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Georgia Democrats Web Site - Unofficial :: Discuss new ideas.
"So it would be tracking how the same kids did year to year, not comparing two different groups of kids," said Davis Nelson, the OEA's executive director.
The state's accountability test for high school students is the graduation exam.
Building the Accountability Schoolhouse
"There is no doubt that many educators felt out of the loop when the A+ Education Act (HB 1187) was being developed," admits OEA Executive Director Davis Nelson, "but they should keep in mind that the legislation is nothing more than an outline of the broad framework of reform.Now is when we really need their input-when we are involved in actually creating the structure of reform." OEA Director of Audits and Administration Celeste Osborn agrees that the A+ reforms got off to a rocky start. "When we first started developing the accountability system, there were a lot of misconceptions and miscommunications," she explains.
"Eleven out of 65, or 17 percent, of the Report Card Working Group
are classroom teachers," says Nelson
."Twenty-one out of 96-22 percent-of the Standards and Grading Advisory Committee
are teachers.Likewise, 20 percent of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission Advisory Panel and 22 percent of the Office of School Readiness Advisory Panel are teachers.And many others on the committees are also educators, including principals, superintendents and local board of education members.Approximately 90 percent of the members of the Standards and Grading Advisory Committee
are educators." The day's session begins with a power point presentation regarding the recent changes in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. "With the enactment of this federal legislation, it should be clear that Georgia's reforms can no longer be viewed as a fad," says Nelson
explains that the OEA
staff will review the recommendations and bring them back to the committee with an analysis of the impact they would have if adopted.For example, would one proposal lead to 80 percent of the schools having unacceptable attendance, while another might lead to 80 percent having exemplary attendance? "What these groups are doing is constructing an ‘Accountability Schoolhouse' one block at a time," says Nelson
."The block they are working on this morning is attendance.This afternoon, they will begin discussing the issue of dropouts, and at future meetings, they will work on other blocks." Nelson
says that teachers, principals, counselors and central office administrators are all deeply involved in the nitty-gritty aspects of creating an accountability system that will work in real life and not just on paper. "The committee is giving OEA guidance that will impact the entire state on what criteria should be used for fairly implementing an accountability structure," he
explains."They will help define all of the elements of the grading system." After the committee makes its final recommendations on each issue, OEA
will put it in survey form and send it to all the school superintendents.Then they will carry the recommendations to the Implementation Task Force
and the Education Coordinating Council and finally to the state Board of Education
for approval. "It is a very thorough and-we hope-fair process," Nelson
says. But how will these recommendations affect the broader issues of accountability and reform? Nelson
explains that in the big picture, OEA
has two responsibilities-issuing grades and rating indicators as listed in the law.
agrees that the perception of accountability is changing. "I am finding that when school and school system officials know the facts and know who is involved, they are much more accepting of what is happening and they believe it is fair," he
"That, after all, is the ultimate objective," says Nelson
Savannah NOW: Local News - Elementary students show improvement in reading and math 08/31/02
"I don't have any problem with somebody teaching to the test if the test covers the curriculum," said Davis Nelson, director of the state's Office of Educational Accountability, which monitors improvement efforts at Georgia schools.
Starting in 2003, schools will be graded based on their CRCT scores.In 2004, teachers may receive bonuses for good grades.Schools with consistently low scores could be closed or the staff replaced.Also, students may be held back in some grades if they can't pass the CRCT.
The test helps teachers focus on the most essential knowledge for their students to learn, Nelson
"What they've done with this test is zero in on what needs to be taught at each grade level," he
said."All the stuff we need to teach is in the core curriculum, but it's scattered around and there is a whole bunch of other garbage in there too."
The Daily Tribune News - Cartersville, Georgia
Cartersville native Dr. Davis Nelson left his state education job but hasn't left education.Nelson, who had been director of the politically threatened Office of Education Accountability, said politics played no role in his decision to retire.
had nothing but praise for the people he'd been working with, including former State Supt.
...Nelson is now training director for the Georgia School Council Institute.
Kathy Cox," Nelson
said."I can't say anything negative about any of them as far as me personally.They've all been very good to work with."Nelson
most recently tried to return to the Bartow County School System, becoming one of three semi-finalists for the superintendency.He had been superintendent for several years until 1998, when the school board suspended and demoted him.
ajc.com | Metro | Tests results improve, but ethnic gaps persist
"We've concentrated on reading in the state for the last 6-10 years," said Davis Nelson, director of policy for the Georgia School Council Institute.