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
ExcelinEd
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…)

Poll: Georgia Voters Want More Efficient Use of School Funds

Originally aired: 90.1 WABE – November 12, 2015
Poll: Georgia Voters Want More Efficient Use Of School Funds

Georgia voters say the state is spending enough money on students, but it needs to use the funds more efficiently. That’s according to a new poll from the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Georgia spends just over $9,000 per student. Ryan Mahoney, the foundation’s southeast regional advocacy director, said almost half of those surveyed said that number is fine. (more…)

Governor’s panel recommends school funding overhaul, more money

Originally Published: Atlanta Journal Constitution – November 12, 2015
Governor’s panel recommends school funding overhaul, more money

Georgia schools will get another quarter of a billion dollars if Gov. Nathan Deal and lawmakers ultimately agree to an overhaul of the state education funding formula that was proposed Thursday.

A committee working for Deal is recommending changes that would add $258 million to the education budget, a 3 percent increase over this year’s amount, more than $8 billion. (more…)

Statement of support for the funding formula overhaul by Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission

Originally Published via: ExcelinEd – November 12, 2015

“The school funding improvements recommended today by Governor Deal’s Education Reform Commission would empower schools, educators and parents to put their money where their students’ needs are,” said Ryan Mahoney, the foundation’s regional advocacy director. “The commission’s plan would successfully modernize a 30-year-old formula that no longer reflects the requirements of today’s classroom. This moves Georgia away from a one-size-fits-all approach to a custom fit that focuses on the advancement of each and every student. The recommendations of the commission accurately reflect the will of Georgians, who voiced majority support in our poll for changing to a more flexible, more transparent, more student-based approach.”

The Foundation for Excellence in Education advocates for student-based reform efforts nationally. It’s guiding principles are they all children can learn, all children should learn a year’s worth of knowledge in a year’s time and that all children will achieve when education is organized around the singular goal of student success.”

RELEASE: Poll – Georgians support updated school funding formula

November 10, 2015
ExcelinEd
RELEASE: Poll: Georgians support updated school funding formula

By significant margins, Georgians support efforts to modernize the state’s 30-year-old funding formula to a system focused on students, according to a poll commissioned by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd).

“When Georgians hear the facts, they support common-sense reforms,” said Patricia Levesque, CEO of ExcelinEd. “They want to empower principals, administrators and local school districts with the flexibility needed to align their funding with their students’ unique needs.” (more…)