The Major Controversy over the Georgia ESSA Plan

Tuesday September 26, 2017

This past week marked the beginning of a significant controversy in Georgia.

The State Department of Education with input from educators and educational leaders across the state of Georgia released its final ESSA Plan and sent it to the Governor for his review.  (The GADOE is responsible for forwarding the plan to the USDOE for approval and does not require approval by the Governor—BUT there is the politics of the situation.)  GAEL does not emotionally support every facet of the plan but it certainly represents the consensus of Georgia educators and educational leaders with regard to two major issues:  elimination of high stakes testing and the incorporation of multiple assessment inputs, and the significant change in scope of the CCRPI and the elimination of “grading” schools A through F.   Needless to say the Governor and his Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) have called for the return of high stakes testing to the plan as well as the return of CCRPI to evaluate schools.  As this point Superintendent Richard Woods and the GADOE have not flinched in the face of the controversy and we most certainly hope that he and the department maintain that commitment.

We are at a major crossroads in the assessment of Georgia students and Georgia schools.  If we continue the hardline, high stakes approach it will forever retard our ability to teach creativity and job skills.  Our schools and teachers need maximum flexibility to craft what is needed by students in the varying parts of our state.  Anyone that thinks that one size, one assessment, or one CCRPI is what Georgia needs has spent very little time in the far corners of this diverse state.  It is time for us to do what is right for the children of Georgia whether it is politically expedient of not!   Please communicate your support to Superintendent Woods and the GADOE staff.