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Georgia's Education Reform Commission Gears Up to Study People, Time, and Money

In his January 2015 State of the State Address, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced his intention to "take a comprehensive look at how we can make K-12 education more accessible and more effective" over the next few years.

The first step? Establishing an Education Reform Commission, made up of legislators, educators, and other stakeholders, to study such important topics as "increasing access to Georgia’s world class early learning programs, recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers in our classrooms, and expanding school options for Georgia’s families." The commission will also contain a sub-committee to look specifically at the state's Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding system that determines how the state allocates funds to districts. Deal said, "My vision is to create a formula driven by student need that provides local school and district leaders with real control and flexibility."

This Commission is particularly interesting for us because ERS has worked closely with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) in the past few years. We examined how the state and a few select districts are using their resources to promote student success; for example, partnering with Fulton County and Marietta City Schools to address the the "value propostion" of their teacher compensation and career path systems, and find ways to reward teachers for greater responsibility and results.

In December 2014 we delivered to the Governor's office two reports that summarized our many months of analysis, interviews, and discussion, and which included recommendations to foster district and school-level flexibility, better support districts through the use of data, and to consider moving to a weighted student funding system in the state. These reports were also presented to the Commission as it began its work. 

The Commission began meeting in early February and is made up of the:

  • Teacher Recruitment, Retention, and Compensation Committee
  • Early Childhood Committe
  • School Choice Committee
  • Funding Committee
  • Move On When Ready Committee 

We are thrilled that Georgia is taking such a bold and comprehensive look at some key drivers of educational quality in the state—and we expect that their conclusions will influence many other states around the country.

Georgia's Education Reform Commission Gears Up to Study People, Time, and Money
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