Archive for the ‘parents’ Category

From Canada to Georgia, teachers complain of pressure to change grades to mask high failure rates

testing (Medium)Interesting AJC story on an Atlanta high school principal who resigned after accusations he bullied and intimidated teachers into raising failing grades.

Grade inflation has been in the national news as schools face increased pressure to improve student achievement, an issue Georgia knows well after the CRCT cheating scandals in Atlanta and Dougherty County schools.

Even Canada, held up as a model of effective education reform, has seen complaints from teachers of mounting pressure to alter grades so fewer students fail under a stricter accountability system.

Closer to home, teachers in a Tennessee for-profit virtual school complained of an email that directed them to drop failing grades. In a recent investigation, Nashville’s WTVF/NewsChannel 5 found that a Tennessee Virtual Academy administrator instructed middle school teachers to delete failing grades.

The case has had reverberations nationwide as the parent company of Tennessee Virtual, K12, the nation’s largest …

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Parent trigger on agenda today. Is the bill fatally flawed?

A Senate committee takes up the parent trigger bill today.

Originally, House Bill 123 allowed a majority of the parents or teachers in a failing school to petition the school board for a complete overhaul of a the school by converting to charter school status or another turnaround model. The bill specifies that the parents can remove school personnel, including the principal, or mandate the complete reconstitution of the school. In a feature unique to the Georgia bill, even parents of high performing schools can apply for their schools to convert to a charter school.

But House Bill 123 underwent dramatic change in its move from House passage to Senate consideration. The Senate eliminated any mention of teachers in failing schools being able to petition for a management overhaul. The Senate version limits that power to parents.

I asked the bill’s sponsor, House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, for a comment.

“We’ll see what the Senate committee does with my bill.  …

Continue reading Parent trigger on agenda today. Is the bill fatally flawed? »

Clean sweep of teachers in Senate parent trigger bill

Take a look at this Google doc of the newly revised Parent Empowerment bill, notable for the clean sweep of any mention of teachers or educators. See my blog yesterday on the odd changes to this bill.

Sponsored by House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, the bill initially had been called the Parent and Educator Empowerment bill, but you can’t find the words “teacher” or “educator” any longer. (I have sent Lindsey a note for comment, but have not heard from him.)

In its original form, House Bill 123 allowed a majority of teachers and parents in a low-performing school to petition to the school board for new management of their schools.

The bill, which passed the House, was discussed in a Senate subcommittee today. However, the subcommittee could not vote the bill out as it lacked a quorum at the time.

State Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, explained why he excised teachers from the bill. He noted that teachers are not part of the parent trigger laws in the seven states …

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Parent and Educator Empowerment Act moves from House to Senate. Teacher empowerment erodes along the way.

downeyart0726 (Medium)A Senate subcommittee takes up the parent trigger bill this morning at 8.

As the Parent and Educator Empowerment bill moved from the House to the Senate, one piece apparently was lost in the journey: Teacher power.

According to the legislative update posted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators:

The official name of HB 123, formerly called the “Parent and Educator Empowerment Act” has been changed in a Senate substitute version to the “Parent Empowerment Act.”

HB 123 allows parents to vote to convert their school to charter status. An important portion of the bill which allows teachers to petition their school board to adopt a school turnaround model has been amended in the new substitute version to exclude teachers.

Since the bill has yet to be heard in subcommittee, the reasoning behind the changes is unclear. PAGE has deep concerns about the alterations. Our longstanding position regarding school turnaround and charter schools is that parents, …

Continue reading Parent and Educator Empowerment Act moves from House to Senate. Teacher empowerment erodes along the way. »

Make the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship more transparent — and expand it so more children benefit

Adam Emerson is the director of the program on parental choice at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy think tank that recently released “School Choice Regulations: Red Tape or Red Herring?”

Adam Emerson

Adam Emerson

In this piece, Emerson urges more transparency in how Georgia’s controversial private school scholarship tax credit program works. In what he calls a “grand bargain,” Emerson proposes, “More transparency in exchange for more (or more generous) scholarships.”

By Adam Emerson

The Georgia Senate recently took an incremental step toward responsible and accountable private school choice by unanimously passing a bill that shines more sunlight upon the Peach State’s embattled tax credit scholarship program. If the House concurs, then parents and taxpayers will have more information about the students and the scholarship groups that participate.

But Senate Bill 243 doesn’t go far enough. Yes, it requires the nonprofit groups that administer the scholarships to …

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Cheating or collaboration? Do students really not know the difference?

crcted.0920 (Medium)A reader sent me this note about cheating and asked that I put the issue before the Get Schooled blog readership:

I am wondering if you have done much on student cheating? I have read about teacher cheating but don’t remember anything on the student side of the equation.

Now that my child is in high school, I am amazed at what online resources are available at the click of the button. I am aware of an instance where a teacher used an online study guide as a test….most of the students used it (teacher was unaware it was public domain) and received 100 percent on the test.  Smart on the students’ part, I’d say yes. Lazy on the teacher’s part, I’d say yes.

I’ve had some discussions with parents. Teachers don’t change their test, and the students share what’s on the test with their classmates who have not taken yet taken it.

That is cheating. But the parents I’ve spoken to call it “collaboration” and see nothing wrong with it. Teachers are aware it goes on but say it is …

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Tea Party explains its opposition to Cobb education SPLOST vote on Tuesday

J.D. Van Brink is a Cobb County resident, businessman and chairman of the Georgia Tea Party, Inc.  In this essay, he explains the Tea Party’s opposition to the Cobb Education SPLOST IV referendum.

On Tuesday, Cobb taxpayers will decide whether to renew a 1 percent special sales tax.

The special purpose local option sales tax was created in 1996 as a way to fund capital projects. Of the 562 education tax referendums held statewide since 1996, 94 percent have been approved by voters, according to the AJC.

While Cobb’s first proposal for an education sales tax failed, the three campaigns since have been successful.  Cobb voters passed their last SPLOST in 2008 with 60 percent approval.

According to the AJC:

The Cobb and city of Marietta districts would use the projected $773 million collected from the special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST, for hundreds of projects including repairing or replacing dilapidated buildings and athletic facilities and …

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Can we simultaneously fix and flee public schools?

artchangeCan we simultaneously fix and flee public schools?

I wondered about that question after meetings with Georgia’s last Democratic governor, Roy Barnes, and House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta. The men sat down with the AJC recently to discuss education issues in the state.

In many areas, the two leaders — both noted for their interest in education — see eye to eye.

“Just because a child is born in Schley County and not Forsyth County, you cannot constitutionally justify that child is going to receive an inferior education just because of an accident of birth,” said Barnes.

Speaking to AJC reporters a week later, Lindsey said much the same thing. “The fact of where a child is born should not determine whether they are going to have a future or not. Wherever a child is born, we have to concentrate on how to get them the education they need.”

Where the two leaders disagree is over the fundamental definition of public education: Is schooling a collective …

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Shouldn’t public school calendars take needs of working parents into consideration?

Atlanta is among the districts reconsidering year-round schools where summers are only five weeks long. (AJC photo)

Atlanta is among the districts reconsidering year-round schools where summers are only five weeks long. (AJC photo)

The AJC has an interesting story today on the reconsideration of  year-round school schedules where students have a shortened summer — around five weeks  — and more breaks sprinkled throughout the year.

The story says there’s no strong evidence that the year-round calendar improves student performance. As a result, AJC education writer Mark Niesse says Atlanta may end its experiment with year-around schooling.

While this story focused on “year-round” schools, there are systems, including my own, that have adopted “modified year-around” calendars where students return to classes as early as Aug. 1. Under that schedule, students have seven to eight weeks off in the summer and week-long breaks in the fall and winter, in addition to the standard April spring break.

While both year-round and modified calendars accommodate families with the flexibility and finances …

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More than 400 applicants seek vacated DeKalb school board seats. Any more resignations in the offing?

Holy smoke. The state received 403 applicants for the six DeKalb County board jobs, although some  came from people who don’t even live in Georgia.  (As I reported last week, the applicants will have to come from the districts represented by the empty seats.)

The deadline for applicants was two hours ago.

The governor’s office is promising that the appointment process will not take weeks as Nathan Deal understands that the DeKalb board can’t function without a quorum. The board now consists of the three members who took office in January and thus were not swept out by Deal due to the accreditation crisis caused in large part by the board’s historic dysfunction.

The nomination committee will meet Friday to begin the task of narrowing down what seems an overwhelming list of possible replacements.

As expected, DeKalb school board member Nancy Jester’s announcement today that she is resigning is spurring calls for other board members to resign to clear the decks, so to …

Continue reading More than 400 applicants seek vacated DeKalb school board seats. Any more resignations in the offing? »