Georgia is one of 45 states that have adopted a set of education standards called the Common Core. States developed the standards which aren’t federal mandates. But the Cobb County school board has been debating whether to invest in math materials aligned to the standards.
The board voted “no” on the adoption in April, against the recommendation of a committee of more than 100 Cobb teachers. Before the vote, district superintendent Michael Hinojosa implied some board members may not understand the limits of their authority.
Fulton County school employees are getting a boost in pay. Earlier this week, the county’s school board approved a 3 percent cost of living increase. The additional money is the first permanent increase school system employees have received in five years. Robert Morales is the District’s Chief Financial Officer.
“The salary increase will be a great morale booster for our employees that are currently here and for new employees that are able to join our school district.”
The Gwinnett County School Board is considering a plan to raise property taxes. If approved, it would be the first increase in eight years.
The board is considering a total millage rate increase of 1.3 mills. That would mean approximately $101 more per year for those living in a $200,000 dollar home. Rick Cost is the Chief Financial officer for the district. He says the plan has been proposed to help avoid teacher furlough days, add school resource officers and repay bonds used for constructing classrooms.
The Obama Administration has highlighted Georgia’s pre-kindergarten program as a national model. The president’s proposed budget includes a plan to provide universal pre-k. That’s what U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan promoted Friday at Atlanta’s Boyd Elementary School.
The Atlanta Regional Commission has issued a report showing a demographic shift in metro Atlanta school districts.
In 2000, six percent of metro Atlanta public school students were Latino. That number grew to 16 percent by 2012. In the same year, the white student population was 37 percent. That’s a 15 percent drop from 2000, according to Mike Alexander, who manages ARC’s Research and Analytics division.
Gov. Nathan Deal Wednesday issued an executive order regarding Georgia’s adoption of a new set of education standards, called the Common Core. The order comes after some Republican lawmakers have publicly opposed the standards.
The governor’s order states that federal education standards won’t be imposed on Georgia. He also distinguished between standards and curriculum.
Five of six suspended members of the DeKalb County school board have petitioned Gov. Deal to get their seats back. The governor suspended, and then replaced, the six members at the recommendation of the state board of education.
Former board chair Eugene Walker, Jesse Cunningham, Donna Edler, Sarah Copelin-Wood, and Pam Speaks are the five who’ve submitted petitions. Gov. Deal’s spokesperson Brian Robinson says the clock is ticking.
Educators hope a statewide longitudinal data system will help them address critical issues, such as increasing retention and graduation rates. The system tracks students from Kindergarten to 12th grade.
The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education hosted a panel discussion on data uses. Educators discussed how to use the data system to help students. Panelist Andy Parsons, an assistant commissioner with the Technical College System of Georgia, said the data system can identify gaps, such as which students need remediation.
Georgia is one of 45 states adopting a new set of education standards called the Common Core. The state-led initiative was devised with input from educators, parents, and other stakeholders. But recently, some state lawmakers have opposed Georgia’s adoption of the standards.
Georgia is wrapping up year one of Common Core implementation in Math and English/Language Arts. Lawmakers who support the move, such as Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), say it will help boost achievement.
Officials with the DeKalb County schools originally predicted the district would run a deficit of tens of millions of dollars next year. But when interim superintendent Michael Thurmond released his proposed budget last week, it revealed a surplus of more than $9 million.
District spokesman Jeff Dickerson says the money came from federal and state reimbursements that district officials didn’t know to ask for.
The Georgia Department of Education Tuesday unveiled a new way of grading schools. The new system is part of the state’s waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.
The new College and Career Ready Performance Index replaces the Adequate Yearly Progress requirement of No Child Left Behind. Test scores determined whether schools met AYP. State superintendent John Barge says test scores still matter, but they won’t be the only criteria for the CCRPI.
Many metro Atlanta school districts are facing big deficits in the upcoming year, due to shrinking property tax revenue.
Cobb County school officials are trying to find new sources of revenue to shore up an $86 million budget gap. Board chair Randy Scamihorn says Cobb officials have asked lawmakers to consider relaxing some of the spending limits for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal includes $75 billion to expand pre-kindergarten programs. It’s the same plan the president introduced when he visited a pre-k center in Decatur in February. Due to the success of its pre-k program, Georgia could receive a share of the money.
The president’s proposal increases the cigarette tax to pay for the expansion. Bobby Cagle, the commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, says he supports a pre-k expansion, but favors an alternative funding source.
The Fulton County school board this week approved a 90-day probationary period for new hires. The measure will allow the district to let those employees go during the first semester even though they’ve signed a contract. The move has been criticized by teachers’ groups, who say it will make it hard for the district to attract good teachers.
But Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa said the policy isn’t meant to penalize those who are new to the profession.
The Georgia Department of Education will receive about $17 million in federal grant money. State officials will award the money to low-performing schools.
This is the fourth round of School Improvement Grant funding Georgia has received. Only “priority” schools, those that have scored in the lowest 5% on state tests and have a graduation rate of less than 60%, are eligible. Previous schools can’t apply. Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza says applicants will have to explain how they’ll use the money to improve achievement.
Georgia’s Republican House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey withdrew a bill he sponsored from the legislature last week. But the so-called “parent-trigger" bill could be revived before the end of the Legislative Session.
The bill would let dissatisfied parents and teachers petition school boards to convert low-performing schools into charter schools. It made it through the House, but stalled in a Senate Committee last week. Lindsey then withdrew it.
But Tuesday, Lindsey told WABE he’s considering attaching the bill to other legislation.
Georgia schools superintendent John Barge today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Korea. The partnership will establish a first-of-its-kind cultural exchange program between Korea and a U.S. state.
26 South Korean teachers will be placed at schools in Fulton and Gwinnett Counties for 10 weeks. Ha Tae Yun, South Korea's Vice Minister of Education, says the idea is to provide a cultural exchange where teachers and students learn from each other.
In one of their first decisions as a new board, the DeKalb County school board Wednesday unanimously agreed to end the district’s status as plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit. The suit was filed by six former board members who were suspended by the governor.