D+ grade on paper

The state of Georgia is on the brink of failure when it comes to education. At least according to an educational advocacy group known as StudentsFirst.

The group, which is based in Washington D.C. and rated every state in the nation by its own rubric, gave the Peach State a “D+” on its report card released this week.

“Georgia has improved its ability to attract and identify excellent teachers, but it must do more to ensure these teachers are retained,” the group said in a statement.

“The state now needs to take the next step in making effectiveness the primary driver for tenure, placement, and compensation decisions. Georgia must empower parents through greater access to high-quality public charter schools, including strengthening the requirements for authorizers to hold schools accountable.”

StudentsFirst is headed by Michelle Rhee, a former school chancellor in Washington, D.C.

While a “D+” may sound like cause for worry, Georgia was actually ranked 15th in the nation. No state earned an “A” and the highest grade, was a “B-” earned by just two states, Louisiana and Florida.

Georgia is in the process of making its teacher evaluation system more comprehensive. StudentsFirst would also like to see state lawmakers pass a “parent trigger” law. Rebecca Sabilia, StudentsFirst’s Chief Financial Officer, says that would allow parents at failing schools to vote on a change in leadership.

“Just knowing that parents may be able to veto or ‘no confidence’ vote the folks who are currently in power could be a really great democratic exercise,” Sabilia said.

StudentsFirst went on to suggest that Georgia should also establish an opportunity scholarship program for low-income students and “free teachers locked into the existing pension system by providing a more attractive, portable retirement option.”

Statistics including NAEP proficiency were used in the measurement as well as the number of charters in a state and the rank of fourth and eighth graders’ reading and math scores in the state. For more information visit http://reportcard.studentsfirst.org/state-detail?state=Georgia

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