Final report of Deal’s Ed Reform Commission prompts opponents and supporters to launch campaigns

Originally published: Atlanta Constitution Journal, Get Schooled Blog – December 17, 2015

Final report of Deal’s Ed Reform Commission prompts opponents and supporters to launch campaigns

The Foundation for Excellence in Education, an advocacy group founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is kicking off a campaign to promote the new funding formula proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission.

The commission submitted its final report to the governor Tuesday. While the foundation applauded the commission’s recommendations — which include merit pay for teachers — there is opposition.

I wrote earlier this week about the reservations of House Speaker David Ralston. And the president of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators voiced her concerns on the blog earlier.

Today, the Georgia Association of Educators will hold a 1 p.m. press conference at the Capitol to explain why it does not back the commission’s recommendations or the constitutional amendment to empower the state to take over low-performing schools.

GAE intends to offer “alternative strategies” and will be joined by speakers from the Southern Education Foundation and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Clarke County Superintendent Phillip Lanoue, who is National Superintendent of the Year, will also speak.

As Lanoue and other speakers point out failings in the recommendations, radio ads and mailers from the Foundation for Excellence in Education will endorse the commission’s efforts.

“We’re making sure Georgia families have the facts about a new system that treats children like individuals, not numbers, and improves student achievement,” said ExcelinEd Southeast Regional Advocacy Director Ryan Mahoney. “In the final recommendations, the Education Reform Commission charted a new course for Georgia’s children, moving our education system to one that is student-focused and away from one that is school-based. Student-based funding gives educators more flexibility to target individual student needs, while giving parents and taxpayers more transparency. Student-based funding tells us exactly where and why each dollar is allocated.”