A proposal by Governor Nathan Deal to save failing schools in Georgia isn’t popular with some. The plan involves the state taking over under performing schools. Five local schools have received a score below sixty for three years running on the State’s school performance report card. If the Governor’s proposal passes a legislative vote this year and as a ballot measure next year – those schools could face takeover by the State – something the head of our local teacher’s union opposes. Theresa Watson – President of the Savannah Federation of Teachers – doesn’t like what she’s hearing about Governor Deal’s education proposal, “It would not work in this state because if we go back and look at what happened in Louisiana for one thing – it kills job security. Teachers evaluation, it would be more pressure for teachers in their evaluation because they will be pressured about test scores.” Which she says is already problem and she fears underperforming students will be left behind, “Because we will only focus on students who are passing, who are making the high mark or reaching those goals – but the students who are behavior problems, the students who are very low, they will kind of fall through the cracks – because in Louisiana – if you go back and you research that – it talks about them being expelled or removed from that school and then they won’t get what they need.”
The program in Louisiana is one that the Governor has used to model his proposal. There are more than 140 schools currently eligible to be on the list for takeover including five locally. Those are Derenne Middle school, Haven Elementary School, Hodge Elementary School, Mercer Middle School and
Otis J. Brock III Elementary School. Watson says rather than take over – there’s something much better the Governor could do, “If he really wanted to come and help – he needs to send some funding in these school districts and then he will see – I guarantee he will see a difference in these failing schools.”
And she says they’ve proven they can do the job of turning around failing schools with local decision making, “Groves High School has gotten off the charts – if you can go back and look at what they have gained from the beginning to now. Beach High School has done a turnaround tremendously in that school – it’s working, it does work and it will work.”
Local teachers are invited to join the Federation by heading to the State Capital Tuesday for Education Day– where they plan to lobby on this and other issues. For more information and to R.S.V.P. call 912-356-6999.