All-in-all a positive year for public education

For Immediate Release
March 24, 2016

ATLANTA -- “For the first time in many sessions, we feel that legislators gave public education its due and presented our children and educators with some wins,” said Dr. Sid Chapman, president of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), speaking about the final outcome of the 2016 Georgia General Assembly.

Chapman says the legislation that stands out particularly was the passage of SB 364, Senator Lindsey Tippins’ TKES and Testing Bill. “GAE worked with Sen Tippins from day one to ensure the bill addressed our issues. It is definitely a big step in the right direction. Public educators all over the state have every right to rejoice as the legislature acknowledged the need for a better way of evaluating Georgia’s teachers. GAE would like to thank Sen. Tippins for recognizing how unfair and subjective the current process was and his willingness to listen and work with us. We’d also like to thank the members of the House and Senate Education Committees for their unanimous support on this issue.”

“Gov. Deal’s proposal of a three percent raise for teachers was obviously received very positively,” said Chapman. “Our teachers across the state, who have done without increases for many years, will be very pleased to see the additional money in their paychecks for their families. However, we know the work is not done, in that we have to confirm our local school districts actually pass that three percent on to their local teachers, as the governor said they should.” Chapman says GAE will be working through its 180-plus locals around the state to help ensure that happens.
Then there is addition by subtraction says Chapman. “GAE, all throughout the summer meetings of the Gov.’s Education Reform Commission, strongly suggested that the process be ‘slowed down’ in order for all stakeholders and the public to fully grasp what was being proposed and for a chance to make informed input,” he said. “Gov. Deal’s decision to hold off on any recommendations during this session to allow for such study and reflection was a win in itself. We have no delusions that this will be a major focus next session, but we felt his decision was a positive for the reform process.”

Chapman concludes that in many instances this was a positive year for public education.