www.gae.org | 9 The forced flexibility model will have negative effects on students and educators in the public school system. Newly hired teachers can be subjected to a 90-day trial period to test subjective effectiveness, a result currently in effect in the Fulton County Charter System. The 90-day trial excludes specific challenges teachers may face and the impact of abruptly removing teachers from students and parents. 90-days is not enough time to accurately assess a teacher’s impact and capability on student learning especially in a challenging school environment. This 90-day trial can result in teachers being unfairly removed and reluctant to teaching in public schools. Slides provided by the Georgia Department of Education These flexibility models, will also give charter and IE² schools the right to waive the state salary schedule requirements. This means that the superintendent now solely holds the power to identify salaries without a standard. Lack of a standard salary schedule can have long-term impacts on teachers’ retirement contributions and in the end their defined benefits. Superintendents will also have complete autonomy to suspend employees without an opportunity for due process and subject teachers to a 30 minute oral argument with no witnesses or a fair defense. The Charter System model gives the local school board the freedom to evaluate its own programs without state oversight, a luxury that most public schools cannot afford to execute efficiently. Along with the redistribution of power for charter schools, the local board of education must put in place local school governance teams. “School level governance means decision-making authority in personnel decisions, financial decisions, curriculum and instruction, resource allocation, establishing and monitoring the achievement of school improvement goals, and school operations.” Systems are accountable through being evaluated by the performance requirements outlined in their flexibility application some reporting annually to DOE and others reporting five year goals. The intentions of the state to implement these new school operation models are clear, under the guise of student achievement teachers will have much less value, and between CCRPI and Flexibility, all accountability will be at their cost. The public school children of Georgia are getting the short end of the stick by a department that is meant to uplift and increase the level of public education in Georgia. If one must revise title 20, then it should be in the interest and for the betterment of the students and educators that it serves to protect, not penalize.
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