent advocate for gifted education and the mother of two gifted children.

In this piece, she explains why education policy must not just consider under performing students, but those who are high performing, too.

By Dori Kleber

One of the great tragedies of our American public schools in the past decade has been the neglect of our brightest children. While struggling students have made gains, high-achieving students have stagnated.

During the reign of No Child Left Behind, our schools have been so intent on lifting low-performing students to a level of minimum aptitude that they have ignored the needs of those who already exceed basic proficiency and are ready for greater challenges. The result: Top students are languishing.

This imbalance in academic growth was confirmed in a 2008 study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, “High-Achieving …

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