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September 18, 2017

Georgia's New ESSA Plan Under Scrutiny

With feedback from the Better Standards Coalition, of which the Metro Atlanta Chamber is a part, echoing Governor Deal's comments about lack of ambition in the plan, many educators and policy advocates are questioning if Georgia's ESSA plan is strong enough for our kids.

When Georgia unveiled it's ESSA plan earlier this year, many groups, including the Metro Atlanta Chamber, raised concerns over the low percentages of achievement that are laid out in the plan. Steve Dolinger, president of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, pointed out in James Magazine's September issue, shared concerns stating:

The first was the lack of ambition for required annual student growth in achievement, and relatedly, the lack of data to be made available for individual groups of students on the overall state accountability system— College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI)— calculations. The second was the lack of focus on early learning and the importance of early literacy

Similarly, in July  of 2017, the Metro Atlanta Chamber in a letter to Superintendent Woods and Gov. Deal stated 

While Georgia’s ESSA plan offers many positive changes, concerns remain with the overall level of improvement goals and the lack of inclusion for early education and pre-k.  However, we recognize and appreciate the alignment that is evident in the plan across the Department’s accountability sections for local, state and federal reporting requirements and resources

Georgia's Governor Nathan Deal also submitted feedback to Superintendent Woods calling for more emphasis on early reading, and expanding the weight of test scores in the overall accountability system. 

With the submission deadline for sending the ESSA plan for review to the national Department of Education, local policy makers and advocates will be waiting for Betsy DeVos's team in Washington to review Georgia's plan and provide guidance