.
What Race to the Top Means for
Georgia
Though Georgia's Race to the Top application is over 200+ pages, the following is a list of key
changes and proposals outlined in the application. To view the entire application, go to:
http:
//www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/georgia.pdf. Numbers located next to
key points are the page numbers where the information can be found within the PDF version
linked above.

Curriculum
- Keep the new Math Curriculum. In its RTTT application, Georgia touts that it “is one of only
six states in the nation with an integrated high school mathematics curriculum and the only state
which mandates it.” Georgia commits itself to continuing to roll out the new math curric-
ulum. The application also describes the creation of “math
coaches.” (26)
-
Core Curriculum Standards (CCS) will be implemented during the 2010-2011 school year; 4
educators from each school will undergo
training and then train the other educators at their schools on how to implement the federal CCS.
(32)

Certification
New Teachers:
- will no longer be able to exempt the GACE Basic Skills test with a high SAT score; all
teacher candidates must take the GACE test.
(148)
- will be placed on a
3-year probationary, Induction Certificate (IC)
-if PLU (Professional Learning Unit) and high-stakes test score are not met at the end of 3 years,
their
teaching certificate will not be renewed and they will be banned from ever teaching
in Georgia.
(119)
-satisfactory/unsatisfactory evaluation will be replaced with new,
rubric-styled evaluation tool.
(111)

Current Teachers:
-will stay on the same 5-year certification schedule.
- if PLU and high-stakes test score are not met at the end of 5 years, their teaching
certificate
will not be renewed and they will be banned from ever teaching in Georgia
. (119)

Colleges and Universities:
- “publicly report and link student achievement data to the programs or institutions where
teachers and principals were credentialed.” (147)

Evaluation
All Teachers:
- current satisfactory/unsatisfactory evaluation will be replaced with new, rubric-styled evaluation
tool.(111)

CORE* Teachers:
-Rubric-based evaluation: 30%; Standardized-test scores: 50%; Closing Achievement Gap in Sub-
groups: 10%; Other measures: 10%. (112)
*CORE—Math, Science, Social Studies, and English

Non-CORE Teachers:
-Rubric-based evaluation: 60%; Standardized-test scores: 0%; Closing Achievement Gap in Sub-
groups: 0%; Other measures: 40%. (112)

**The score needed in order for a teacher to achieve a step-increase will be decided later. (112)

Principals and Other School Leaders:
-there will be Leader Keys for principals and School Keys for entire schools/districts based on the
performance of those under their administrative oversight. (20)

Pay
-Pay will no longer be based on degree level for those on performance-based pay. (118)
- Teachers will receive “signing bonuses” for moving to rural high-need schools. (134)
- The State will place a priority on core areas by providing higher individual incentives to teachers
in “core.” (112-113)

New Teachers:
-will be placed on the new performance-based pay scale. (112)

Current Teachers:
-can choose to stay on the current, years of service and level of degree pay scale or to be placed
on the new, performance-based pay scale. Once on the performance-based pay scale, one
cannot go back to the old pay scale. (112)
-opting to stay on the
current scale will not receive COLAs (Cost of Living Adjustments)
since COLAs will be used to fund the merit pay scale
once RTTT funds run out. (49)
- Though not mentioned in Georgia’s RTTT application, it is rumored that educators on the old
pay scale
will be “frozen” on their current step and that once educators come up for re-
certification that they will automatically be placed on the new, performance pay scale.
“Because of this lack of data, Georgia has not set performance targets at the system or school
levels for systems partnering with the State in Race to the Top.” ( 33)

Georgia’s submitted performance-based pay scale includes:
“Ineffective,”
 “Effective – Career Teacher,”
 “Effective – Master Teacher,”
 “Highly Effective - Career Teacher,” and
 “Highly Effective – Master Teacher.”
Note: Amounts submitted in the RTTT application were given for illustrative purposes only and
were not actual commitments on behalf of the state. Within the application, there was also
no commitment on what scores were to be considered ineffective, effective, or
highly effective. (111-117)

Testing
-Educators whose students make less than a year’s progress in a course will be labeled as
“Ineffective.” (118)
-Educators whose students make a year’s progress in a course will be labeled as “Effective.” ( 118)
-Educators whose students make a year and a half’s progress in a course will be labeled as
“Highly Effective.” (118)
- End of the Course Tests (EOCTs) will be expanded to include all high school English, Science,
Social Studies, and Math courses (the Graduation Test will be phased out); CRCT will stay in
place for elementary and middle school. The State will keep test questions where CCS and GPS
overlap. (71)
- To deter expected cheating, the state will use algorithms and conduct erasure analysis to
uncover “increased likelihood of test tampering in classrooms." (124)
- Benchmarks will be developed by the State. They will be administered to students throughout the
course and will not count toward a teacher’s performance measured. Results to be made available
to teachers, administrators, and parents. (73)
**Current plans have abandoned this
commitment.  Instead, CSS courses (Math and English) will have benchmark scores
count toward the student's final test score**
-Benchmarks will most likely be administered via computer. (32)
- If students show proficiency at the beginning of the course, their test scores can allow them to
“skip” the
class and move-on without having to satisfy current seat-time requirements. (73)
- Students will be allowed to leave at the 11th and/or 12th grade, enroll in a college or technical
school and receive both high school and college credit. (74)

Professional Development
-Educators teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classes will receive
focused training through partnerships with Georgia Tech and other institutions. (135)
- The State will provide targeted, content-specific professional development aligned sharply with
the common core standards and assessment resources to four teachers from every school who
will become school-based trainers throughout Georgia. (73)

Schools
-The State will require that all elementary and middle schools make Science their second
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) indicator. (74)
- Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), schools must achieve a 100% pass rate by 2014.
-Schools who fail to meet AYP are placed on a Needs Improvement (NI) List. In the RTTT
application, Georgia commits itself to seeking
school closure, mandated charter school, complete reconstitution, site-based expenditure
controls, and/or specified maximum class
sizes for schools that are chronically on the NI List. (162)
- Currently, there are 287 NI Schools; this number is sure to in- crease as the AYP rate
approaches
100%.
- “Failing” schools will be visited and evaluated by the Georgia Assessment of Performance on
School Standards (GAPSS) team. By 2013,
schools must chose whether to convert to a charter school, enroll into the Investing in Educational
Excellence (IE2) Grant program (more
flexibility in exchange for exceeding NCLB AYP requirements), or stay as a traditional school. (22)
- $120 million in grants will be given to schools on NI lists to improve their AYP standing. (4)
.
EmpowerED Georgia is a
grassroots education advocacy
group made of thousands of
parents, educators, and concerned
citizens from across the state. We
are committed to ensuring a quality
public education for every child.

About Us
The opinions expressed in this article reflect those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of EmpowerED Georgia.
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