Legislature 2016

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Education Issues in the 2016 Session

Dr. Steve Dolinger, Georgia Partnership president, and Dr. Dana Rickman, Policy and Research Director, brief a joint Georgia House and Senate Education Committee meeting on the key topics found in the Top Ten Issues to Watch in 2016 report.  Both also answered a variety of education policy questions posed by the legislators.

The 2016 Georgia Legislative Session closed Thursday, March 24.  Below you will find stories from around the state that cover the work of our elected representatives.  We will continue to post articles reporting on legislative outcomes impacting public education.

Articles of Interest

Cagle:  legislature must find version of campus carry Deal will sign
Insider Advantage

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Monday lawmakers next session must come up with a version of the campus-carry bill acceptable to Gov. Nathan Deal. (May 18)

Guns out, tasers in at state campuses
Alpharetta Roswell Herald

With the clock ticking down to the do-or-die deadline, Gov. Nathan Deal made a number of executive decisions on May 3 that surprised more than a few education watchers. (May 11)

Gov. Deal's opposition to campus-carry seems to harden
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Fresh off a veto of legislation that would legalize firearms on college campuses, Gov. Nathan Deal’s opposition to a revival of the “campus carry” legislation seems to have hardened. (May 10)

Governor signs bill changing standardized testing standards
Associated Press

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill into law on Tuesday that will bring a wide range of changes to the state's public school systems. (May 4) 

Gov. Deal Signs Bill to Reward Students for Taking STEM Courses
Atlanta Business Chronicle

Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation Tuesday rewarding Georgia high school students for taking more rigorous courses in certain subjects. (May 4) 

Campus gun veto could carry consequences for Gov. Deal
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.)  Gov. Deal's veto of campus-carry legislation that would have legalized firearms on Georgia's public college campuses sets the stage for another battle between conservatives and more main stream Republicans over the direction of the party. (May 4)

Deal Rejects Georgia's 'Campus Carry' Bill
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed legislation Tuesday that would allow college students to carry concealed guns onto campuses after lawmakers defied his personal request for changes that would exempt child-care centers and make other exceptions to the gun rights expansion. (May 4)

Nathan Deal's Reasons for Vetoing Campus Carry: Long history of colleges as gun-free zones
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Here is Gov. Nathan Deal's reasons for vetoing campus carry Tuesday: HB 859 seeks to amend O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1, which relates to the carrying of weapons within school safety zones. (May 4)

Gov. Deal Signs Work-based Learning Bill
Rome News-Tribune

Businesses willing to take on high school students as interns will be eligible for insurance discounts under legislation signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal. (May 3)

Gov. Deal Continues to Delay 'Campus-Carry' Decision 
Georgia Public Broadcasting

Governor Deal has just one day left to announce whether he will sign or veto the controversial “campus carry” bill. The panel tries to read the tea leaves to determine what Deal is thinking as he approaches the deadline. (May 2)

Georgia campus gun bill puts another big decision in Gov. Deal's hands
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Weeks after enraging religious conservatives with his veto of the “religious liberty” bill, Gov. Nathan Deal faces another politically risky decision on whether to legalize firearms at public colleges in Georgia. (May 2)

Governor Deal knows what he ought to do on campus gun bill
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Gov. Deal says he still doesn't know what he will do with Senate Bill 859. (April 29)

UGA students rally for, against Campus Carry Bill
WXIA - Atlanta

There’s mounting pressure on Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the Campus Carry Bill. About 60 University of Georgia students hope to send a message to keep guns off campus. (April 28)

Georgia's campus carry bill sparks heated debate
WTVM - Columbus

Georgia's controversial campus carry bill sparked some heated debate at a protest in Athens. (April 28)

Will Nathan Deal sign Georgia's 'campus carry' bill?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal faces another dicey political question as he debates whether to sign legislation that would allow college students to carry guns onto campuses after GOP lawmakers defied his personal request for changes to the measure. (April 24)

If governor signs campus-carry bill, expect prestige of Georgia, Georgia tech to plummet
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Advocates of campus carry probably don't care that guns on college campuses will push top faculty - those in highly sought after disciplines - to leave. (April 22)

Guns and Learning Don't Mix
Chronicle of Higher Education

A bill that grants students 21 and older the right to carry concealed weapons at Georgia’s public colleges and universities was ratified last month and awaits Governor Nathan Deal’s signature. (April 19) 

Cringeworthy legislation
Dalton Daily Citizen

Attempts by government officials to do the business of the people under a cloak of secrecy undermine the people’s trust and betray public confidence. The "Kirby Smart Bill" is one such example. (April 15)

No changes to Georgia school attendance requirements
Newnan Times-Herald

Though House Bill 100 passed the Georgia General Assembly in March and awaits the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal, the final version doesn’t have anything to do with birthdays. (April 8) 

Will guns on campus scare off high school students?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Most of the debate around whether to allow guns on Georgia’s public colleges centers on the safety of college students, but there are concerns being raised about two other groups.  (April 7)

Tired of school testing, Georgia cuts back
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Nine hours after this year’s legislative session ended, when lawmakers passed two bills aimed at reducing the burden of testing in classrooms, a metro Atlanta school district took actions of its own. (April 5)

Georgia set to reduce testing, but is state cutting tests for the right reasons
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.)  As a project manager for The New Teacher Project, a national education nonprofit, Shanequa Yates helps metro-Atlanta school systems strengthen their academic strategies.  In this piece, she discusses Senate Bill 364, which is awaiting the governor’s signature. (April 4)

In this piece, she discusses Senate Bill 364, which is awaiting the governor’s signature. 

Battle over failing schools amendment

The next battle brewing in Georgia is the failing schools amendment, even though some believe Governor Nathan Deal may have lost some of his political capital when he vetoed the religious liberty bill. (March 31) 

Education bills cross finish line
Appen Newspapers

While the focus of the 2016 session seemed to center on religious freedom and more guns everywhere, education watchers found reasons to celebrate as the session ended. (March 30)

If Nathan Deal vetoes 'campus carry' bill, it will be because of this
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The most strained legislative session since Gov. Nathan Deal was elected to the state’s top job ended Thursday with the distinct possibility that he could veto the two highest-profile bills that emerged from 40 frenzied days of lawmaking. (March 28) 

Georgia General Assembly Passes Fiscal Transparency in Education 
ExcelinEd in action

The Georgia General Assembly late last night passed HB 659, sponsored by Representative Dave Belton. This bill provides greater transparency on local school and district spending to the public. (March 25)

Legislature backtracks on testing
Morris News Service

Students would take fewer standardized tests and teacher evaluations would be less dependent on how their pupils perform on them under a bill passed Thursday by the General Assembly. (March 25)

Georgia tax exemptions may equal trouble for Georgia schools

The U.S. Census Bureau projects by the year 2030, Georgia will have more residents of retirement age than in the workforce. At the same time, some local districts are considering exempting senior citizens from paying the school portion of their property taxes. This could mean less money for schools. (March 25) 

Legislature adjourns: Some bills left behind
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The 2016 Georgia General Assembly officially adjourned early Friday morning, with several highly-anticipated pieces of legislation left on the table. (March 25)

Houses passes bill clarifying school board members 'free speech' rights
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia school board members would have state permission to speak their mind under legislation that cleared the House on Tuesday. (March 23)

Few education bills left in Georgia's legislative session
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) With Georgia’s legislative session set to end this week, only one significant education bill has passed, and few look poised to follow. (March 22)

Tip sheet: Tasers could be added to the college student arsenal
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

To tell you just how busy lawmakers expect it to be, they’ve given themselves the day off Wednesday. And remember they had Monday off, as well as a couple of days last week. (March 22)

UGA parents to Gov. Deal: Would you want guns in your grandchildren's school?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) This letter to Gov. Nathan Deal was signed by 66 parents whose children attend a child care facility on the University of Georgia campus. (March 22)

Cobb lawmaker's bill on testing, teacher evaluations passes House
Marietta Daily Journal

State Sen. Lindsey Tippins’ bill that would reduce the number of tests students take could soon land on Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk for his consideration. (March 21)
The Relationship Between Guns, Religious Liberty, and the Opportunity School District

Political capital is an odd commodity. In some cases, you can spend it, and end up with more than what you started with. (March 18)

Front page editorial in UGA student-run newspaper: Almost no one wants guns on college campuses
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Students are increasingly speaking out against the campus carry bill, which passed both the House and Senate and now is in the hands of Gov. Nathan Deal. (March 18)

UGA faculty groups ask Deal to say no to guns on campus
Athens Banner-Herald

The University of Georgia’s two largest elected faculty groups say they want Gov. Nathan Deal to veto a bill allowing guns on UGA and other Georgia college campuses. (March 17)

Gov. Deal tells lawmakers to fix 'campus carry' bill

A showdown is brewing at the state Capitol between Republicans battling over the controversial plan to allow guns on college campuses. (March 16)

Georgia lawmakers scramble in conflict with Deal over campus gun bill
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal’s decision this week to question the state Legislature’s decision to legalize firearms on all public colleges in Georgia has lawmakers, lobbyists and activists scrambling for a response just days before the 2016 legislative session ends. (March 16)

Teachers and testing foes get a win under the Gold Dome
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Opponents of testing in public schools celebrated Tuesday when the Georgia House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation reducing the importance of test results and cutting the amount of time students must sit for exams. (March 16)

Georgia lawmakers acknowledge testing went too far
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) In an acknowledgement that Georgia went too far with a 2013 law that mandated the heavy use of tests in teacher job evaluations, the state House of Representatives voted unanimously Tuesday to roll back the use of tests. (March 16)

Gov. Deal fires a warning shot on 'campus carry' measure
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal wants substantive changes to a measure that would allow college students to carry concealed guns onto campuses, suggesting Monday that he might veto the controversial proposal if lawmakers don’t take a second crack at it. (March 15)

Nearly 2,000 children in campus child care facilities where guns would now be allowed
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

One overlooked aspect of the college campus carry bill:  There are about 1,700 young children in university sanctioned childcare centers around the state. House Bill 859, as passed by the House and Senate, would allow guns in those childcare facilities. (March 15)

One Georgia teacher's story about demoralizing evaluations but every teacher's nightmare
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The biggest education bill of this legislative session, Senate Bill 364, focuses on changing how teachers are evaluated in Georgia. While every teacher in the state understands why this bill is vital to the future of education, many parents do not. (March 14) 

Georgia passes 'campus carry' bill authorizing guns at colleges
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Georgia Senate on Friday gave final passage to a bill that for the first time would legalize firearms on all public colleges in Georgia, following an emotional two-hour floor debate over the wisdom of letting students carry concealed guns on campus. (March 11) 

Teachers testify in favor of new test score bill

High stakes student testing is taking center stage at the state Capitol over just how much student test scores should impact teacher evaluations. (March 10)

Georgia Tech student leaders: We don't want guns on our campus
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The campus carry bill advancing through the Georgia Legislature has the backing of the gun lobby, the governor, the House and likely the Senate. Does it have the support of Georgia students? (March 10)

Gov. Deal's OSD already working
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.)  A relatively light year for major legislation under the Gold Dome in 2016 means the most important achievements for the current collection of lawmakers came last year. The one having perhaps the biggest effect so far is one that still hasn’t become law yet. (May 10)

Ehrhart praises Board of Regents, Tech president after meeting
Insider Advantage Georgia

“Great strides were made today to protect all Georgia students when it comes to due process,” said State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, after leaving a meeting with the Board of Regents Wednesday. (May 10)

Competing Senate bills aim for same outcome
Appen Newspapers

Georgia legislators are apparently following the lead of their federal counterparts in “decoupling” teacher evaluations tied closely to the academic success of their students. (March 9)

UPDATE:  Gov. Deal said to be working against testing overhaul
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.)  The House Education Committee chair calls a PAGE alert that Gov. Deal was trying to influence committee members to vote against this bill, a lie. (March 9)

Gov. Deal said to be working against testing overhaul
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) In a rare show of pique, House Education Chairman Brooks Coleman just opened the meeting on Senate Bill 364, the testing reform bill, by denouncing PAGE’s alert to its members warning the governor was attempting to block the bill by strong arming Coleman and three other House Ed members. (March 9)

Education group: Gov. Nathan Deal aims to stop testing overhaul
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s largest teacher advocacy group claims Gov. Nathan Deal is secretly trying to suppress a legislative overhaul of student testing and teacher evaluations. (March 9)

A day after gun vote, stun guns approved for Georgia colleges
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A day after voting to legalize guns on Georgia’s college campuses, a state Senate panel on Tuesday approved a measure that would also allow students and staff to defend themselves with Tasers and stun guns. (March 9)

Campus carry' bill moves ahead
Associated Press

Lawmakers moved one step closer to allowing licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on public college campuses when the proposal supported by the National Rifle Association won support from a Senate panel Monday. (March 8)

Education groups to lawmakers: De-emphasize test scores in teacher ratings
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Leading education and parent groups sent a joint letter to House Education Committee Members today endorsing the testing and evaluation reforms contained in Senate Bill 364. (March 7)

Evaluating Georgia's teachers, how much do test scores matter?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) I’ve never fretted over whether my kids attended class in a trailer or a state-of-the-art classroom. If they had a great teacher in front of them, I didn’t mind if they learned in a closet. (March 6)

State, national events fuel push for campus carry legislation
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) If an armed stranger tries to rob a student in Georgia State University’s library next fall, he could confront a person packing his own gun. (March 5)

Lawmakers: Pay attention to Georgia's teacher dropout crisis
Macon Telegraph

While education in our state is not a moon mission gone awry, our oxygen tanks — the teachers — that keep this state’s ship alive have been exploding for some time.

Legislation on school tests, teacher evaluations reaches state House
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A bill by the Georgia Senate that decreases the state’s emphasis on annual testing in schools got a hearing in the House of Representatives Wednesday, after passing the Senate by a unanimous vote last week. (March 3)

Lawmakers honor Colquitt County High School Packers
Moultrie Observer

Repeat state champions — the Colquitt County Packers — enjoyed repeat honors Wednesday under the Gold Dome. (March 3)

Senate panel delays action on bill legalizing guns on Georgia college campuses
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A bill legalizing firearms on Georgia’s college campuses got a full hearing Wednesday in committee, but a key Senate panel delayed action until next week on an effort to allow Georgia’s college students carry guns. (March 3) 

College prof on guns: College about outthinking, not outshooting
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When told about the concerns of colleges and universities in Georgia over the prospect of legalizing guns on campus, Gov. Nathan Deal said, “I think they should be concerned about making sure that those students are taught and educated. That’s their responsibility. The law will take care of the rest of it.” (March 2)

Legislation targets misbehaving Savannah aldermen, county commissioners, school board members
Savannah Morning News

The Georgia House of Representatives unanimously passed three bills last week that would allow the Savannah City Council, the Chatham County Commission and the Savannah-Chatham School Board to censure their members. (March 2) 

It looks like 'campus carry' is coming to Georgia
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal has overcome his past opposition to allowing armed students and faculty on public university campuses. The governor now dismisses arguments that firearms and classrooms are a dangerous mix. (March 2)

Belton: Campus carry comes through House
Covington News

By far the most significant bill this week was HB 859 or “Campus Carry”. It’s a fact that 92 percent of the mass murders committed in America in the last few years were perpetrated in so-called “gun-free zones.” (February 28)

UGA and other colleges: Do we really need armed students for safety?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(AJC articles may require subscription.) Parents sending their kids off to college this year might want to add a few things to the packing list. (February 28)

Major bills of the 2016 legislative session
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required for AJC articles.) Lawmakers return to Atlanta on Monday for the 30th day of the 40-day session. It’s Crossover Day, the last day for a bill to move from one chamber to the other without major obstacles. (February 27)

Children's privacy at risk from software used in schools
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Most public-school parents have heard glowing claims that “digital” or “personalized” learning will transform education, but they may not understand exactly what this means. (February 27)

Campus carry not a benefit for colleges, students
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

While seeking to address the issue of campus safety, House Bill 859 falls short. Universities are microcosms of society, challenging the proverbial ivory tower to address the same criminal elements plaguing communities. (February 27)

Responsible people deserve right to self defense
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

From 2010 to 2014, students experienced an almost doubling in violent crimes on campus. We are experiencing a dramatic increase in violent crimes against Georgia’s students as criminals prey upon our students because they are defenseless. (February 27)

A mom's wish for safe campuses
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Last Monday, the Georgia House passed the “campus carry law,” which would allow students 21 and older who have a concealed weapons license to carry guns on the state’s public university and college campuses. (February 27)

Georgia teachers get action on legislation that downplays testing
Atlanta Journal Constitution

A test-reduction bill favored by teachers passed the Georgia Senate unanimously Friday, and travels to the House where there are signs of a warm welcome. (February 27)

Tippins' bill confronts too-much-testing craze
Marietta Daily Journal

There are 180 days in the school year. Only six months for teachers to ensure students have mastered a course before moving on to the next one. (February 26)

Student data protection bill idled in Georgia senate
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) A student data protection bill got bottled up in a state legislative committee after a state education official  testified its requirements were onerous. (February 26)

Will guns on campus scare away high school students and their parents?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Recent passage of House Bill 859 makes it all the more likely that concealed carry permit holders will be authorized to bring loaded weapons into classrooms on Georgia college and university campuses. (February 26)

Georgia Voices:  Gov. Deal right to let education reform simmer before vote
Marietta Daily Journal

Gov. Nathan Deal was wise to delay introducing his education reform package for passage until the 2017 session of the Georgia General Assembly. (February 26) 

Teacher and testing evaluation bills could change Georgia schools
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Two test-related education bills got separate hearings in state House and Senate committees Wednesday, with one advancing. (February 25)

Lawmakers have heard teachers, but have they believed them?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) In the last few minutes of the House Education Committee meeting today, Rep. Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, said the message to educators is, “We have heard you.” (February 25)

Senate passes bill setting HOPE minimums for tech, access colleges
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would set a minimum amount for the HOPE scholarship award for recipients at the state’s technical colleges and most access institutions, colleges with broad admissions criteria, in the University System. (February 25)

Lawmakers considering revising teacher evaluation
Alpharetta Roswell Herald

“Let me teach and let me do what I do best.” In one sentence Ernie Lee, the 2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year, summed up what many teachers across the state are likely feeling these days. (February 24)

House backs tasers for Georgia college students a day after gun vote
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

College students and staff could defend themselves on campus with Tasers and stun guns under a measure approved Tuesday by the Georgia House. (February 24) 

Education impact fees unlikely in '16. Forsyth lawmaker pledges to keep on fighting.
Forsyth County News

A state senator who represents Forsyth County said some progress was made when he brought a bill he authored in support of impact fees for education to the Senate Finance Committee. (February 24)

Campus carry sees support

A proposal to allow handguns on public college campuses is gathering momentum despite concerns from Democrats and the state’s universities. (February 23)

Is tech in school enabling "precogs"
Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

(Subscription may be required.) A state lawmaker is sounding an alarm on data security in schools, warning that tech companies have enough access to assemble "psychological profiles" on students. (February 23) 

Technology and privacy clash in schools
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Parents who let their children use apps or online tools at school could be giving tech companies all they need to assemble “psychological profiles” on them, said one Georgia lawmaker. (February 22)

Attempt to expand school "voucher" program fails
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An attempt to create a state-funded private school scholarship program for the children of military personnel got a hearing at the Georgia Capitol Monday, and nothing more. (February 22) 

Georgia House will endanger students if it passes campus carry gun law today
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Evans writes about the expected House vote today on House Bill 859, which would allow anyone 21 or older with a weapons license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except for inside dormitories, fraternities and sorority houses, and at athletic events. (February 22)

Bill by Forsyth lawmaker backs impact fees
Forsyth County News

A lawmaker from Forsyth County is asking residents to join him in Atlanta on Monday to support a bill he sponsored that would allow Forsyth County to collect impact fees for education. (February 21)

My students and I are worth more than a bubble test can assess
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Sherry Coulombe has been a Gwinnett County music teacher for 15 years. She made these comments at the Capitol earlier this week. The comments have been edited for print. (February 20)

The story behind an unexpected Georgia anti-testing bill 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription required after 4 free monthly reads.) During the early weeks of this legislative session, there was a persistent rumor under the Gold Dome that something was going to fill the political void left by Gov. Nathan Deal. (February 19)

Some random thoughts on random subjects
Dick Yarbrough Column

An alert to Georgia public school teachers: Keep a close watch on these two legislators. (February 19)

Teacher assessment bill goes to committee
Insider Advantage

(Subscription may be required) Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), Chairman of the Education and Youth Committee, will present a bill during a committee hearing today that would change the teacher and leader evaluation system, and would decrease the number of tests students have to take. (February 17)

'Campus carry' effort advances in Georgia
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A “campus carry” bill legalizing firearms on Georgia’s college campuses passed a key House committee Tuesday, after the chairman unexpectedly added the bill to his panel’s agenda with little notice. (February 17)

Student testing, teacher evaluations draw attention at Capitol
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Teachers and parents gathered at the Capitol Tuesday to support legislation that reduces the affect of student test results on teacher job reviews. (February 16)

Teachers today at the Capitol:  We need to be part of education debate
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Today, Teachers Rally to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices or TRAGIC will gather at the State Capitol. Here is what teacher and TRAGIC spokesman John Palmer plans to say. (February 16)

State Rep. Stacey Evans sponsors bill aiming to increase HOPE Grants for tech school
Marietta Daily Journal

More than 1,300 Cobb residents attending classes at Chattahoochee Technical College would be among the students across the state who could benefit from a local legislator’s proposal to increase the award amount of the HOPE Grant. (February 15)

Georgia House bill would cap college tuition
Atlanta Business Chronicle

Tuition increases at Georgia’s public colleges and universities would be limited to the rate of inflation under legislation introduced Thursday in the state House of Representatives. (February 12)

Election year politics and teacher protests may lead to changes in evaluations
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) At a recent education forum (GPEE's Media Symposium), Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank, questioned Georgia’s plan to base half of its teacher evaluations on student scores on the new Milestones, an exam he derided as “a $12 fill-in-the blank test.” (February 12)

Education Reform Commission set for vote next year
Gwinnett Daily Post

For now, leaders under the Gold Dome have hit the pause button about voting on major changes to education across Georgia. (February 12)

DeKalb Schools fire back at legislation cutting its funding by $56 million: ‘Politics over pupils.’
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) State Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, proposed a bill today that is a prod at DeKalb Schools.  And not a friendly one.  (February 12)

Two Senate bills side with teachers: Student growth on tests should not count for half their rating
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Two bills in the state Senate seek to reduce the influence of student test scores on teacher evaluations. The law now calls for student growth -- as measured by testing -- to count for half of a teacher's annual rating. (February 11)

Legislation would free (mostly) teachers from test results
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Some Georgia lawmakers want to take an eraser to high-stakes tests. State law calls for student test results to inform at least half of each teacher’s job review, but new legislation would roll that back to “no more than 10 percent.” (February 10) 

Beating plowshares into pistols
Dick Yarbrough Column

Son of a gun. Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, is at it again. Georgia’s version of Wyatt Earp was the chief gunslinger in getting a bill passed in 2014 that was intended to let us lock-and-load most anywhere we want — libraries, churches, bars, airports — but he and his posse couldn’t talk the Board of Regents into letting students in our colleges and universities pack heat. (February 10)

Religious freedom or needless interference?  Lawmakers debate high school athletic wear
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) I talked to the author of House Bill 870  and listened to the House Education Committee discussion last week and am still a bit confused over the real intent of the bill. (February 9)

Legislation could ease kinship care woes
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About 128,000 children in Georgia and an estimated 103,000 grandparents and other non-parental relatives could be affected by legislation scheduled to be introduced this week. (February 9)

Education issues abound for legislators
Appen Newspapers

With all signs pointing to few, if any, seismic changes on the education landscape this legislative session, Georgia lawmakers are still considering a number of initiatives that could impact the classroom in significant ways. (February 5)

Religious freedom issue goes to school
Insider Advantage

(Subscription required for full article.)Two companion bills aimed at leveling the playing field for all high school athletic teams were heard by the House and Senate Education committees. HB 870, sponsored by Rep. Brian Strickland sailed through committee and subcommittee. (February 4)

Good news for Georgia Tech: House approves giving STEM majors boost in HOPE GPA
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It didn’t take long for the House to pass the Rambling Wrecktification bill. In a 167-0 vote today, the General Assembly approved House Bill 801, which gives a half-point boost to the final grades of students in tough science, technology, engineering or math classes. (February 4)

Georgia Lawmaker Wants STEM Classes to Count More for HOPE Scholarship
Georgia Public Broadcasting

Rep. Jan Jones' (R-Milton) bill passed unanimously on Wednesday after she explained it on the House floor. (February 4)

Bill would boost GPA of HOPE scholars who take tough courses
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription required after 4 free monthly reads.) A bill that would boost the GPA for students taking demanding college math and science courses easily passed a House higher education committee Tuesday. (January 27)

Video:  Georgia Partnership Briefs House/Senate on Top Ten Issues
Georgia House of Representatives/Senate Joint Education Committee

Georgia Partnership President, Dr. Steve Dolinger, and Policy and Research Director, Dr. Dana Rickman, were invited to brief the committees on the 2016 Top Ten Issues to Watch report.  Click on the video icon.  Their presentation begins at approximately the 22 minute mark. Get a copy of the report. (January 26)

Some cracks appear in GOP leadership inside Georgia’s Capitol
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 25)

Governor right to delay education reform package
Brunswick News (January 24)

Bill would nudge HOPE scholars to take tougher classes
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 22)

Debate over whether to lower HOPE GPA for math, science majors, moves to Legislature
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 22)

Lawmakers need to leave sacred cows out to pasture
Gainesville Times (January 22)

Beltline fight: Legislator says schools should be paid first
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 22)

Valdosta lawmaker wants schools to track missing students
Moultrie Observer (January 22)

Lawmaker wants to give "control" of Board of Regents to voters
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 21)

Deal backing away from teacher pay
Tom Crawford - The Georgia Report (January 20)

System for grading Georgia teachers questioned
Dalton Daily Citizen (January 20)

Gov. Deal's budget equips UGA business building, narrows education 'austerity

Morris News Service (January 20)

Session begins with encouraging outlook
Dawson Counity News (January 20)

Georgia legislators question tuition hikes
Morris News Service (January 20)

Appropriation committee hears education budget plans
Insider Advantage -subscription required for full article (January 20)

Gov. Deal wants continued money for prison education
WSB-TV (January 20)

Republican caucus unveils legislative priorities
Insider Advantage (January 19)

Gov. Deal unveils $27.3 billion fiscal '17 state budget
Atlanta Business Chronicle (January 15)

Georgia lawmaker pushing for stun guns on college campuses
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 15)

11 under-the-radar bills to watch in 2016 legislature
zpolitics (January 15)

The governor wants to give teachers a 3% raise.  Will this make them less leery of merit pay?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Maureen Downey's 'Get Schooled' blog - January 14)

Why Nathan Deal wants to stave off major education changes this year
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 14)

State of the state address focuses on education
Georgia Public Broadcasting (January 14)

Gov. Deal delays education reform votes until next year
Atlanta Business Chronicle (January 14)

Gov. Deal: 'Education too important to be held hostage to a status quo'
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 13)

Bill before legislature seeks cameras in special-needs classrooms
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 12)

Georgia Legislature gets down to business
Athens Banner-Herald (January 11)

Poll of Georgia voters - January 2016
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 11)