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. (more…)

Teachers groups line up against governor’s merit pay idea

Originally published: Atlanta Journal Constitution – December 15, 2015

Teachers groups line up against governor’s merit pay idea

Gov. Nathan Deal got a final copy of his Education Reform Commission’s recommendations Tuesday, and though he didn’t say what he’ll do with them, teachers in Georgia are already girding for battle during the next legislative session.

Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that he favors one of the commission’s proposals — the introduction of merit pay for teachers — which has already ignited a movement and led to Georgia’s Speaker of the House, David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, saying he is not aligned with Deal on this issue.

Ralston said at a town hall meeting that he cannot support merit pay without a “metric” that can accurately measure performance. Teachers have been critical of the current plan to use high stakes annual tests as a major component of their evaluations because tests cannot measure all the ways that teachers’ contribute to a dhild’s development and because teachers cannot pick the students they get. Many students come to school with domestic problems that affect test performance.

The state Education Reform Commission posed for a picture as they delivered their final recommendations to Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday.

“I try to support our governor when I can, and when I can’t I tell him very respectfully that he and I disagree,” Ralston said during last week’s meeting, which was captured on video and published online. “I told him as recently as 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon that I can’t go with you on this yet.”

He said merit- or performance-based pay “sounds very good but I am going to have to be convinced a lot more than I am now to support including that piece [of legislation].” (more…)

RELEASE: ExcelinEd promotes funding reform with Georgia parents

As Georgia legislators prepare to debate plans to modernize the school funding formula, the Foundation for Excellence in Education this month will provide parents throughout the state with information on the advantages of a new, student-based approach to school funding. In the foundation’s poll of voters, support for this change went up significantly when Georgians learned that the state hasn’t updated its funding formula since the mid-1980s.

“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. “Georgians deserve an education funding system that meets the needs of today’s students. We would never settle for 1980s-era TVs, computers, phones or cars; our kids should not have to settle for an approach to our schools that is just as out of date.”

The attached mail pieces will go to 160,000 parents of school-age children in every region of Georgia. Also attached is the radio ad that will run on various radio stations.

“In the final recommendations released today, 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,” Mahoney said. “These reforms reflect the fact that it’s not just how much we spend but also how we spend that matters for student progress. 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.

“We aren’t supporting changes just because the formula is old; we’re supporting changes because every study shows there’s a better, more effective way to deliver education to the youngest generation of Americans.”

RELEASE: Foundation for Excellence in Education supports commission’s reform proposals

November 19, 2015
RELEASE: Foundation for Excellence in Education supports commission’s reform proposals

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today said that the recommendations of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission will empower local school leaders and parents with the tools to maximize each student’s learning capacity.

“As a whole, these recommendations build on the latest, most reliable educational research to put the focus of the educational system on the needs of the individual student, not on programs or schools,” said Ryan Mahoney, Southeast Regional Advocacy Director for ExcelinEd. “These reforms will give parents more options, educators more flexibility and students more opportunity to achieve their God-given potential.” (more…)

Overhaul of Georgia’s school funding formula overdue and necessary to drive improvements

Originally Published: Atlanta Journal Constitution, Get Schooled Blog – November 19, 2015
Overhaul of Georgia’s school funding formula overdue and necessary to drive improvements

Editor’s Note: Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission meets this afternoon to finalize recommendations, including how to fund Georgia Schools.

Patricia Levesque, the CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an education organization founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, discusses the commission’s proposal on funding.

By Patricia Levesque

In the mid-1980s, Georgia tackled the tough task of enacting a new school funding formula to bridge the gaping chasm between the haves and have-nots among school districts. It represented a bold reform at that time, bringing much-needed new resources to the have-nots. (more…)

Education Subcommittee Passes K-12 Funding Recommendations

Originally Published: Peach Pundit – November 12, 2015
Education Subcommittee Passes K-12 School Funding Recommendations

Governor Deal’s Funding Formula Subcommittee on Thursday approved a proposed revision to the way elementary and secondary schools are funded by the state. The new formula, which we told you about on Monday, would replace the more than 30 year old Quality Basic Education Act as the method used to determine the distribution of around $8.5 billion to school systems around Georgia. The Education Reform Commission is expected to release its final report to Governor Deal next month, following a final committee meeting next week. (more…)