Educators gird for challenges over Education Reform Commission recommendations

2016-17 School Year

ATLANTA – “We expect to encounter some of the strongest disagreements and political maneuvering in some time this coming January,” said Dr. Sid Chapman, president of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE). “But as educators we cannot continue to allow our voices to be absent from public education determinations that will affect Georgia’s 1.7 million students for generations to come.”

Chapman is referring to Gov. Deal’s Education Reform Commission recommendations that were presented in December of 2016, but Deal chose to defer action until the coming 2017 legislative session.  “While we were somewhat relieved to see the postponement, we know that is all it was – a postponement,” he said. “We also know the outcome of this fall’s vote on the takeover local schools amendment will play a large role in how the next [legislative] session evolves.  GAE along with many other groups are working to ensure the public first and foremost looks through the disingenuous ballot language and knows the facts so they can make a fully informed decision.”

There are some points given to the governor for his creation of the Teacher Advisory Committee, but Chapman says many are waiting to see just how its input will be used.  “The verdict is still out on just how the information will gathered and utilized from a group this size,” he said. “We are being cautiously optimistic as we await the results.”

Still on GAE’s radar is the review of the school funding formula known as QBE  and the idea called “backpack funding” where tax monies follow the child wherever they may go – even to the private sector, and the possibility of eliminating our teachers’ pay supplements for their hard work in obtaining advanced degrees.

“Possibly reducing the QBE formula that would exacerbate the situation in already underfunded school systems, is just not a wise policy,” stressed Chapman.  And ideas such as backpack funding, that take monies from already chronically-underfunded public schools, we will continue to stand against.”