USED Will Not Waive Federally Required Tests
The US Department of Education (USED) announced it will not waive federal testing requirements for the 2020-2021 school year. Schools will be required to administer Georgia Milestones this school year. The department will not require students learning virtually to visit a school to take the tests. State School Superintendent Richard Woods notified school districts that leaders should not require virtual students to come into the building solely for the purpose of taking Georgia Milestones.
USED will accept waiver requests of the accountability and school identification requirements in federal law, including the College and Career Readiness Performance Index (CCRPI) and the identification of schools for state support in Georgia’s Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) programs. States can also seek waivers from the requirement that 95 percent of students participate in the assessments. Woods indicated he will seek these waivers.
In the fall, Woods requested a waiver from federally required assessments from the Trump administration, which was rejected. Earlier in February, he requested a testing waiver from the Biden administration.
Vote on ESA Voucher Bill Expected Thursday
The House Education Committee will hear and is expected to vote on HB 60, which seeks to create Georgia’s third private school voucher program on Thursday, Feb. 25. Private school vouchers have a poor track record on student learning, and there is no reason to expect Georgia’s students would fare differently than other states with similar programs. The proposal also would divert state funds from public schools. PAGE members who have concerns about HB 60 should contact education committee members as well as their house representatives. You can find your representative here.
Education Bills Pass Both Chambers
The House passed HB 455 by Rep. Timothy Barr (R-Lawrenceville), which would allow school districts to use motor vehicles other than school buses for pupil transportation. Vehicles with seating for fewer than eight people, operated and marked for the transportation of children, could be utilized under the bill.
The Senate passed SB 51 by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White), the “Dexter Mosely Act” (also referred to as the “Tim Tebow Act”), which allows home school students to participate in extracurricular activities at the public schools for which they are zoned if the students enroll in at least one course at their local public schools.
Teacher Tax Credit Bill Passes House Ways and Means Subcommittee
A subcommittee of the House Ways and Means committee passed HB 32 by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead), a PAGE-supported bill that would award a $3,000 tax credit for teachers who are newly hired by certain rural schools or schools performing in the lowest 5 percent, based on Georgia's College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) school accountability system. PAGE testified in support of the legislation during the bill’s first hearing in the subcommittee, as PAGE also did when the bill moved through the House Education Committee before reassignment to Ways & Means. The bill moves on to the full House Ways and Means Committee for consideration.
For more detail on HB 32, check out the PAGE Day 14 report on the bill as it moved through the House Education Committee.