They have drunk the Kool-Aid and now they are trying to feed it to us. That’s what I think of Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan — supported by most Republicans and at least one Democrat in the state Senate — to model a Georgia “Opportunity School District” after New Orleans’ Recovery School District. The governor and some legislators are scheduled to travel this week to New Orleans and learn how it’s done. God help us!
The governor and his supporters have listened to the hype — largely from the people who have made lots of money on the model — and, best I can tell, actively avoided any critical assessment of data or analysis of claims of a “New Orleans Miracle.” You’d think that after the Texas and Florida “miracles” claimed by the Bush brothers have been shown to be shams, we would be wary of such silver bullets. They simply don’t work.
Georgia's Superintendent of the Year: "Opportunity School District would be damaging to education in Georgia"
ONLINE ATHENS -- Recently, State School Superintendent Richard Woods visited two Clarke County Schools — Cedar Shoals High School and Gaines Elementary School to tour and talk with teachers, students and administrators about their experiences. He posted a column shortly after his visit, in which he said that he chose to visit those schools because their CCRPI (College and Career Readiness Performance Index) scores were in the 50s, on a 100-point scale. Superintendent Woods left both schools saying that based on his visit, he would’ve thought they scored in the 80s or 90s. Specifically, he talked about engaged students, passionate teachers and dynamic school leaders.
Assessments and accountability measures are crucial in monitoring school performance, and we know that a CCRPI score in the 50s is not where we need or want to be. However, all of our schools — regardless of their scores — are much more than a single number on a 100-point scale that is primarily based on standardized test scores. Meeting the needs of every student reflects thousands of interactions, victories and successes each day that cannot be assessed by a two-digit CCRPI number.
The Resolution for the Constitutional Referendum | Gov. Office's Explanation
Dear President and Mrs. Obama,
After hearing of the White House’s recent College Opportunity Summit, I wanted to share the story of a student in my husband’s second-grade class.This student and her classmates, despite their daily challenges surviving the widespread poverty of rural Georgia, are doing their very best to learn. Their school is cheerful, but some kids suffer critical emotional distress from life conditions created by years of economic and social oppression. Still, they are almost all at grade level. Javier has poured in all of his caring and expertise to help them achieve this.
The girl, who I will call Tanesha, is the most academically gifted girl in the class, a real ace at math who also writes beautifully. She does struggle getting the nutrition and adult attention she needs, but she perseveres. Tanesha’s goal should be college, but this 8 year old faces a lack of meaningful funding for her K-12 education. Rather than invest in rich learning environments for Georgia’s students, much of the Race to the Top money our state has received is dedicated to a new kindergarten entry assessment system and more teacher evaluation. Meanwhile, Georgia has reduced per student public K-12 investment by over 15% since 2001.
Dear Governor Nathan Deal,
I know, I know. You're under the Gold Dome wheelin' and dealin' (pun intended) over some of our most vulnerable citizens including the elderly, the sick, and the under-educated. You're busy doing very important work! I just wanted to drop you a line about some things that, as a life-long citizen of Georgia, bothers me. I found it ironic that you spent the weekend lining your belly with pork at the annual "wild hog supper" just a day before beginning conversations about how laws and bloated bills will impact the well-being of our state. I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere but for the sake of time, I'll narrow the focus of this letter so you can get back to work.
Our first Day at the Capitol was a huge success with over 100 attendees from across the state. Speakers included Kathy Ashe (former state representative and longtime member of the House Education Committee), Chuck Clay (legislative liaison for Cobb County Schools) and Allen Fort (superintendent of Quitman County Schools). Attendees -- many who was visiting the Capitol for the first time -- wore green and brought their shoestrings to give to their legislators.