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KNOW Summer 2014

14 | KNOW • Volume 12 Issue 2 since the beginning of my administration, this additional funding will provide our local school systems with the resources and flexibility to address the most critical needs of their students and teachers. I believe local school leaders should have the flexibility to spend funds within their district in order to get the greatest outcomes for students. The authority to determine just how these funds will be spent on a local level resides with individual school boards, and local school boards across the state are decreasing or eliminating furlough days, returning to a 180- day school year and are giving teachers a must deserved raise.   By listening to educators who are on the frontlines we will make better policy decisions. I am committed to doing this and the leaders of the General Assembly share this commitment. During my time as governor, I have met regularly with local school system advisory groups – teachers, principals, superintendents and members of local boards of education. The House and Senate Education Committee Chairmen, Brooks Coleman and Lindsey Tippins, led education listening sessions all across the state last year. Those meetings with educators in local communities guided decisions that were made during the legislative session. President Rollins: So far for 2014- 2015, local school systems that had less than 180 days of instructional time are making attempts to restore some of those days. How do you see that affecting positive outcomes for children? Governor Deal: I am pleased to see many districts across the state that had reduced their instructional days using the additional funds included in the state budget to expand the school year back to 180 days. I am hopeful that districts will think critically about how best to use their instructional time to create modern, 21st century classrooms that meet the needs of the individual learners in their schools, maximizing the time for student learning. President Rollins: Educators have weathered the economic recession’s impact on them personally because they have a serious commitment to children and their future. How do you envision their commitment? Governor Deal: I am deeply appreciative of the commitment of Georgia’s teachers. As the ancient philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation.” Teachers hold the future of this state in their hands. They have the ability to mold and shape young people and to give them a love of learning that will go far beyond the wall of their classroom or the length of the school year. I was the only son of two lifelong educators. My mother retired from public education with 40 years of service and my father retired from public education with 30 years of service. I then went on to marry a lifelong educator. I know intimately the struggles that teachers face and the passion that they take to the classroom every day. I believe effective teachers should be rewarded and compensated in such a way that they can stay in the classroom. If elected to a second term, I would like to increase the state’s ability to keep our most effective teachers in the classroom and to reward them for the incredible impact they have on Georgia’s future. President Rollins: We know Georgia’s Department of Education will have a change in leadership in 2015. How do you see that change supporting public education and kids in Georgia? Governor Deal: At this time, it is unknown who will be elected to serve as the next state school superintendent. I am hopeful that the person will be committed to working collaboratively to improve student achievement. In our efforts at GAE to support the work of educators around the state, we launched an initiative to support 180 Days of school as so many systems were reducing school days and expanding class size. These two issues have a direct impact on student outcomes, yet, while public education faced debilitating budget cuts at the state and local levels, what was lost in the discussion was students. The National Commission on Education Excellence reported, there is a larger relationship between academic learning time and achievement and since the 1980’s has been elevating the link between those two for students. States have begun to take action of expanding the academic learning time. By and large, Georgia policymakers need to get interested in the relationship of time and student outcomes. GAE is not an advocate of just quantity of time, we also recognize the importance of quality time with students. Learning time requires systematic and, to some extent, subjective judgments about how time is used. How schools, teachers, and students are using time, the quality of instructional activities are essential, but none of it matters if students and educators don’t even get the time together. In Georgia we have systems with school days as low as 144 who have to measure up against those with 180 days. We must advocate and support assessing how time relates to learning, and that message must be made clear to policy makers, and education leaders.  By listening to educators who are on the frontlines we will make better policy decisions. I am committed to doing this and the leaders of the General Assembly share this commitment” Governor Deal


KNOW Summer 2014
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