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Policy Updates Blog

This blog provides updates on important policy developments related to science education in Georgia. These updates are also provided directly to our members via email.  Much of the information here is provided by our legislative consultant, Mr. Tyler Kaplan of the J.L. Morgan Company.  While the blog is available to the public, only GSTA members may post comments.
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  • 12 Nov 2014 4:55 PM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    GSTA has joined a coalition of Georgia teachers associations in supporting the state's CCGPS standards for ELA and Mathematics.  We believe these standards support learning for all of Georgia's students, and we hope to see the state continue moving forward to focus on supporting teachers and students in achieving the high expectations laid out in the CCGPS.  We look forward to working with Georgia's education policy makers to provide the best possible education for our students.  Please read our full statement on the AJC Get Schooled blog from Maureen Downey.  Please consider sharing this post in your personal and professional networks.  The following sites provide some useful background information related to the Common Core and to the Next Generation Science Standards.

    [via Deborah White, GACIS] In related news, the State Board of Education held a called meeting today via conference call.  During that meeting, the Board unanimously approved the recommendation to post revisions to Georgia Performance Standards for ELA and Mathematics for 60 days for public review and comment.  During the brief meeting, Martha Reichrath shared the process used and groups involved during the review and drafting of the proposed revisions.  Board members’ comments centered on why some of the recommendations were addressed in the guidance document rather than the standards, why multiplication and division were not a stand-alone standard in the early grades, need to define “significant change” and concerns about teacher preparation programs not teaching the standards and how teachers who move to Georgia will be trained. You can view the proposed revisions by following the links below.

    GSTA strives to keep our members informed of important developments related to education in our state.  We hope you will share information and your opinions with your colleagues and policy makers.  Please let me know if you have any questions about these announcements.

    Best regards,

    Jeremy Peacock

    President Elect, Legislative Committee Chair
  • 01 Nov 2014 9:29 AM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)
    Hi everyone,

    I spent the day and much of the evening Tuesday, October 21st, at the final meeting of the House study committee on the federal government's role in education in Georgia.  While the scope of the committee was very broad, much of the discussion within the meetings focused on the Common Core standards and whether Georgia should reconsider our adoption of the CCGPS in math and ELA.  I spoke on behalf of the Georgia Science Teachers Association and communicated our position that, not only should we stay the course with the CCGPS, but that we should move into a review and revision of our science standards to align those with the Framework for Science Education and the NGSS.  This is a much stronger position than the DOE is taking at this point, but we are trying to drive the discussion forward.  My presentation was based on GSTA's recently adopted position statement on science standards.  You can view video archives and presentation materials from all four meetings on the committee website

    Speakers at the meeting where evenly divided among proponents and opponents of the Common Core standards.  One theme from both sides of the debate was that we may need to reconsider our heavy reliance on standardized testing.  Another big theme from Common Core proponents is that, regardless of the standards, teachers need support in the form of professional learning and instructional resources.  Common Core proponents also emphasized that the CCGPS offer greater promise for supporting learning among economically-disadvantaged and minority students.  Common Core opponents spoke about the virtues of traditional approaches to education, and some lodged highly political attacks on the standards.  The educators (teachers, board members, and superintendents) on the committee were very supportive of the standards.  They tended to challenge Common Core opponents and ask supportive questions of Common Core proponents.  The legislators were not as enthusiastic, but still appeared to support the standards.  The fact that the committee chairman invited speakers from Achieve and College Board seems to be telling.  Even more telling is that Achieve's president led off the meeting and the College Board representative, Trevor Packer, was scheduled to speak after a critic of the new APUSH framework. 

    The committee will issue a report by December 1st.  This committee will not take any direct action, but that report will influence any direction the legislature might take when they come into session.  Following the publication of that report, GSTA will continue to use our standards position statement as a basis for communication with education policy makers from the legislature, DOE, SBOE, and Governor's office.

    GSTA is also working with GCTM, GCTE, GCSS, and the Georgia STEAM Alliance Network to publish an op-ed related to standards and instruction in Georgia.  We will share that as soon as it is published.  We will also be running an exhibitor's booth at the Biennial Institute in December.  That event is a professional learning conference for legislators hosted by UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

    Regards,
    Jeremy Peacock
    GSTA Legislative Committee Chair
  • 14 Aug 2014 8:38 PM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    GSTA is posting this following press release from the Georgia DOE to keep our members in Congressional District 6 informed of this opportunity for public input on educational standards in Georgia.  This Congressional District 6 (see map) includes northern portions of Fulton and DeKalb Counties and the northeastern portion of Cobb County.

    Barbara Hampton to Host State Board of Education Sixth District Public Hearing
     
    The State Board of Education will hold a public hearing for citizens in the Sixth Congressional District on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.  The meeting will be held from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Dunwoody High School, 5035 Vermack Road, Dunwoody, GA.
     
    The purpose of the hearing is to hear comments from interested citizens and educators within the congressional district regarding the performance and problems of public education.  This includes hearing comments about the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts as part of the State Board’s formal evaluation of these standards.
     
    Persons wishing to speak should sign in upon arrival.  For more information, please contact Mrs. Debbie Caputo at 404-657-7410.
     
    The Georgia Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, services or activities.  Individuals who need assistance or auxiliary aids for participation in this public forum are invited to make their needs known to Mrs. Debbie Caputo at (404) 657-7410, no later than 72 hours before the scheduled event.
  • 11 Aug 2014 10:19 PM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    GSTA is forwarding the following press release from the Georgia DOE to keep our members in Congressional District 13 informed of this opportunity for public input on educational standards in Georgia.  This Congressional District 13 (see map) includes all of Douglas County and portions of Cobb, Fulton, Fayette, Clayton, and Henry Counties.


    Dr. Mary Sue Murray to Host State Board of Education Thirteenth District Public Hearing

    State Board of Education member Dr. Mary Sue Murray will hold a public hearing for citizens in the Thirteenth Congressional District on Tuesday, August 12, 2014.  The meeting will be held from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Alexander High School, 6500 Alexander Parkway, Douglasville, GA.

    The purpose of the hearing is to hear comments from interested citizens and educators within the congressional district regarding the performance and problems of public education. This includes hearing comments about the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts as part of the State Board’s formal evaluation of these standards.

    As part of the board's evaluation of the CCGPS standards, each State Board of Education member will hold a public hearing in their congressional district. This is the first of those hearings.

    Persons wishing to speak should sign in upon arrival.  For more information, please contact Mrs. Debbie Caputo at 404-657-7410.

    The Georgia Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, services or activities.  Individuals who need assistance or auxiliary aids for participation in this public forum are invited to make their needs known to Mrs. Debbie Caputo at (404) 657-7410, no later than 72 hours before the scheduled event.​

    See the original press release at: http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/PressReleaseDetails.aspx?PressView=default&pid=210#sthash.6FSRQSf8.dpuf

  • 11 Aug 2014 9:51 PM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)

    The following message was forwarded from GSTA's legislative consultant, Tyler Kaplan.  Please watch for more information later this week.

    The second  meeting of the House Study Committee on the Role of Federal Government in Education will be held Monday, August 25th at 10am at LVIS Student Center at Georgia Gwinnett College, 1000 University Center Lane Lawrenceville, GA 30043.
    Georgia Gwinnett College is under construction right now. Please use the directions below to assist you as your GPS may not be accurate. There will be directional signs to help with parking.
     
    The agenda has not been set at this time.
     
    Directions from Downtown Atlanta:
    Take I-85 to GA 316 East.  At Riverside Drive (2nd Exit), turn left onto Riverside.  Cross Duluth Highway and stay straight until Riverside ends.  Turn right onto Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.  At first traffic light, turn left onto Walther Boulevard.  Just past the C-3 Church on your left, turn left onto Tree Creek Boulevard.  At second left, turn left onto Lonnie Harvel Boulevard.  The first stop sign on the right will take you into the parking lot.
     
    Directions from Athens:
    Take 316-West.  After Highway 20, you will go under the Collins Hill Bridge.  The Campus will be on your right.  At the next right, just past the campus, is Walther Boulevard.  Turn right there onto Walther.  Go past the apartments and turn at the next right onto Tree Creek Boulevard.  At second left, turn left onto Lonnie Harvel Boulevard.  Go to the fourth stop sign and turn right.  At the next stop sign, stay straight (you will be in a huge parking lot).  At the last left, turn left and park in the reserved spaces (there will be an orange cone in front of them).
     
    If you would like to be on the agenda and give a presentation to the committee you will need to contact Cortney Gillham,Cortney.gillham@house.ga.gov, with your topic and a presentation will need to be sent to her by Thursday, August 21st  at 5:00pm. You will also be required to bring 25 copies of your presentation for the committee members prior to the start of the meeting so that they may be distributed. There will be time for public comment at the end of the meeting. You do NOT need to contact Cortney Gillham if you plan on speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting, only if you would like to be on the agenda. The Chairmen prefer that you make your presentations Georgia specific and provide specific examples if possible.

  • 31 Jul 2014 2:37 PM | Jeremy Peacock (Administrator)
    We attended the HR 550 initial meeting [View agenda] yesterday and have provided an outline of the proceedings below.  The meeting consisted of high-level overviews and explanations of DoE, BoE and Federal Education grant policies and procedures.  There was little to no discussion on intended action or opposing viewpoints. [Download a video archive of the meeting] GSTA is closely monitoring developments in the Common Core debate, as decisions related to Common Core standards in Georgia may impact the review and revision process for the state's science standards.

    The relevant discussion from this group will come in the later meetings closer to September.  As of now it appears that there will be three more meetings.  One in late August, September and October.  We will keep you informed of any developments.
    • The panel of lawmakers, teachers and parents appointed by Speaker David Ralston to explore Common Core and the federal government's role in Georgia's K-12 education system held their first meeting in late July at the State Capitol. [View committee membership]
    • The meeting was almost entirely informational, and did not include any testimony or public comment.  Dr. John Barge gave a detailed explanation of the origins of Common Core, which was followed by supporting information from a number of his staff members. [View Dr. Barge's presentation]
    • Clara Keith and Susan Andrews both gave lengthy overviews of the process related to federal grants, including Race to the Top.  Also of interest was a discussion from Jennifer Hackemeyer about the status of data sharing in local school districts.  She noted that data sharing both within school districts and across the state is cumbersome, but the development of a longitudinal data system has been helpful. [View presentation]
    • There was also a brief discussion from Melissa Fincher, Director of Assessment at DOE, about the Georgia Milestones Assessment system and the high hopes that they have for its performance.  
    • Moving forward the consultants will monitor the final three meetings of this study committee.  Meetings will be held across the state toward the end of each of the upcoming three months.   They will likely be held in Gwinnett, Milledgeville and Hall County, respectively.


    Tyler J. Kaplan

    Legislative Director

    J.L. Morgan Company

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