Archives For Policy

House Education Committee statement of state School Chief John Barge on Senate Bill 167, a bill banning national standards and testing based on national testing in Georgia:

·     Members of the House Education Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen.

·     I’m State School Superintendent John Barge and I’m here today to speak against Senate Bill 167.

·     While I appreciate that my staff has been given the opportunity to offer some amendments to make this palatable, it still has many fundamental flaws to even remotely support this bill.

·     This bill is riddled with language that would throw our education system into chaos.

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Republican gubernatorial candidate John Barge says Georgia should consider the possibility of providing driver’s licenses to those living in the country without legal permission, citing road safety concerns.

Barge, the state schools superintendent, said Wednesday on his campaign website that such a step wouldn’t permit someone to enter a federal building or clear airport security, but would allow them to drive legally and obtain insurance. He also issued a broader call for tighter border security.

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Gov. Nathan Deal’s State of the State message, delivered Wednesday, hit some high notes concerning education — and it’s about time. State lawmakers have eviscerated public education funds for close to a decade. Deal, while not giving teachers a raise, something that’s mandated by the state, does have some increases for teacher training and experience. He plans to send $300 million to local districts through QBE formula, increase funding for transportation and vouchers and give $25 million in grants for digital education and wi-fi enhancements. Any dime will help — if it actually happens. The budget will be sliced and diced by a General Assembly that has shown itself to be anti-public education.

According to the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute’s study, “Cutting Class to Make Ends Meet,” Georgia’s lawmakers have cut $5 billion from the QBE formula in the last five years, and it’s “the 12th consecutive year that it has been underfunded.” Cumulatively, the state has cut school funding by almost $8 billion since 2003.

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Georgia’s overall K thru 12 achievement ranks 17th in the nation.

That’s according to an Education Week report released today.

It grades and ranks eighteen education related indicators in areas such as reading and math, spending and chance for success.

But as WABE’s Rose Scott reports, while there are positive gains, Georgia’s state superintendent says there’s still more to do and it begins with funding.

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On the bright side for Gov. Nathan Deal, the fact that he’s patched up relationships with the Georgia Republican party is paying dividends today.

John Padgett, the recently elected state GOP chairman, has offered a full-throated defense of the governor, who has taken issue with renewed scrutiny of a package of ethics complaints.

From state School Superintendent John Barge, also a Republican primary challenger to Deal:

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Gov. Nathan Deal distanced himself from controversial Common Core educational guidelines last month when he asked the state school board to review the program. Now Superintendent John Barge, his main GOP rival, is expressing fresh doubts about the program.

In a campaign dispatch sent out Thursday, Barge said he wishes Georgia would have followed Virginia’s lead and stuck with its current performance standards rather than adopting Common Core’s guidelines in June 2010. He said he wants the school board’s review of the program to avoid the “rushed, hasty and un-vetted decision that got us into this situation in the first place.”

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Gov. Nathan Deal has ordered a sweeping review of the Common Core national guidelines and asked the State Board of Education to “formally un-adopt” a part of the program that includes sample English test selections that infuriated some parents.

Deal also asked the board to develop a new social studies curriculum that emphasizes, among other aspects, civic and fiscal responsibility; and urged members to come up with a model reading list for school boards across the state.

The governor’s order signals his flagging support for Common Core amid criticism that the guidelines are a federal takeover of education policy. A target of tea-party infused opposition, the voluntary set of reading and math standards has become one of the most divisive issues in state politics.

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State Schools Superintendent John Barge last week gave Paulding business leaders a lesson in what is happening in Georgia education.

Barge was the keynote speaker at the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce’s Georgia Power Luncheon at the Paulding Senior Center.

He spoke about the federal Race to the Top program, a grant which rewards states for undertaking education reform. The state is facing the possibility of not receiving $9.9 million of the $400 million grant because it does not have a teacher merit pay system.

“That portion of our grant has not yet been spent in Georgia,” Barge said.

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It’s not the test, Gwinnett teachers said. The curriculum, and how it’s taught, is what matters.

As state education leaders discuss, and possibly choose, a statewide assessment in the coming months, several Gwinnett teachers said the way kids learn is most important.

Two weeks ago, Georgia Department of Education officials withdrew from a group of 22 states that had joined together to develop the next generation of standardized test. Citing cost concerns — more than $10 per student than what the state currently spends — the state withdrew from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which costs $29.50 per student for computer-based administration of the test.

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Georgia has withdrawn from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (a test development consortium), a move that state officials attributed to the costs of administering the standardized tests.

State School Superintendent John Barge and Gov. Nathan Deal announced last week that the Georgia Department of Education will instead work with educators across the state to create standardized tests to meet its current academic standards.

Georgia was one of 22 states that joined the PARCC several years ago, with a goal of developing the next generation of student assessments in math and English language arts by the start of the 2014-15 school year, GaDOE spokesman Matt Cardoza said in a news release.

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