Meeting Minutes, October 3,2007

How State Decisions Will Affect Your School
Dunwoody Chamblee Parent Council & Emory Lavista Parent Council
Irene Munn, Educational Policy Advisor for Lt. Governor Casey Cagle
Dan Weber, GA State Senator (District 40); Senate Education and Youth Committee, Chair
Brad Bryant, GA DOE Board Member; National Assoc. of State Boards of Education, President

October 3, 2007 Meeting Minutes
Kittredge Elementary

Pam McCorkle-Buncum, DCPC Co-President, called the joint meeting of the two councils to order at 6:30PM. She welcomed parents, DCSS Administrators, and Principals in attendance. She also recognized the elected officials who were present but not on the Agenda: DCSS Board Chair Cassandra Anderson-Littlejohn and Representatives Mary Margaret Oliver and Kevin Levitas.

Page Olson, DCPC Co-President, introduced the panel of guest speakers:
• Irene Munn, Educational Policy Advisor for Lt. Governor Casey Cagle
• Dan Weber, GA State Senator (District 40); Senate Education and Youth Committee, Chair
• Brad Bryant, GA DOE Board Member; National Assoc. of State Boards of Education, President

Irene Munn: Charter Schools in Georgia and Schools of Choice
1. Charter Schools in Georgia are public schools that operate according to a charter or contract approved by the State DOE and the local Board. A Charter School is held accountable for meeting the objectives specified in its charter.
2. There are currently 74 Charter schools: 33 Elementary Schools, 23 Middle Schools, 25 High Schools. 54 of these are in urban areas and 20 in rural areas. In 2005-06, 54% of Charter students were on free and reduced lunch (50% at traditional public schools). 87.8% of Charters made AYP (78.7% of traditional schools). Racial composition in Charters: 41% Caucasian (48% in traditional), 41% Black (38% in traditional), 9% Hispanic (8% in traditional), 5% Asian (3% in traditional),
3. Georgia legislation enacted in 2007 addresses System Charters (SB 39) and Career Academies.
4. Systems Charter (SB 39) allows for entire school systems to charter with one petition. It creates a Charter Advisory Committee (CAC) and funds transportation and food service effective 2008-09 school year.
5. Charters require a Financial Audit, specified Charter goals, and State-mandated assessment and accountability.
6. The real innovations of the Charter Systems Act are: 1) Freedom from state and local regulations and 2) School level governance about personnel, finances, curriculum, and instruction.
7. The Charter Advisory Committee will assist petitioners in design and implementation, make legislative recommendations to State DOE, and mediate disputes between local boards and petitioners.
8. Decatur City Schools, Marietta City Schools, and Morgan County are considering petitioning for a system charter. These are all small systems which are most likely to take advantage of this bill.
9. Career Academies are an initiative to increase Georgia’s high school graduation rate by partnering technical education with local businesses. The current Career Academies have a 98% graduation rate.
10. The 2007 legislation provides funding ($1.5 million to incentivize local communities and $15 million for construction) to launch 5 more Career Academies beginning the 2008-09 school year. 19 applications for these five slots have been received to date.
11. Contact Irene with questions about the Lt. Governor’s educational policy -

Dan Weber: State Education Legislation
1. The Governor’s Education Finance Task Force is looking into finances between the State and local school boards. What should this partnership look like? What is an excellent adequate education in Georgia? What does it cost?
2. The Charter Systems Act is one way the State is providing the flexibility that local boards want. In
exchange for accountability and performance local systems can make their own decisions e.g. class size, performance pay for teachers, teacher tenure.
3. Georgia is obligated to provide ‘adequate public education’. The ongoing lawsuit against the state is about this issue and challenges the current QBE funding formula as unfair.
4. Alternative certification is an idea being discussed to improve teacher quality.
5. Charter Schools work because decisions about money are made at the school level. They are currently underfunded but the numbers indicate they get better performance and higher efficiency with less money. 82% of Charter money ends up in the classroom (65% must be spent there).
6. Legislation this session will provide full funding and an alternate route of teacher authorization.
7. Contact Dan about education legislation at:

Brad Bryant: No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and State Board Issues
1. NCLB Background: Gov. Roy Barnes put accountability in Georgia education. NCLB, which was prominently supported by Congressman George Miller and Senator Ted Kennedy, mandated accountability on the national level. It has been around awhile and was intended to be authorized every 5 years.
2. Re-authorization of NCLB probably won’t happen anytime soon; there’s no movement in that direction and education is low on the campaign candidates’ lists. The Natl. Assoc. of State Boards advocates re-authorization because this is the only way to make changes in NCLB
3. Some NCLB changes needed: Need additional models to measure student progress e.g. growth models. Need differentiated set of consequences (to address a situation like Shamrock’s where only a couple of students missed a test). Need better assessment for special needs population. Need additional dollars for State to gather data for local systems to use.
4. There are other national initiatives focusing on educational issues and accountability. The American Diploma Project (partially funded by the Gates Foundation) is an effort to improve secondary education and the high school graduation rate.
5. At the State level, State Superintendent Kathy Cox and the State DOE Board have worked on collaboration. Now implementation teams are in place to get the DOE, Board of Regents, and local school boards talking to each other - Pre-K through college.
6. The State DOE Board voted unanimously to adopt 1 set of high school graduation requirements for all students. Research says the Technical Diploma was inadequate for the workplace so the College Prep and Technical have been merged into one. This is a threshold requirement; local Boards can add other diplomas.
7. Increased math and science requirements are aimed at better preparation for college and the workplace.
8. Foreign language is no longer required by the State but college bound students need to be advised that most colleges still require a foreign language in high school. The Superintendent says we will see more students taking foreign languages. She wants to drive the grade level of the world language program down. Learning languages earlier is easier plus students would have the proficiency for AP level in high school.
9. Contact Brad about the State Board of Education at:

Question & Answer – Robert Wittenstein, Moderator
Q. Concerns about the new State-mandated Math Curriculum. Will it negatively affect our students getting into colleges outside of Georgia? Is Georgia the only state requiring Integrated Math? Will Chamblee Charter HS be able to offer the traditional program?
A. Brad Bryant: Georgia colleges helped build the curriculum, which is rated high nationally. It may
require counselor explanation on transcripts. Research shows that material was re-taught every year with
the old curriculum. Although the traditional approach may meet a narrow group, the State thinks more
students will be better prepared with Integrated Math. Dr. Martha Reichrath is the GA DOE contact.
Dan Weber: Kathy Cox has research from Japan and other places where it’s been successful.

Q. Concerns because Integrated Math has been a failure in New York. A local Administrator unofficially
said Math ELT (Extra Learning Time) will be needed. Where is funding for this? Is Integrated Math success in other places based on small class size? Where is this funding?
A. Dan Weber: Having enough quality Math teachers may be a problem in Georgia. Some states are
taking very proactive measures to attract high level teachers. Coming up with more funding is always
tough but Dan is hopeful there will be new money for these issues.
Brad Bryant: The Superintendent and Staff think professional development is the most critical piece and
she thinks it is adequately funded. Brad is unfamiliar with the curriculum in New York but thinks Georgia’s is probably not the same. Georgia’s curriculum was built from classroom teachers, math educators and national experts.
Faye Andresen: Dr. Reichrath may be able to be at the next ELPC meeting in November to discuss the Integrated Math curriculum.

Q. Marcus Turk, CFO of DeKalb County Schools, reported state funding was 48.3% of the DeKalb budget in 1998. In 2007, with the state austerity cuts, it has decreased to 40.8%. The District has lost 80 million dollars in the last five years. The total loss will increase to 88.8 million this year. We are struggling to provide quality education and meet State mandates.
A. Brad Bryant: Those complaining about the austerity cuts and those complaining about more money being put in education are both right. The first couple of years were true austerity cuts necessary because of the State budget. DeKalb struggles with salary increases which local boards must pay a significant portion of.
Dan Weber: We never fully funded QBE plus past administrations adjusted formulas when there was a shortfall to avoid austerity cuts. Dr. Knapp, former UGA President, reported to the Governor’s Task Force that during 1973-2007 per pupil funding has increased over 2 ½ times with no academic improvements.

Q. Is there going to be a change in funding for the Arts? How can parents proactively support the Arts?
A. Brad Bryant: Concerns about Arts funding seem to be a constant issue. DeKalb is generous in this area so there probably won’t be much change. The general focus now is on what programs, policy will cost and using good data to make decisions.

Q. What about tenure, rewarding good teachers, and dealing with teachers who need to move on?
A. Dan Weber: Tenure is a touchy subject. Some systems may apply for a charter to get out from under the tenure requirement. Perhaps we will have the political will to eliminate tenure moving forward.
Brad Bryant: National research – from the National Center on Education and the Economy (“Tough Choices or Tough Times”) and the National Council for Teacher Quality – suggests a move to a collaborative effort to help teachers be better. There’s even an NEA affiliate working with Pay for Performance.

Q. With the new graduation requirements, can a student earn a Carnegie Unit in 8th Grade?
A. Brad Bryant: Yes, there was no intent to take this away. Why not the 7th if a student is able?

Q. With the Charter System Act, can Charter Schools teach their own curriculum as long as they meet accountability standards?
A. Irene Munn: Yes. Testing requirements cannot be waived. Speaking to the austerity cuts, the administration wants to restore some of that money but it will probably be targeted to books and transportation. Parents are encouraged to participate in the upcoming Legislation so education doesn’t get lost in the property tax vs. sales tax discussion. The Governor’s Task Force needs to determine the adequate funding amount and present substance to change the QBE funding formula. A new formula has already been named IE2 or IE squared (Investing in Education Excellence). The Lt. Governor is focused on high state accountability and high local flexibility.
Brad Bryant: Brad will contact Dr. Reichrath tomorrow to get more info about the Integrated Math curriculum to the group.

Closing Remarks
Faye Andresen, ELPC Co-President, thanked the panel and audience for their attendance and

Oct. 17 – ELPC Meeting – Druid Hills HS, 7:00PM – College 101

Nov. 7 – DCPC Meeting – Chamblee Charter HS, 8:45AM – Legislative Update

Respectfully submitted,

Polly Wills, ELPC Recording Secretary