Pro-Public Education Legislation That Passed
One of the most heralded pieces of legislation this Session attempts to reduce testing requirements. The Chair of the Senate Education and Youth
Committee, Sen. Lindsey Tippins (Marietta), introduced SB 362.
This legislation creates an innovative student assessment pilot program that will allow select school systems to focus on ongoing formative assessments,
as opposed to year-end Milestones tests. The intention is for meaningful testing that will help teachers make day-to-day instructional decisions focused on
improving student learning.
There are currently four systems - Gwinnett, Fulton, Marietta, and a Putnam County/rural system consortium - that are using an in-depth formative
assessment system as specified in their flexibility system contracts. Currently, these systems have to also adhere to the Milestones testing requirements.
The hope is to get waivers from the US Department of Education so that the pilot systems can be exempted from meeting Milestones requirements.
Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, school systems interested in participating in the pilot assessment program will submit applications to the State
Board of Education and, using a competitive process, up to ten systems will be selected for the pilot program.
Other Positive Legislation of Note
HB 740 (Nix, LaGrange) prohibits the expulsion or suspension
of K-3 students for more than five days without schools first
providing a multi-tiered system of support, such as Response
to Intervention (RTI). The legislation provides an exception
for students who possess a weapon, illegal drugs, or other dangerous
instrument, or for students whose behavior endangers the physical safety of
other students or school personnel.
HB 763 (Nix, LaGrange) began as a bill requiring that school
climate information be included in considerations by student
attendance protocol committees. In the final days of the
Session, language from SB 457 (Tate, Atlanta) was included
in HB 763. SB 457 was a school safety effort promoted initially by a 10thgrade
student from South Cobb High School, Niles Francis, who testified at
the Capitol on behalf of his belief that all schools in Georgia should engage
in FEMA-approved safety drills. In addition to these drills, the final bill also
includes $16 million in bond funds for school safety and makes school
safety plans exempt from Open Records laws.
HB 844 (Houston, Nashville) revises provisions relating to
the Georgia Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf
Persons to create a multi-agency task force for the purpose
of improving coordination between state agencies in the
provision of services to hearing impaired and deaf children from birth
HB 852 (Smith, Marietta) allows a student who has been
enrolled in and attended a public school for more than half
of the school year, and who moves during the school year
to another attendance zone within the same district, to
continue to be enrolled in and attend the student’s original
HB 853 (Dempsey, Rome), allows student funding to follow
a child placed in psychiatric residential treatment pursuant
to a physician’s orders, so that the facility may not charge
SB 3 (Tippins, Marietta), known as the CONNECT Act (Creating
Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training),
seeks to increase the number of students graduating careerready
by providing opportunities to earn certain industry
SB 401 (Tippins, Marietta) adds additional transparency and
accountability to the growing dual enrollment program. It
also requires career oriented aptitude assessments in school
counseling considerations/graduation plans and mandates a
survey by the Department of Education on school counselor roles. In the
final days of the Session SB 401 was amended to include a mandate that
students in grades K-9 receive annual age-appropriate sexual abuse and
assault awareness and prevention instruction.
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