Arguably, one of the legacies of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and the more recent Race To The Top (RT3) initiative is an emphasis on accountability for public school students, teachers, and school districts that is measured heavily through standardized testing – and as a result, anti-testing movements have gained traction with both parents and educators.
Georgia addressed these testing requirements through the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES). Almost from the beginning, educators had concerns with what TKES meant for students and teachers in Georgia, and these concerns multiplied as years passed.
Two bills – SB 364 and SB 355 – this session addressed these concerns, and the response from the education community, including state school Superintendent Richard Woods, is enthusiastic; the Georgia Association of Educators supports both bills.
From the AJC:
The legislation amends a 2013 law that required students’ “growth” on state-mandated tests to count for at least half of each teacher evaluation. SB 364 reduces that to 30 percent. It also cuts the number of state-mandated tests from 32 to 24 while introducing new tests in English and math in the first and second grades to ensure youngsters are on track from their earliest days in school.
State Rep. Randy Nix (R-LaGrange), who sponsored the original legislation that based 50% of a teacher’s evaluation on their students’ achievement, heralded the new bills as one of the most important pieces of legislation this session.
One Atlanta-area educator even designed a helpful infographic to break down the changes from current testing requirements – and I have no doubt that the GeorgiaPol commentariat might have their own thoughts to share on these new requirements (and maybe even on that infographic).