- A new Georgia bill that would dramatically alter how teachers are evaluated and scored passed the state House of Representatives on Tuesday.
- The bill would reduce standardized testing for public school students.
- Next, the legislation must pass the state Senate, and it is reported to have wide bipartisan support from education experts and policymakers alike.
With states now granted much more power over accountability and testing under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it’s not yet clear which approaches will be taken by which states. Concerns have arisen around what will transpire in states like Arizona, Florida, California and Kentucky, where policymakers appear to be working on legislation that conflicts with ESSA guidelines. On the other hand, Connecticut's new plan seems to be in line with ESSA standards. Right now, it’s premature for states to jump into new legislative solutions around accountability before ESSA’s newly-appointed committee members create the law’s actual regulations.
That said, the past few years have shown that intensifying pressure from high-stakes test-based teacher evaluations have resulted in scandals of huge proportions, like in Atlanta, where a cheating scheme resulted in criminal charges for some educators, and seven-year prison sentences for others. The manipulation of test scores in the Atlanta cheating scandal was projected to negatively impact reading and ELA performance by students in the future, a 2014 report by Georgia State University concluded.
State education chiefs previously rejected a call for a moratorium on high-stakes testing until states could fully implement the Common Core standards, as suggested by union leaders Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers and Dennis Van Roekel of the National Education Association.