News release from the OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today education legislation has been introduced that would increase pay for Georgia's top teachers and principals, and increase the integrity of Georgia's testing system.
"Boosting pay for Georgia's top teachers is an idea whose time has come," said Governor Perdue. "Focusing on student improvement with other measures like peer evaluations aligns state funding with our policy priority: improving the education of our students. The new pay model will help the state attract, reward, encourage and retain top teachers."
Sen. Don Balfour, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, is introducing SB 386, the Governor's legislation to increase pay for high performing teachers and principals.
"This legislation rewards our All-Star teachers through higher pay," said Senator Balfour. "These teachers go all the way for our students and should be rewarded appropriately."
Current teachers and principals would have the choice to opt into the enhanced pay model under the proposed legislation. The legislation would require the State Board of Education to adopt a common, statewide evaluation tool that takes student improvement into account in addition to peer observation of planning and instruction when assessing teachers and leaders by July 1, 2011.
Using this tool, the state will calculate an Effectiveness Measure which will allow for increased pay for the state's most effective educators.
Already twenty-three local school districts making up 41 percent of Georgia's public school students have committed to a similar compensation model through the state's federal Race to the Top application. The state will implement best practices from those districts in developing and implementing the statewide system.
The Governor also announced today that State Rep. Matt Ramsey, a Floor Leader in the House, is introducing HB 1121 and HB 1111, legislation that will ensure the integrity of the state's education data.
"We must ensure integrity in our tests. This becomes even more important when we tie teacher evaluations to student improvement," said Governor Perdue. "Valid data is the key to making good public policy decisions and developing a credible system of rewarding our top educators."
HB 1121 will make it unlawful for anyone to knowingly tamper with or facilitate cheating on tests required by the State Department of Education. The Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) will examine the results of mandated tests. GOSA may submit requests for investigation to the Professional Standards Commission and the Attorney General.
Violators will be guilty of a misdemeanor and have their certification suspended or revoked. Under HB 1111, violators will also be subject to the loss of their pensions.
"We need accurate data to base policy decisions on," said Rep. Ramsey. "This legislation will make it clear what the penalties are for tampering with tests. The ultimate victims in these cases are the students, and we must do everything we can to ensure our students receive the services they need to progress."